Stephan and Ulrik must be geniuses. Or at the very least, really really good communicators, inventive craftsmen and skilled photographers. As an entity, they are preadolescent but by looking at their work, you’d never know it. Learn about their unique creative process, relationship and projects here today!
Describe Copenhagen. What is it like being artists in that part of the world?
Copenhagen is a tiny cosmopolitan city. Everything is just a short bike ride away so it’s super convenient in that sense and there are some great museums and galleries around. It’s somehow a schizophrenic city - in the Summer it’s very lively and people spend as much time as possible outside in the parks or at the harbour “beaches” and in the Winter it’s a completely different story where people seem to go into hibernation. We don’t really know if Copenhagen is that crucial for us or our practice. Don’t get us wrong, we love living here, but until now most of our exhibitions and activities have been outside Copehagen and Denmark. However, we are fortunate to have a great network of fellow artists and designers and we have found some great friends, collaborators and suppliers here.
How has PutPut changed since 2011 when it was born?
We’re hoping that we are getting into our annoying rebellious teenage years soon, being in our preadolescent years now, we can feel the hormones raging…
How old are you guys personally?
We are 31 (Stephan) and 43 (Ulrik).
How do you divide the work? Who does what?
That’s quite a difficult question to answer, there is no set recipe or procedure - it all depends on the project(s) we’re working on. Of course the initial idea originates from one of us, but quite often we can’t remember who came up with it in the first place! The main objective is to improve or refine the ideas along the way and that is very much a collaborative and organic process and effort. The same goes for the research and sourcing of materials.
When it comes to the actual production of the objects that we use, we sometimes collaborate with craftsmen/women to make the artifacts. Other times we handle it ourselves - depending on the complexity and techniques involved. When it comes to the final shoot or documentation of the objects, Stephan mostly handles that as he is the technical mastermind, whilst decisions on composition, setting, lighting etc. is something that we discuss and test together.
Communication, exhibitions and web presence are also done collaboratively. Stephan does all the web design and Ulrik the writing. We have been working together for some time now and we know our strengths and weaknesses so the whole thing is quite seamless and most importantly fun!
From where do you gather your resources and how do you do your research?
Depends a lot on the project, but we always take advantage of our travels to look for interesting things. Even though we can find everything online there is an element of surprise missing that we tend to encounter more often in the “real” world and where the physical materiality/feel of an object is very important.
On our Paint Roller project, for example, we spent almost 2 years collecting different paint rollers finding them both online and in hardware shops all over the place. We finished that project a couple of years ago, but still can’t avoid looking for new paint rollers where ever we go! The same goes for a lot of other things like sponges, tools, brushes, wigs…you name it! We tend to become slightly obsessed.
What tv shows do you watch?
When autumn rolls around, we always meet to watch the Danish version of “The Great British Bakeoff” called “Den Store Bagedyst”. There is just something super comforting about watching people bake!
You make a lot of unique objects, but what is the most unique object you've ever been given or gifted?
Recently we have started exchanging images/prints with artists that we know and admire because to us this is a great way of surrounding ourselves with images that we love and that have memories of some amazing people attached to them.
If you were given a free ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Uhhh…there are so many places that we would like to go. We had the pleasure of visiting Cambodia last year for the Phnom Penh Photo Festival and as our first trip to South East Asia it was a great experience. As long as there is a huge hardware store we can rummage through we’re happy to go anywhere.
What is the last idea you jotted down?
Word for word: “Baseball caps for kneecaps”
Images courtesy of PUTPUT
interview ASHLEY MUNNS
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