“Double happiness” (about “intellectual property”)

“Intellectual property” is not my problem. It is not a problem because – as an artist – I am not working only with my intellect. As artist I am trying to do a work which goes beyond the intellect, which goes beyond theory but also beyond practice. “Intellectual property” is also not the problem because the problem is not the problem of “property”, of “claiming for what is mine”, of what “belongs to me”, of “copying from others”, of “being influenced by”, of “using from others” because then one cannot move on forward. Neither do I want to be obliged to play the defensive game of “protection” and of the “law”. I am interested in the offensive, in the affirmation, in ‘standing-up’, in ‘self-construction’ and in the affirmation of authorship!

Since Marcel Duchamp and his very important work, we know how significant and important authorship is. Marcel Duchamp did not deny authorship, he created a new concept of author and established a new author subject. Marcel Duchamp reaffirms the importance of the author, by signing a Ready-made – which has no signature – he does not eradicate the signature as sign of authorship, but reinforces it by asserting it. Marcel Duchamp assumed to be an author and he gave the form to understand this for ever.

I think as an artist my problem – the essential problem – is the problem of form. The problem of art is the form, and my problem is: How can I give a form which, in all cases, resists historical facts? How can I give a form which reaches beyond history – the history I am living in? And how can I give a form in my historical field today which is a-historical? How can I give form to my position beyond political, esthetical, cultural habits? And how can I give a form which creates a universal truth? This is my big problem, the only one I want to have and the only one I want to struggle with.

A form – a new form, a given form, a worked-out form – is something which has no property A form has no property! Because it’s really form, because it’s a creation, because it’s something that art can do – something specific to art. No big artist who gives or creates a new form claims to be the owner of this form, simply because: It belongs to everyone! There is no “private property” in art. As artist one is the author, one does not need to claim “property”. The issue of intellectual property is not the problem because, if I try to give form and if one of these attempts creates a form – a new form – it is such an important achievement that any question about property is no longer important. Big artists achieves in doing a work that belongs to me – to me as public, to everybody. Their artworks have the power – through their form – to implicate me so strongly that I myself feel as if they were mine.

Sometimes I see a form – not only a so declared artwork – and I immediately feel: This is my work, this is mine, this is my form, I’ve done it myself! There is no question about property, because the form I see belongs to everybody, also to me. The grace of a form is to achiev that the public does take possession of it. Its a feeling of happiness, a double-happiness – I am happy as the author and I am happy as the public, I am happy because a form is universal, it therefore belongs to everyone and of course goes beyond the problematic of “to whom does it belong?” As an artist I want to fight to give form – and if I achieve this – I don’t need to worry about the ownership of my form, the artwork. The artwork is autonomous, it exists without its owner, without me – this is one of the most beautiful things in art.

T.H. 2010