With Damien Gernay, Kaspar Hamacher, Jonas Loellmann, Valentin Loellmann, Fabian von Spreckelsen
They all graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Maastricht and have known each other for 13 years, except Damien Gernay who joined Die Werkstatt later on. They define themselves as a family-driven group of people working in the same field without being a collective or a community.
Interview by Lise Coirier
We are a family-driven group of people working in the same field without being a collective or a community”, states Hamacher. It’s less the work but more the conviviality (Gemütlichkeit) that unites them. They share the same interests and feelings about life and taking care of each other. They are Die Werkstatt, guided by the idea that you must find a place to be wherever you are.
What is your definition of Die Werkstatt? Does it go beyond the concept of the workshop? Is it a community? A mindset?
Damien Gernay: Die Werkstatt is my second family. I am very shy and introverted, so I need a space where I can transform an idea into something more. Then the materials come in. I am basically working on materiality. This is a place for thinking and not so much a physical space, but rather an open, creative space for me.
Kaspar Hamacher: I am Die Werkstatt. To me, it could be anywhere where I feel comfortable: inside or outside, in the forest or at the workshop. It’s in me. When we are friends, we are Die Werkstatt. You go to the place where it is easiest to find yourself. Now I feel comfortable
and Die Werkstatt is also a resting place where I can take time, often alone, and therefore I feel like I am Die Werkstatt.
Jonas Loellmann: Die Werkstatt is a personal space to collect images & objects… and a place to give identity to your work. I am not working with machines; I am more like a collector and who uses instruments to capture photographs. Essentially, the workshop is a harbour and I am a fisherman. I fit perfectly into the surroundings and can focus without being influenced by others. It’s a place I cannot share it with anyone else because I need it as a space to close myself off and protect my fragile ideas and visions so they can prosper.
Valentin Loellmann: Die Werkstatt is the place where I work, the place where I get all my inspiration. It is my continuously changing moodboard. It is where everything happens. It serves my own inspiration and operates under my full control. It’s not a community; instead, it’s a holistic place. People have to fit in the atelier and interact with it; it’s not my house. In fact, the place is quite selective. The energy of the atelier is created by a chosen group of people who are working together.
Fabian von Spreckelsen: Die Werkstatt is where I work; it’s a place where the energy is satisfying. I can’t make my pieces without having the appropriate environment. It used to be an old workshop for cars. The flourishing karma of the place motivates me to work and achieve my high-end pieces. I feel comfortable, at home and happy to create. The place is shaped by me and reassembling objects. Craftsmanship is basic and minimalistic and does not oblige you to deal with technologies. The tools I use to achieve my pieces are quite simple. The drill in particular is key. They are the same types of tools used by my grandfather, a man who did construction in the 1950s and 1960s.