Nick Van Woert
Studio Visit By Peter Sutherland
Peter Sutherland: What was the best moment of your life ?
Nick Van Woert: Tre flip.
PS: Your work is mainly sculpture, still works made of very permanent materials but somehow you are able to create a feeling of energy and movement. Is that something you think about when you are making work.
NVW: If you have a mirror break it. If you have a broken mirror put it back together. Does that answer your question?
PS: What or who influences your work the most?
NVW: Dave Foreman’s “Field Guide to Monkey Wrenching” for his approach to materials. It’s very much like one of those Army Field Manuals from the 1960s and 70s that describes how to use familiar materials in unfamiliar and often destructive ways. You start to see the horrific potential behind materials that are typically regarded as comforting, luxurious and casual. For example, mix your hot pink hair gel with some chlorine from your pool and you’ve got a nasty chemical reaction that gets hot enough to catch a puddle of gas on fire. There’s your homemade fuse from a combination of style and leisure. There was a specific brand of hair gel that was capable of causing this reaction but it has been taken off the market as far as I can tell. Can you imagine the dude that jumped into a pool with his head caked with this stuff? Poof!
Also, Rembrandt’s “Anatomy Lesson of Dr.Tulp” and this book called “Dissection: Photographs of a Rite of Passage in American Medicine 1880-1930″. They are like Foreman’s book you see something that you know so well, the human body, in ways that you have never seen before. All of this stuff is about looking at ourselves and the materials we have created to gain a more comprehensive understanding of what is going on here. It’s so sick.
PS: What is your connection or attraction to the Unabomber?
NVW: My connection is that I now own some of his stuff – a blue hoody, his flute, some tools, a beanie and more. I found parallels between his life and Thoreau’s. Living in the woods with no running water or electricity for 20 years. Committed to the core. The stuff I got is totally mundane but you can feel the horror behind the objects. I’ve never seen a flute I found frightening but now I’ve got one. That’s what art should do – scare the shit out of you.