Give them more complicated and fraught material

Baxter Street (Because I’m Not Innately Drawn) ©MAIERMOUL
Baxter Street (Because I’m Not Innately Drawn) ©MAIERMOUL

RG (pause) You know, this interview is going to be a problem, because I’m not innately drawn to coming up with sentences about my work.

What I cull is more of an emotional feeling, and to me it’s not important to put that into words. Or at least to put it into words to make it communicable to a general readership. That’s not where you’re going to gain an understanding of my work. I’m not gifted that way. I’m not drawn to it. Right now.

CG Did you study art?

RG Yes. Although, I went to a liberal arts college.

CG Where you read art criticism?

RG Sure.

CG So you did have to talk about work in that way, but it’s something you just decided wasn’t valuable for yourself.

RG It’s something that you learn to protect; your relationship with your work and you can only talk about it so much before certain things get spoiled. What is, for the first time a discovery of putting something into words, loses meaning the second time.

CG No, I understand absolutely. A lot of times when I’m beginning to write a piece, I know that if I talk about it too much, I never write it, because, in a way it is out in the world already.

When I was preparing the questions I realized that I had loaded them all with such heavy, heavy, information. I couldn’t figure out a way to talk about the humor in your work. It’s much easier to talk about the more psychologically-charged elements of it.

RG The humor, to me, is very important. A lot of times in the studio, I push the pieces until they make me laugh. It’s a way to let people enter into the piece, where you can give them more complicated and fraught material. It’s a disarming device, but it’s also a pleasure that comes with the piece.

Robert Gober interview Bomb magazine