All creative activity stems from a violent impulse – the willed impulse to interfere, to interrupt, to mar, to stop. I suppose it is sad, but this kind of violent activity makes me happy.
Every sound we make is a bit of autobiography. It has a totally private interior yet its trajectory is public.
Tony Just paints in books, on paper, canvas and walls. Over the past seven years, he has worked with shapes and drips, a project inspired by Hans Fallada’s novel The Drinker (1950). In one of the writer’s more personal works, the protagonist undergoes an existential crisis, becomes an addict and ends his life by deliberately contracting tuberculosis. He does, however, find solace in his pain and describes his tears as “endless, bitter, and eventually comforting.” In reaction to the reading, Tony Just spilled red wine over a notebook and painted the surrounding spaces. The drips reminded him of the act weeping. In the following year, his practice consisted entirely of painting in books and pouring gouache or ink over them. He enlarged the shapes on canvas because he wanted to see them liberated “from the lines that made them.” Personally and artistically, Tony Just has lived through an extended period of transition. In the process, he set out to heal and consequently, his work developed profoundly as well.
Our inchoate love presents a series of buoyant paintings that are anchored in repetition and spontaneous marks. The title refers to the two basic ingredients of all new relationships: excitement and insecurity. “Love,” says Tony Just, “is something I’m always trying to conjure and sustain despite my many failures.”
Tony Just (*1969, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, USA) lives and works in Berlin, Germany. He completed a Master of Fine Arts in Painting at Hunter College in New York City after finishing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work has been exhibited (selection) at White Columns, KARMA, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise and MoMA PS1, NYC; Maisonneuve, Paris; Arratia Beer and PSM, Berlin.