Who are you?
Michael Stumpf. I was born and grew up in Mannheim, Germany, which happens to be Swansea’s twin city. I currently work and live in Glasgow.
Hello, how are you?
In a good mood – busy making things work.
What do you do?
I make art. I still think it is one of the best ways to spend my time. Before becoming an artist I trained and worked as a stone mason and stone carver which still informs the work on many levels. I put a lot of emphasis on making my own work, not so much from a romantic point of view, but more from the point of wanting to understand and appropriate processes. I work in sculpture, print and film, and my work deals with imagination and attitude.
I am also part of an artists’ group called Poster Club.
What have you been doing recently?
Modelling coffeemakers, laminating boulders and mending jeans while listening to podcasts about moonlight towers and Neal Stephenson’s book ‘Snowcrash’.
I am also working on a new publication ‘This Song Belongs To Those Who Sing It’. Last year I worked on an exciting project in the Mackintosh Building at the Glasgow School of Art.
I was interested in the art school as an expanded field, and my exhibition moved between the Mackintosh Museum, and the balconies of the Mackintosh and Reid buildings. The publication will be a way of having that project live on in another form.
Poster Club are working on a show taking place in Shanghai later in the year.There’s a lot to do which is good since it is still mostly dark outside.
What are you doing for Art Across the City in Swansea?
I will be using the amphitheatre as a setting for a ‘congress of things’. ‘The Future Is A Process, Objects Converse On A Matter Of Mutual Concern’ will bring together a boulder wearing a pair of Welsh made jeans and tap shoes, a ceramic coffeemaker and a meteor-like object. The objects will temporarily occupy the stage and seating of the theatre. I think of it as a debate between them about the nature of their own ‘thing-ness.’
What are your ideas behind the work?
When the amphitheatre materialised as a place for the work it made me think about using the site for what it is, i.e. a place to congregate. I have been always curious about the ‘second’ life of objects and I think about what happens when I leave my studio or what is going on inside crates when works are stored. When I visited Swansea Museum in June of last year its fantastic eclectic collection struck a chord with me. It felt like a place that one of my favourite science fiction authors might describe to explain the development of future technologies. And from there the idea of disparate objects debating, started to take shape.
The amphitheatre will be occupied by three objects:‘PinkMoon‘, ‘Stovetop‘ and ‘One of Us‘. Pink Moon is part of a new series of sculptures contemplating ownership of the moon. ‘Stovetop‘, a large ceramic model of a coffee maker, pays tribute to one of the 20th century’s great innovations. And ‘One of Us‘ is part of an ongoing series of tap dancing objects – giving a nod to a great art form and a simple instrument with great impact.
What do you think the public will make of it?
I couldn’t possibly say. Hopefully they make it their own, be curious and enjoy themselves with it.