5 Questions with Florian Slotawa

What do cars and readymades have in common? For the next month and a half at Basel’s von Bartha they share a colour, picked by the Berlin-based artist Florian Slotawa. Observing unusual ‘found’ colours on cars around the German capital, Slotawa matches objects–such as swimming goggles and necklaces–with blocks of car-paint-covered wood and aluminium.   

Can you tell me a little about the pieces that will be showing at von Bartha?

They are about found colours and found objects coming together. I have used the colours of cars which I’ve seen on the street that have caught my attention. I then have them mixed by an expert car varnisher and apply them either on ready made objects or on aluminum plates that I pair with an object.

Much of your previous work has been naturally toned—wood and such like—or white. Was there a specific object that launched this work with colour?

There was no specific object. I think it is about working with what is already there. In earlier works I used objects that were already there, like the furniture and inventory of my apartment, rather than making objects produced in clay or bronze. Now I use the colours that are already there–I don’t mix them like a painter usually does.

When you’re searching for new ‘found’ colours, is it a sense of unfamiliarity that you look for; colours that you might not typically see?

In fact, I don’t search for new colours. They come to me on the street, they catch my eye because they are somehow special: they are beautiful or bold or ugly or just interesting, and this compels me to work with them.

You create primarily with objects that already exist. Is your process very led by the objects that you come across, or do you tend to have in mind an object that you’d like to work with before going to find it?

It is the same as with the colours: I come across an object and want to work with it. Often it is not because of the object’s function, but because of its colour.

Do you feel the influence of Berlin on your practice?

I don’t know, maybe the selection of colours would be more elegant if I had found them on the streets of Paris or Florence…

‘Florian Slotawa’ is showing at von Bartha, Basel from 9 April – 28 May 2016

Florian Slotawa, Fiat 258A (Giallo Modena), 2016, Car paint on wood and aluminium, 66.5 x 38 x 5.8cm, courtesy of the artist and von Bartha, Basel
Florian Slotawa, Mazda 36A (Spirited Green), 2016, necklace, swimming goggles, car paint on plastic, 38.5 x 13 x 5cm, courtesy of the artist and von Bartha, Basel
Florian Slotawa, Audi LY3J (Brilliantrot), 2016, Acrylic on wood, car paint on aluminium, 42 x 74 x 4.7cm, courtesy the artist and von Bartha, Basel