DT: Yes, basically. I see this as a kind of public artwork as well. The idea of public DT: I don’t see anything as a side project. sculpture for example is something that If I don’t do it, like Saturday when I was in usually fails. I cannot remember one roundCologne, I miss it. It is very much an equal about artwork, you know on the highway, part of my practice. Much like the tattoos are, No Choice Tattoos. It is all a part of one those things you have on the roundabouts – thing. I could not ever see where those draw- can you name one that was good? ings [pointing to the kitchen wall with some PH: Mostly stainless steel structures or semi drawings in frames – PH], things I frame abstract concrete with a local flavour. and hand in at a gallery, let’s say – that that’s DT: The thing is, maybe that’s bullshit: Pubthe serious stuff I do and the other stuff is a lic art works better if it is morphed into life hobby. Maybe it rather is all a hobby then. more. When it is not forced upon people. PH: Books. So this is the newest one. What Most people are not interested in art, for is the title, Table Dance ...? example. I always liked sculptures that were DT: Well, ’Taf(f)elend Dansen (een gefaalde a bit disturbing or out of place. vondst)’. Tafelen, but there is an extra “f” in between brackets here. Taffelen is doubtfully moving, not getting off your butt. Being hesitant, while tafelen is dining at the table. And it also says “a failed find”. Why is it a failed project? Because Table Dance is a restaurant run by the musician Hiele [Roman Hiele] and Michelle Woods, who is a cook from London. My idea was to combine concerts
PH: Can you read out this sentence from the receipt in the book and translate it for me?
tural practice in the Middelheimpark with the exhibition My Niece’s Pierced Knees, Middelheim Museum, Antwerp. There are sculptures, sound installations and some kind of an amphitheatre for events, De Nor. Are these permanent projects? DT: They are as permanent as, how do I explain this? As permanent as this book. As long as the whole stock does not catch fire, so as long as they are available, they are on view. So, the project at the place is over. The sculpture in the park, De Nor, I made a deal with the museum. We found terms to do this under. For me a bunch of terms were very important. PH: Legal terms, artistic terms?
DT: Both. For me it was very important, that it was a gated or fenced place that DT: You chose a difficult one. “Gurken: het basically squats a part of the park, that has ontgroenen van de kerst oma”. It is a word a door on the side of the museum and a play. “Cucumber”. Then “the degreening of door outside. So it is on the border. The a Christmas Grandmother”. Degreening, like important thing for me is that I could access you are not green any more, like not a virgin it at all times. So I can basically organise any more and “Oma” means at the same something whenever late I wanted to. This time grandmother and tomato, Christmas
Dennis Tyfus and his Ultra Eczema Label and little happenings with food in this space. In the beginning, when they opened, they asked me to propose something, could be a dinner or a happening or a work on the wall, whatever. I noticed these receipts that you get when you pay, they had a text here that says “thanks and goodbye”. So what I always look for, when I do things, is hiding poetry in places where you don’t expect it. My proposal for the place was a poem for every day they are open. It was important for me that the date was also connected with the poem as well. So, I did that, but they were not succeeding changing it every day, the project stopped. Then, I did my 40s birthday at Table Dance in December and for this event I asked them to make a 40-Course Meal. Some of the courses were also concerts and I made this publication with all the receipts in book form and everybody who visited it, 40 people I think, they got one. Now a bookstore is making the poem-receipts. PH: So you are hijacking – not reality, but the reality principle.
Tomatoes are these small red ones. It is really stupid to explain this.
DT: “Voedse banken” is the place where people can get free food, but “banken” is also a bench and bank. So food benches in every park.
was very important. This is something we always did, for example in the squats we had before. It is trying to get a space there, that is there forever or hard to remove, because it is made of concrete. This contract also says, when these conditions are not lived by any more then it ends. I am curious. So in that sense it is temporary work. I want the work to play an active role and to be activated. Every Saturday in the summer I’ll organise something there.
PH: So, as a customer, you receive a receipt at Table Dance Bar – dancer: Miguel, price, total price, tax and on the bottom the poem.
PH: You are trying to take the precarity of squatting out of the equation, at least on paper.
DT: Yes, but only the poem is mine.
DT: I think these things can also change. I also put into the contract that, if I would pass away, that other organisations, for example Kraak, De Player in Rotterdam, Oto in London, could be Meakusma, too, would be allowed to continue the work. But I want to put down who can do that.
PH: Another hard one. This on the left. DT: Easy: “Eetbaar papier maché” – eatable paper maché. PH: “Voedsel banken in alle parken!”
PH: Does public sculpture begin for you at this place? DT: It could, although I don’t how public it is. It is as public as when you go to a village and see a sculpture there. The chance that I see a sculpture in a village I have never been to, is very small. This restaurant is not visited by everyone, so in that sense it is not as public. PH: You have a very distinctively sculp-
PH: How do you think of the reception of your art? DT: I am usually very annoyed by it, but