FURUSHO VON PUTTKAMMER INTERVIEW
By Marta de la Parra Prieto
Portuguese translation by Vanessa Murias
"It just kind of seen like...they didn't know what it felt to
"I love, I love you, I love you"
That's not only a wish/a verb/a tragedy copied and
pasted (ctrt+c, ctrl+v) a hundred times in a sheet of paper
(and the fact that we don't have to write it all those times
doesn't mean it doesn't hurt to feel so much, so many). I
like the word BITCH slapped onto a piece of paper,
slapped then on people's faces. We will make your insults
our hymns, we will make our wounds our weapons. We
are not scared to assume we are different, we embrace
and cherish that. We don't understand "difference" as a
mass of people with no form: we know each "different" is
different, and how's that's actually way more than a
tautology - it's a cosmology. We will force changes into
the past to dream of a new future. The urge to time travel,
to love, to suffer, to accept myself and others. That's
what whispers in my ear when I look at Furosho's work."
Introduction by Ingrata Bergman, former Galeria das Minas interviewee, October
GdM: When you set yourself within the art system, you identified as both a painter and a performer, in this sense, you state your work to “ present your anxieties and frustrations concerning art, history, sexuality, human connection, and the facets of identity through oil painting and mime-like movement”. You do so “ using your alter-ego, a bald and expressive cartoon-inspired character named Anchovy”. Who is Anchovy? Could you tell us more about those anxieties and frustrations that drive your artwork?
FvP: Anchovy is essentially me. The character embodies how I feel I look on the inside: a weird, comical, and anxious sexual being. The anxiety and frustrations I feel stem from my difficulty to connect with people. I’m human, I have the natural urge to socialize with others, to be accepted by my peers, but I’ve always felt this disconnect from others. I can’t read body language or temperaments, I have to take people at face-value when they tell me what they want or how theyfeel. It’s caused quite a few problems for me when forming relationships. It’s definitely improved within the last couple of years, but my work still floats in the time when interacting with others just seemed so difficult. I just wanted to feel close to someone, emotionally and physically, but my weirdness drove people away. I had very few friends growing up and most of my romantic relationships were with awful people. Anchovy is the embodiment of wanting to be close to someone but being kept away at an arm’s distance, always out of reach. The humor in my work is an attempt to trick people into bridging that distance. Anchovy’s frustrations are that of the weird girl, the art girl, the queer girl, the ugly girl, the girl.
GdM: All those issues seem to be present in your work since the beginning, for instance in your early work: Dear Gustave . We should not be deceived by your cartoon-inspired character, your work is extremely serious. If I may, I will venture to say that your art is strongly political and committed. Do you see your art as political? Do you believe art can be an effective tool to draw attention to important matters?
FvP: Yes, my work is political at its core. I think these days it’s next to impossible to work as a female artist and not be political, whatever your stance on politics is. The simple act of me making art as a woman is a political statement. Gender, sexual expression, the alienation of the Other and the myth of normalcy, these are the political themes of my work. I don’t want to preach to viewers of my work though, I want the political messages in my work to remain more as an undercurrent. Art can be a very effective tool to draw attention to important matters, but I think the effectiveness depends on the level of engagement the piece requires from viewers. The more involved the viewers are, the more the messages of the piece with stay with them. I use humor in my performances as a way to keep people’s attention. If I get them to laugh, maybe I can get them to keep thinking about the themes in my work.
GdM: While we are on the subject of Dear Gustave , I feel now drawn to bringing into the conversation your Letters to Courbet . Not only it was your 2017 Artist Statemen