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in: Variations in Northern Degradations | September 9, 2009

Kommissar Hjuler and Mama Baer

Please introduce yourself.
We are 42-year-old Kommissar Hjuler and 28-year-old Mama Baer, also known as Kommissar Hjuler und Frau. My "name" normally is Papa Baer, but for my first releases I have taken the name Kommissar Hjuler and have hold it. We call erach other mama baer and papa baer (mama bear + papa bear), we both do not like our names, therefor wanted to change our names into Papa Baer Hjuler and Mama Baer Hjuler, but the community of Flensburg does not allow us to take names like papa baer or mama baer. We are used to these names, most of the people around accepted papa baer and mama baer as names, our two children Cy Hjuler (8) and Faust Adolf Hjuler (3) do only know us as papa baer and mama baer (!), this is true.

Where do you live and work?
We live and work at Flensburg, the very north of Germany, directly at the border to Denmark, but concerts and exhibitions have been at several places in Europe, also Africa, Australia, USA.

How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it?
We started as musicians in 1999, no aim to make any art, simply weird music. I was a collector of any art of experimental music and in 1999 I came to a certain point, that no music could please me, I was looking out to stranger music. At that time I met Jan Iwers /No One and we made some recordings together, also a Double LP under group name TUULEN LAULU, mama baer gave her voice to some tracks, but she was not really envolved. I soon started to make my own music,with the aim, to make non-listenable sounds, not harmonic, not easy to listen to, just to go one step further from what I was collecting. Mama BAer saw me working, wiothout big knowledge about experimental music, and just started making music too. We made recordings together and recordings for us alone. And up to now we made more than 200 different recordings, mostgly released on our label in very small editions as handcut vinyl (acetate), tape or CD-R. I often made very intersting covers and a curator of a museum became aware of my cover art and has chosen us for his exhibition on theme vinyl, then the museum made a LP by us for the exhibition, and our covers were shown side to side with Warhol and Beuys. Today a lot of our small releases has becoe reissued as CD or LP in larger editions, on 16th September the Label Psych.KG starts a series of split-LPs by us, and every 40 days shall appear the next LP in this series, we present one side for each LP, also the cover art, and now have fixed the first 17 partners for this series, now enduring until 2012, every 40 days the next LP, such a contract has never been seen before, only the Psychick TV series of live recordings for one year, but I guess, this Split-LP-series will endure and will not stop with no. 17. We have enough music to let it go ten years. And a lot of LPs appear beside this series, a LP on male bonding is just available, a split with Dissecting TAble is available, a LP with Asmus Tietchens is in preparation for 2010, a Lp at Nihilist Rec. is in preparation for beginning of November 2009, and three or four LPs on Feeding Tube Rec. are in preparation, the first one will be available this month.

How did you start in the arts? How/when did you realize you were an artist?
We made cover art and mama baer started painting, just for she did not like the idea of having painting by other people in our flat, my cover art has become more and more sculpture or assemblage and at a certain point, there was n o  longer music involved, it was only art, no longer cover for releases, mama baer realized her talent in painting and got help from some painters to develop her style. In 2008 a big german art magazinbe became aware of us and published an interview, also was recommending our art to their audience. We have had our first exhibitions at that time, some exhibitions followed, and today we have been playing live at places like Mary Bauermeister, the wife of Karlkheinz Stockhausen, a wellknow artist, friend of Jean Tinguely, Nikki de St. Phalle, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Christo, ..., a place where John Cage, David Tudor and Nam June Paik have played before. Or we will play at Brighton Festival Colour out of Space in November, one of the biggest festivals for experimental music in the world.

What are your favorite art materials and why?
I work with living material like bred, very famous are my bred cats, an alter ego for mankind with their own religion, rituals, society, wars (fighting against cunt cat), ..., also use a lot of found objects and used condoms, for objects are a part of me then , by half my children. Moreover I use wood and destroyed puppets. Mama Baer uses chalk and acryl on paper or canvas mostly

What/who influences you most?
There are a lot of artists we both like, but the influence was more by their work we did not really like, we wanted to create "better" work, as in the music, I wanted to make more experimental music as the music I knew, and I made more experimental music, I am supposed, same for art, I like Hans Bellmer, but his puppets do look to much like a puppet to me, I wanted to make more surreal puppets, I like Dieter Roth, Edward Kienholz, Jonathan Meese, Adolf W├Âlfli, Cy Twombly but they were not weird enough to me, I wanted to make a crank version, to go any further. People often state, that I am too pornografic, well, I hope, I am, this is a step further, they all try to touch these themes smooth enough not to discredit themselves, I think pornography is part of life and can be part of art. And I am not the first one thinking this way.

Describe a typical day of art making for you.
We make art the complete day, we have two little children, were living at the outskirts of Flensburg, in a small house, a strange house for the neighbours, for there are objects around, the house is painted in green, very green, anyway, we love it. I work as police officer, early/late/night-shifts, my wife does not work. And we spent every free minute for art, painting, building objects and/or making music.

Do you have goals, specific things you want to achieve with your art or in your career as an artist?
We are non studied artists and we want to become accepted by artists council one day, to become member of the artists society of our country, this has been possible for other non-studied artists before, and I hope we both can achieve it one day.

What contemporary artists or developments in art interest you?
Fluxus, dada, Art Brut. Joseph beuys is one of my favourite artists, he is the only artist, who made a work, I could not make better, if I see - for instance - a performance by Paul McCarthy, I state, that the same performance would be more intense and much weirder, if I would have done it, but Beuys was perfect, I could not be better.

How long does it typically take you to finish a piece?
From ten minutes to five months, it is very different, and I have some objects or music in mind for months, that I did not start the work on by now, a short film on a sausager, that get bound, tortured and cooked (cook=Kochen : BTK), or a puppet bearing a piece of chocolate, ...

Do you enjoy selling your pieces, or are you emotionally attached to them?
I like the idea of having all my work around me, we would prefer,. not to sell anything, but we are to, oitherwise galleries would not be interested into us, anyway, everything is for sale, allthough we do not like the idea, most of my work are my children, all our works is surrounding us in our house all day, pour house looks like a giant museum of dada/art brut. But selling things gives us opportunity to create new things.

Is music important to you? If so, what are some things you're listening to now?
I own one of the biggest collections of experimental music (20th century, text sound, industrial, free jazz, improvisation, musical theatre, abstract electronics, musique conrete, collage, ...), but I do no longer listen to all this music, I am nearly only listening to my own music today, therefor I made it, the music of my collection just marks a point in my own development, the collection is what was before, the start of Kommissar Hjuler and mama baer. This does not mean, that I do not listen to some music, I still like music like Kagel, Hespos, Nurse With Wound, Cureent 93, Ghedalie Tazartes, but today I know most of these musicians and they all lost their "flair". my first experimental music ever was by Lt. Caramel, when I was 16 or 17 years old, I was at hamburg, found four experimental LPs by Nurse With Wound, Etant Donnes, Ultra and Lt. Caramel. Today I know Ultra and Steven Stapleton, have worked together with Lt. Caramel, the flair of these untouchable colectable items is gone. And my music goes any further.

I am a big fan of poems by Georg Trakl and Walter von der Vogelweide, made some recordngs, also of some dada poems, like Hugo Ball, and I love absurde and very abstract stories, like Kafka.

What theories or beliefs do you have regarding creativity or the creative process?
We live creativity, I have been creative my whole life, but not with a certain focus, and I have leárned by now how to use this creativity.

What do you do (or what do you enjoy doing) when you're not creating?
It is only few time, that I am not creating, some time spending with the children at a forrest muist turn out into collecting wood for the next work, and each new sound I listen to expects me to make music. In a way, I am not non-creative.

Do you have any projects or shows coming up that you are particularly excited about?
Me and my wife work that much, that we are no longer interested into anything else, we simply do not find the time, all free time is spent into our own development, to become better and better each day. When we find time to visit an exhibition, for instance, we nearly run through the rooms, catching views and feelings, and mostly we do not like, what we see, simply become aware, of what could have been better.

Do you follow contemporary art scenes? If so, how? What websites, magazines, galleries do you prefer?
We do not have the time, as mentioned, to think a lot about hte art and music of other artists, we simply try not to copy, just to create new art by having seen influencable art.

Ask yourself a question you'd like to answer, and answer it.
Why should I run around with questions I need to answere, I am trying to give questions with my work, no answers given, just questions, Brotkatze has no answeres, Votzekatze can be the aggressor in the war, but also Brotkatze can be the aggressor, it is up to the audience.

Any advice for aspiring artists?
I am happy about any advices, I am only working as an artist for three years now, so why should I give advices, I am at the very point of strating my artists career. I am in need of help and love by others.

Where can we see more of your work online?
Our website gives you lots of information and leads you by links to all places Kommissar Hjuler and Mama Baer have insulted by appearance in the world wide web.


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ABOUT CLAUDIO PARENTELA: Born in Catanzaro (1962-Italy) where he lives and works. Claudio Parentela is an illustrator, painter, photographer, mail artist, cartoonist, collagist, and journalist free lance. Active since many years in the international underground scene. He has collaborated & he collaborates with many, many zines, magazines of contemporary art, literary and of comics in Italy and in the world on paper and on web.