Do you choose the photos for the landscape paintings at random or are these photos of specific places?
They are specific places I have discovered here and there when I am on the road to take photos. I go especially to take photos.
Of course, my landscapes are not only beautiful or nostalgic, with a Romantic or classical suggestion of lost Paradises, but above all 'untruthful' (even if I did not always find a way of showing it); and by 'untruthful' I mean the glorifying way we look at nature – nature, which in all its forms is always against us, because it knows no meaning, no pity, no sympathy, because it knows nothing and is absolutely mindless: the total antithesis of ourselves, absolutely inhuman.
What about the Alpine Pictures and the Townscapes?
Those were done when I no longer felt like doing the figurative photo-pictures, and wanted a change from the unequivocal statement, the legible and limited narrative. So I was attracted by those dead cities and Alps, which in both cases were stony wastes, arid stuff. It was an attempt to convey content of a more universal kind.
But it is also untrue that I have nothing specific in mind. As with my landscapes: I see countless landscapes, photograph barely 1 in 100,000, and paint barely 1 in 100 of those that I photograph. I am therefore seeking something quite specific; from this I conclude that I know what I want.
When I look back on the townscapes now, they do seem to me to recall certain images of the destruction of Dresden during the war.
Just about all the seascapes (many of which were included in the Atlas) depict collaged motifs. The sea and cloud sections came from different photographs then collaged together in a single image. The successful paintings were dependent on finding exactly the right mood between the combined images. There were also a couple of paintings, for example, where I used two halves of the same image of the sea [CR: 244, CR: 245]. Although I had a rather bad feeling about them, I was visited by George Maciunas, who thought they were absolutely wonderful and for that reason I allowed them to survive, despite feeling they were very decorative.
I find the Romantic period extraordinarily interesting. My landscapes have connections with Romanticism: at times I feel a real desire for, an attraction to, this period, and some of my pictures are a homage to Caspar David Friedrich.