Inside the Studio

Frans Muhren

What are the major themes you pursue in your work?

Movement (or the suggestion of it), color, contradictions (such as heavy and light, convex and concave, abstract and epic) and the possibilities of matter; I also like to tell small stories and often etch characters in my sculptures. In my work I  sometimes refer to the history of art, or culture in general. In 2012 I started with my series of coloured ‘streamers’, which are abstract and sort of chaotically mathematical; as a counterweight I work on rusty iron sculptures, that reflect impermanence and “silent poetry”.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist? 

Be true to yourself, and listen to your aesthetic intuition.

Prefer to work with music or in silence? 

I have two workplaces, one in a former school building in Amsterdam, where I can’t make much noise, and another in a fruit farm in the Beemster Polder, where I can do my noisy welding. In Amsterdam I usually work with music (favorites: Mozart, Bach, Shostakovich and blues, such as Muddy Waters), or radio talk shows and news on the radio. In the Beemster I make too much noise myself to hear anything else. In my studio in Amsterdam I make paintings as well as sculptures, and then I mostly listen to classical music.

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be? 

If you mean a work by somebody else, I would say then Giacometti’s Dog.

Who are your favorite writers?

Saul Bellow, Willem Frederik Hermans, and Arnon Grunberg (the last two are Dutch).