Max Bossier: Paco, are you a painter?
Paco Koenig: Well, I don’t like labels, but yes you could say that I am a painter.
MB: Please describe the process of creating your ‚paintings‘. Is it conscious or unconscious?
PK: I always find out that my work is about contradictions. Because I work on the aluminium panels, there is sort of only one try to scrape in the marks on the surface, compared to a more traditional style like canvas where you can easily substract and add any material. Once the mark is made, you can not erase it. So in that sense it is very conscious. But at the same time, the marks are only revealed when I clean the surface with the oil colour. You could say conscious unconsciousness. I think one thing that painting does well is to transmit contradictory content in a single work.
MB: Do the inscriptions on your works have any meaning?
PK: I’m just fascinated by the fact that humans have that inner instinct to make a mark on a surface, to be remembered in a way. I think this desire goes back to the cave paintings in the south of France. Those first marks are like a template for everything that comes after, including the screens that we are staring into.
MB: Everybody talks about references in artworks. I can spot a few ones in your paintings but I don’t want to talk about them. Let’s rather focus on this question: Is it even possible to create new abstract paintings when Twombly, Basquiat (spoiler: reference), Pollock or Rothko have been there before you?
PK: With abstract painting, I feel like you’re entering into a shared space. There’s everyone who’s painted in the past, and everyone who is painting in the present. The past is great, because the old can transform into something new. All the great artist who were before me are my post-mortem sources.
MB: Are you a zombie formalist?
PK: I hope not.
MB: Are you nervous about your first show?
PK: Not so much.
MB: I have always admired you for your aesthetic sensibility. You studied architecture, designed furniture (very good furniture indeed) and now you are an artist. Was there a point in your life when you realized - I have to paint?
PK: You can not do architecture on your own. It’s very much a team effort. Most of the time you’re confronted with a problem and you have to come up with a solution. It’s the same in design. At some point I wanted to be left alone and deal with my own shit. Couple of years ago, I found this sketch that I made in one of my books and I thought that I had to convert this into a larger scale work. That was basically the turning point.
MB: Is it even appropriate to interview an artist who did not have a single show yet?
PK: Feels a little bit pretentious.