At last, at last. After an epic ping pong interview months in the making, here it is. Painter – turned video artist turned – precocious fashion film director Justin Anderson.
He has a bum fetish, just like everyone else.
BIKE by Justin Anderson, for Armani Jeans. Still by René Habermacher.
Antoine Asseraf: What is the last thing that stimulated you ?
Justin Anderson: On Friday night – I watched a film by Jean Pierre Melville – ARMY OF SHADOWS.
It had a big effect on me. It is brutal but very paired down without any melodrama. None of the actors either particularly young or good looking, the direction is tight and the subject really tough. It is about the French resistance to German occupation – it is about death, betrayal and torture.
The film was gripping was absolutely masterful. What I love is that I discovered this film because I loved the way Alain Delon looked in LE FLIC in his raincoat – which then led me to such a film. I feel very lucky to live in a time in which it is so easy to discover these kinds of gems and I love the fluid way you can to move from one to the other.
So, which would you say are you main influences in film-making – classic films such as the ones you just mentioned, or more experimental fare ?
All kinds of image making influence me particularly fine art – which is how I trained. I would say the paintings of Fontana, Morandi, Barnett Newman, Stella, Ryman, the sculptures of Brancusi, Donald Judd artist like Walter de Maria. Dan Graham, Bruce Nauman were particular influence to me. These have all impacted on my filmmaking as much or more so than other film makers because that is what I studied for years. I suppose my taste currently in film making are as you say classics. I was hugely influenced by Buñuel when I was introduced to it as a 14 year old boy by a very good art teacher at school – he knew exactly how to stimulate a 14 year old boy.
Currently I working my way through the classic European film makers of the last century, Bergman, Antonioni, Chabrol, Renoir and recently Melville. Having not studied film I feel like I have a lot to catch up on.
UNTITLED VIDEO STILL by Justin Anderson. Courtesy of Gerwerbe Karl Marx Gallery, Berlin.
So how did you transition from fine art – painting if I’m correct – to video ?
I started working in video quite along time ago whilst still studying at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. The work was structuralist and minimal – I chewed gum live on television for 5 minutes, made a video in NYC where I drew the lines of a huge tennis court across midtown Manhattan and the dove them with a camera attached to the roof of a car. The video camera was moved through space like making a drawing – instead of leaving a marking on the space you were recording what is there.
I made a video of a guy dressed in protective sports gear standing against a wall and shouting “Just do it” in German whilst I served tennis balls at him as hard as I could. It was quite violent (our friendship ended soon after!).
At the time I was making very large paintings of the lines on parts of sports courts- it all seemed to flow from one to another- the video camera was just another from of mark making. The videos had virtually no editing and certainly no close ups or variants in the shots.