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Mad artists: Kasia Fudakowski

INTERVIEW! Fudakowski pairs up two art and comedy antiheroes, Lee Lozano and Andy Kaufman respectively, in "Double Standards", her new show at ChertLüdde. The show is on Apr 28-Jun 17. Don't miss!

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Kasia Fudakowski, “Sexistinnen”, installation view at Art Basel Statements 2015, courtesy of the artist and ChertLüdde

Kasia Fudakowski pairs up two art and comedy antiheroes in Double Standards, her new show at ChertLüdde.

Comedy comes up a lot in the British-Polish artist’s work. Previous shows have included purposely terrible stand-up and a witty look at Brexit. Now, Fudakowski is directly addressing her two greatest influences: conceptual artist Lee Lozano, and conceptual comedian Andy Kaufman.

Your upcoming show is called Double Standards

It’s centred around my love/hate obsession with Andy Kaufman and Lee Lozano, but more generally, on how you deal with your influences. In one sense they inspire you, but in another way they paralyse you. With Lee Lozano and Andy Kaufman, I’m drawn to the double standards within their work.

How so?

Well, for Lozano, the piece called Decide to Boycott Women was basically to not talk to her own sex [for 27 years]. It got kind of psychotic by the end, but for me it’s the most fantastic artwork because it just existed in anecdote. It didn’t even have any form. It’s the maddest idea, and she followed it through. Knowing that she wouldn’t have spoken to me or acknowledged me is kind of tantalising. And Andy Kaufman was somebody I was really, really obsessed with for a long time because of his performative techniques, forcing people into a space where they had no idea what was funny, what was planned, what was intended. I love when you have to make your own decision about whether you find something funny; it really tells you a lot about yourself in that moment.

How do you reference them in your show?

I’m hammering aluminium pieces. The plan is to hammer all the various symbols, problems, and inspirations out of these two characters. And I’m writing a piece of pornographic literature. These two artists took incredible liberties in their work, and I think artists must take liberties. I thought the greatest liberty I could take with two cult figures who are dead is to write them into a piece of pornographic literature where they basically get together. It involves a lot of facts from their lives but intertwined into my own kind of sick, warped fiction.

Why link them?

There’s so many similarities in the way both worked and thought. Both of them were so completely engaged in seeking extremes. That was the great phrase that [Lozano] had: seek the extremes because that’s where the action is. Like Andy Kaufman, she totally went for the neck, but she would do it very privately. The other thing is that neither of them ever turned off. They weren’t putting on an act. And I think what’s very interesting, as an artist myself but also as an art consumer, is the sense that we want our artists to be mad. We don’t want them to be normal. But then, to what extent are you just looking at the machinations of a mad person?

Do comedians and artists share this?

The comedian has to have one foot on the inside to understand what he’s talking about and one foot on the outside in order to critique it. The artist also shares this completely unique position, where we’re allowed and required to be supported by a system that we are actually critiquing. That defines the life of an artist. You’re very often penniless and stuck in a studio, but then you’re going for a champagne dinner.

Not so with comedians?

Comedy is a much better model for artists. I’m frustrated by the art world sometimes. It moves slowly and it’s very careful to take itself seriously, and I think there’s a lack of honesty in terms of how people get somewhere. Whereas there’s a plethora of blogs and podcasts where comedians really talk much more in terms of career, like how they went about putting in the work to become better. But then, I think Lee Lozano and Andy Kaufman did everything that I could ever want to do. [Laughs] I guess I should just pack up now.

Kasia Fudakowski: Double Standards Apr 28-Jun 17 ChertLüdde, Ritterstr. 2A, Kreuzberg