CURTIS LESLIE ANDERSON
Curtis Leslie Anderson wearing the Leo cardigan no.001. He is an artist living in Potsdam, Germany.
What do you treasure most in your neighborhood or city?
Here in Potsdam, I cherish the paths taking one through the Lenné designed garden linking the Sacrower Schloss to the Heilandskirche, which lies on the shore of the Havel River, although for a boy from the Pacific Northwest this river resembles a swamp. Still a very picturesque site for walks with my partner and our two Rehpinscher dogs, Eri + Bambi.
Who do you find an iconic person ?
Ad Reinhardt has probably influenced me as an artist more than anyone else. So diverse and consequent in his many languages. And like myself looking to Asia for a certain sense of resolution.
What takes you to cloud 9?
When I turned 50 in 2006 I made plans to spend six weeks in Arizona earning my glider pilot license. My partner didn’t approve and expressed herself as follows, “Go ahead, but don’t come back. I don’t want to live with a pilot!” So I’m afraid that I’ll be viewing the clouds from below, including number 9.
What do you collect?
I collect friends above all. Then come books. And then artworks – but limited to works on paper, photographs and objects. No canvases. I’m not a fan of Joseph Kosuth but he did get one thing right – “Canvas is very useful – for making tents!”
What is your most indispensable household item?
My most indispensible household item is without question my Gaggenau steam oven. It offers a gentle and fat free method of cooking – up to four dishes simultaneously. And steam – a vaporized form of water – which I would most like to be. To gently enter the tissue of other beings.
What does your house smell like?
I often use the L'Occitane room scent called ‘Rameau d’Hiver’ and imagine that I still live in an area defined by virgin conifer forests.
What does your house sound like?
My house has no characteristic sound. My life is more like a jukebox with an ever changing soundtrack.
What are you wearing?
My daily uniform consists of pants from Arc’teryx, the great outdoor outfitter from British Columbia, near to my hometown of Seattle. I wear t-shirts from Calida, the Swiss firm, from their MicroModal product line. Round these off with compression stockings – which protect me from thrombose and keep my aged ankles trim. I have a wide variety of fleece jackets and shells, almost all from Arc’teryx. The logo of this firm originated with a fossil example of the flying dinosaur which resides in the Humboldt University in Berlin. In the meantime the Chinese have found a larger example, of course. On cold days I like to wrap a large and heavy wool coat from Christophe Lemaire around me.
Where do you imagine you would find your doppelgänger?
I pity even the idea that someone might be my Doppelgänger.
What do you reserve for Sundays?
I enjoy sharing lunch, not dinner, with friends on Sundays.
What was your last download?
What is a download?
Can you share some habits or rituals?
When I left the US of A for good in 1985 I decided to celebrate my distant friends with birthday greetings once a year. Since then I collect birthdays and in our age of telecommunications write emails. Often with oversized and colorful typography and photos attached. I try to never miss a day although I don’t write to everyone every year – and subscribe to the behavioral psychology principal of intermittent reinforcement.
What is dear to your heart: person, place or thing?
This remains my secret.
What is your mantra?
I recently lost my father. In my eulogy I announced that I would in the future have to recite the Lord’s Prayer in two alternating versions, like a mantra: “Our father who art in heaven” and “My father who art in heaven.”
Can you share with us a fun game?
I have no fun with games. I have had a lifelong aversion to confinement and rules. My dear friend Ketuta Alex-Meskhishvili once wrote, “You are an oasis of freedom in a world full of rules!” I have no enthusiasm for anything involving a ball. My introduction to European football: The very day of my move from New York to Cologne in May of 1985, with my flight taking me to Bruxelles, I sat with two friends in a private automobile on the way to JFK Airport. On the radio we heard the news about dozens of people being trampled to death in a Bruxelles soccer stadium. I thought at that moment, “Fuck me! I thought that I’m moving to Europe because it’s MORE civilized!” I prefer pure and simple movement out of doors - bicycling, rock and mountain climbing, cross-country skiing and Nordic walking.
What is good design?
Hans Wegner is for me the greatest furniture designer of the 20th Century. I live with an abundant number of his ‘Wishbone’ chairs in soaped oak. One never tires of sitting in these. And then the grand ‘Ox’ chair in which one can assume numerous positions. He himself lived with six of these, the female and male versions, in a circular arrangement in his own living room – which brings us back to the number six for an agreeable gathering of persons.
Where do you find good design?
I hope to find good design at the tips of my fingers, whether of my own creation or something which I’ve just had the pleasure of stroking.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m still struggling to free myself from the tyranny of known and named objects in the world.
The best Anti-showbiz film?
I find it impossible to remove showbiz from the commercial film world. I really enjoyed watching my friend Cyprien Gaillard’s 3D film ‘Nightlife’ at the Sprüth Magers Galerie in Berlin a few years ago. I also work with film in a plastic way, making video and film installations and more recently transportable silk / video works, one meter square and of sewn silk based on the ‘black paintings’ of Ad Reinhardt with round video images cast into the fabric from behind. My favorite verbal sparring partner in the world, the now 90-year-old Mario Diacono, reacted to my first series of such works as follows: “You have launched Ad Reinhardt into outer space! And he has been reborn as Innerspace Curtis. You have made the painting to end all paintings into a transition toward the post-painting, the video, but at the same time you let them co-exist, as if you were refusing to choose between the past and the future.”
Who or what is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
Exquisite extemporaneous speech.
Who or what do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
This remains my secret.
Who are your ideal guests?
At home I never have more than six people at my table, the ideal number for a single conversation and not a group splintering into numerous simultaneous conversations. Anyone who is verbally fit and has something to share is welcome at my table.
Can you draw something for us?
I don’t draw on commission.