What does the ideal studio look like? How much time does an artist spend in his studio? Is it a sacred place? In the series 'The Artist’s Studio' this week: Dennis Tyfus (Tim Van Laere Gallery).
Do you visit your studio every day?
Yes, of course. My studio is located at Ercola, an old alms house in the centre of Antwerp that has been used by artists since 1968. I also live there. It is both a workshop and an archive. It was passed down to me twelve years ago by ex-situationist Rudi Renson. Soon I will pass it on again to my friend Gerard Herman.
What time do you leave for your studio, and how: on foot, by bicycle, public transport or car?
In the morning I go for a walk. This can take a whole morning, but usually only a couple of hours. After which I rinse myself in the bathroom. Since the studio is only one corridor away from the bathroom, I can crawl there.
Do you hold on to certain rituals in your studio? Music or silence?
The immortal evergreen 'La Bamba' is on repeat while I draw. It ensures that there is a certain rhythm in my hand while drawing. When I'm not in the studio, I usually keep humming the song too, which drives my fiancée crazy.
How important is light to you?
In the morning the sun shines through the leaves of the tree in front of the windows, which creates a beautiful shadow play.
What does your work process look like? Do you work everywhere and all the time or does work only commence the moment you enter your studio?
All my work is created by vigorously procrastinating, but I think boldly stating that my work also continues in the pub or elsewhere is a bit silly compared to people who, for example, perform heavy physical labour. In addition to a solitary studio practice, we activate De Nor in the summer, a social sculpture I made with FVWW Architects in the Middelheim Museum. Every summer there are weekly concerts, lectures and performances which are open to the general public. We recently reopened.
How much time do you spend on average per day in your studio?
On average about seven hours, but when it rains probably more. When the sun is out, I'm usually naked in the garden singing.
Is your studio a sacred place?
We are fully engaged in the canonization of the studio at Ercola. It was already beatified a few years ago. Did you know that it is still the Pope who decides whether someone or something is canonized? Of course, that man gets a bunch of emails every day. He recently sent me a message in which he told me that an order form must first be made and sent to Strasbourg, then approved in Brussels, then returned to the Vatican and only then can we receive feedback.
Do you receive visits there; collectors, curators or fellow artists?
Collectors and curators are treated like royalty here. In addition to a dynamic 3D presentation about my practice, there are warm towels, a massage from the ever talkative Keelmeisje, Italian snacks prepared by Tyfoni Cutugno and a no choice cocktail.
What is the most beautiful studio you have ever seen?
The studio of Rutger Bemels. Not only is it surprisingly clean, it is also huge. What few people know is that Rutger is a great gardener. This is because he mainly paints with green paint in the wild garden adjacent to the studio.
What does the ideal studio look like?
A tiny, damp, dimly lit attic room without heating, full of vermin, where a dash of jazz coming from a transistor radio inspires me to produce tortured dark brown paintings.