“Endorfin Maskiner” — an interview with Aske A. Hvidtfeldt
I met Aske at his studio in Aarhus. When I enter the first thing I see is a stack of paintings against the far wall.
These are the endorfin maskiner. Or at least a small part of the wider collection. Aske tells me there are 50 in total which he has produced in the last year alone. In his own words: when I work I just work!’
My first question is to find out where the name for this exhibition, Endorfin Maskiner, comes from.
I called these works Endorfin Maskiner because it’s a very physical procedure I have to go through in order to create them. I can get so ‘into the zone’ that it becomes a semi-meditative state where I can really unwind and be happy, while still working at a really fast pace.
The coloured artworks have to be produced layer by layer, covering the whole thing with tape, making a 1cm grid with a pencil and cutting each layer away with a knife. I mainly just use 4 colours to create layers and make a dot for each square centimeter.
After I’ve worked on each layer I use ‘shading grey’ to add darker shading to certain colours. And then I peel it off layer on layer. 100x150 square centimetres sounds like s a lot but I’m really fast when I do it - I can do the entire thing with all the layers in a day.
Where does the ‘machine’ element come into the name?
I have to do a lot of planking exercises to strengthen my back because I’m bending over this table working very hard for long periods at a time. I have to be strong and work hard so the endorphins start building up while I’m working - like a very natural high. That’s where the name endorphin machines comes from - it’s a name for the process that lies behind the production of these artworks.
I love the physicality of it. For me its like laboring to do this work.
It is very much a meditative process, I don’t have to think about it too much - as opposed to other artwork styles I am working on and have done in the past.
Do you use this same layering techniques for all your artworks?
This endorphin machine series are very mechanical. Everything I produce uses layering of some kind but this is where I can really get ‘into the zone’
The creations follow the idea of symmetry in design - particularly in Arabic carpets and tapestries which I took inspiration from. The human brain appreciates symmetry, regardless of whether its a human face, a building, a garden, oil paints, sculptures, everything. We automatically look for it and derive pleasure from it.
But I’ve added errors to my ‘endorfin maskiner’ just to play with the viewers. You want it to be perfect but it’s not quite!
How did you come about with this technique? Do you experiment a lot in your work?
This actually started a long time ago. I didn’t understand abstract art and like so many who are ignorant of a subject, I therefore didn’t like it!
So I gradually began to read up and study the aspects of abstract art that intrigued and interested me until I had some insight into what it was and how it worked. Some of these endorfin maskiner, which follow this very precise process, I’ve tried to make more abstract by breaking them down and ‘losing control’ - so they seem to be falling apart in the viewers eyes.
The more art I look at the wider the spectrum of my questions become - so even if I am understanding more, I’m also asking more questions because of this wider scope.
It took me a very long time to research and develop my style. When I visited Berlin I was inspired by deconstructionists who seek to intentionally lose control or lessen control over their work.
How recent have you fixed on this distinctive style you have now?
The greyscale and coloured pixel work I began about a year ago - and have produced a hell of a lot of artworks since then! I’ve never been good at finishing projects so I’m determined to see this to the end - finish what I start!
I’ve found out I have to have different projects going. I have some music projects going too ‘the wandering mountain’ which I hope I can anywhere.
How did you progress as an artist to where your artworks are now with the Endorfin Maskiner?
For the past year I’ve just been producing art without a goal or purpose of exhibiting it or selling it - just as a catharsis, a means of outlet.
A guy I spoke to recently spurred me into action, telling me to turn my company into this outlet - the next day I sold two artworks to someone who saw my work through a friend. So it’s about the friends you have and the coincidences that can land you an interested party!
The END OF THE LINE is perfect for me to exhibit these works - I love the mirrored floor and surreal setting. Hopefully it all plays into the nature of these artworks.