Questions by Paul Thek

Georg Dahled

Chelsea College of Arts

Roman Catholic

Parents’ education
Both of them were butterfly hunters.


Career plans

Tell us about someone who inspires you.
Corto Maltese

What do you read? How often?
Generally, I try to read as much as possible. The last text bits I read were the lyrics of Phil Collins’ song “In the Air Tonight”. The part in which Phil, standing at a distance, talks about seeing this guy drowning in a lake while this other guy close by didn’t do anything to safe him, stuck in my head in particular.

Do you buy books?
I am addicted to buying books, unfortunately. But with books it is like with rats: One or two are quite fun, but if they start to proliferate, there is a great danger of loosing control…

What is your favorite color?
White – with a touch of mint

Have you ever been seriously ill? Serious accidents?
I got seriously injured while hitting a tree with my car during black ice once. All of my ribs, my collar bone and my pelvis were broken, some internal organs got damaged. After waking up ten days later in hospital, I didn’t have a clue what had happened. But I somehow had the feeling of being held captive somewhere in Asia (presumably Bangkok) during the last couple of days.

What are your requirements in a friend?
They must be able to either help me to do stupid things, or prevent me from doing them.

Tell us about a close friend.color?
A close friend of mine works as a pharmacist, another one is a doctor. Both of them do support me very much. They advise me to pay more attention to my health.

What happens after death?
Cremation makes it little bit difficult to raise from the grave as an undead and to look good at the same time.

Tell us about the most exciting thing you ever saw, did.
Recently I dreamt that I was on a plane that was suddenly crashing. Surprisingly, I was not afraid of death but simply stunned that this was really happening. I suffer from a fear of flying, and very often I had imagined I would crash. But really crashing with a plane – like I experienced it in my dream – felt completely absurd.

Do you take baths or showers? Do you use perfumes or deodorants?
Both. I like perfumes a lot and own quite a selection of fragrances. A lot of them remind me of a specific situation or time. During times of change I tend to search for a new fragrance. Some people should seriously consider using deodorant.

What annoys you the most in others?
Females putting cream on their hands on public transportation.

What is waste?
We Await Silent Tristero’s Empire.

Who are your role models?
Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen

Who is your favorite character in the Bible?
Actually, it’s not a character. It’s a food called Manna. It can keep you alive during your 40-year-walk through the desert.

What religious articles do you have in your home?
Holy water

How do you know that you are happy, sad, nervous, bored?
It is very difficult for me to be sure about my feelings.

What would it be like if you behaved with absolute power?
I learned that if I erect a structure of a certain size in an uninhabited part of the Brazilian rain forest, and nobody complains about it for the next five years, I will be the legal owner of the land the structure was built on. This made me think of founding a new country, like a micro-country in the Brazilian rain forest, with myself as its ruler.

Do you really like very beautiful people? Do they really have special privileges?
Oh yes. All people I like to hang out with are very beautiful people. And, of course, they do have special privileges.

What is abstraction?
Seeing things when nothing is there.

First published in Portland magazine 52 / April 2020:

the ambien paintings on display at the chelsea college of arts’ cookhouse gallery in london in july 2019
(click image)

Georg Dahled, interviewed by Arthur R. Rose

Arthur R. Rose (AR): Georg, during the last year you have been dealing with cryptography and sign language, with coding systems between visual sign and meaning. What about this did you find interesting?

Georg Dahled (GD): I was and am interested in how marks and complex pictorial signs could be experienced on an image carrier, signs that oscillate between figuration and abstraction, between being readable and being incomprehensible

AR: Why is that interesting?

GD: I do not understand the question. What about it could be uninteresting?

AR: Here at the Cookhouse Gallery, which you are using as a temporary studio, you are apparently only painting white, monochrome paintings. Why did you decide to take this step?

GD: Robert Ryman, whose only subject was the white, monochrome painting, died unfortunately in February, only a few months ago. I was rather upset by his passing and studied some of his catalogues again. And once more, I was intrigued by Ryman’s understanding of his paintings as “realism”, as an enclosed system, shielded from the outside world. And via traces and marks, I then wanted to introduce narrative elements into the white monochrome again. Which is now possible again, I think.

AR: Are you going to show the white paintings at the Chelsea Summer Show?

GD: Certainly not.

First published in the Chelsea College of Art’s mafazine in June 2019.