The sleep of reason
Where do your characters come from?
Most of our ideas come from the — unconscious — dephts of our imagination, dreams and nightmares. They are born out of intuitivity, rather then out of rational thinking. Some kind of spontaneous eruption. Apart from that we’re probably unsubconsciously influenced by other artists — which can be photography, sculpture, video, music, cutting edge fashion.
Sometimes it seems that loneliness is the real beast we all fear: what’s your thought about that?
We’re not keen on crowds of people. Our comfort zone is isolation. This is privacy at its best. That’s why Mothmeister is anonymous. That’s why we mostly shoot in abandoned places such as remote nature reserves, where there are practically no other humans around. That’s why Mars is on our bucket list.
What’s wrong with the selfie culture?
It’s all about exhibitionistic narcissism which is quite boring. Who wants to see the same #duckface everyday on social media? Who’s interested in another new bought pair of inspireless clothes? We certainly don’t. That’s one of the reasons why we came up with a slightly different kind of portrait: the antibeauty selfie, posing with taxidermied animals. You’ll never see a Mothmeister character twice as we morph non-stop.
Something on your method and means:
The actual conception of the character usually happens very quickly. Ideas pop up quite intuitively. The next thing is diving into our collection of costumes, junk, masks, second hand stuff or handmake some outfit ourselves and off we go. We mostly travel to isolated places on foot, packed like a mule. It’s like some kind of a ritual. Getting to our location is often the most time-consuming part of the whole process. Also getting dressed sometimes takes a while. Some of the masks are extremely difficult to breathe through. Because of the blood supply to the brain we need to shoot as fast as we can. Sometimes the weather plays an important time factor too: we let it be the unpredictable factor in our work. Rain or shine, we shoot anyway. But when you’re in a mask at 46°C under a burning sun or when you’re in a sheer nightgown in a freezing snow storm, you automatically speed up.
About the taxidermy, beyond the thinking of people, do you believe your animals would be happy to see your work?
Sure they would love it. Mothmeister’s Wounderland is a tribute to dead animals. Otherwise they would just rot away after death or end up in pet food. We keep them alive in a way. In our pictures they become immortal.
Honoré de Balzac said that “marriage must fight constantly against a monster which devours everything: routine”: When are you two getting married?
We are not married and never will as we think useless traditions like marriage don’t make any sense. We are just two partners in crime living together in chaos for many years which is more than ‘absolutely fine’.
One of your ordinary day in your country:
We are always on the hunt. For locations. Costumes. Taxidermy. Antique shops/markets… Although we live in Belgium, there’s never a dull moment.
For us, anti-beauty I guess. The imperfection. The decayed. The weird. The old. The damaged. That side of your face most people want to hide.
The right soundtrack for Wounderland:
Wounderland would be more like a soundscape rather than soundtrack. If there was a soundtrack, the record would be full of scratches. We love irritation. Dissonant, distorted and eery noises. The rumble. A swarm of buzzing bees. Scrap metal. The harsh stuff. Melodies are too predictable and repetitive. Wounderland is anything but easy listening.