Rinus Van de Velde, ‘Fortunately I knew his telephone number by heart...’, 2015, tegenboschvanvreden

Full title: Fortunately I knew his telephone number by heart. I did not have time now to search for it through the pile of waste I had accumulated in the last few weeks while in bed thinking about what would be the best choice for a new piece of work which was to be shown in an exhibition that had come closer in the mean time. It was not by accident that I had chosen him; a conversation with him, so I thought, would possibly break the impasse. He was what they call 'a prolific'. That label troubled him, fearing it would devaluate his work. Others, like me, were envious of his method. Get up, don't have breakfast and start working. Forget all the rituals he told me. Forget the acclaim, the admiration, the praise, the applause, the flattery etc. Do not keep telling yourself you can't work with your shoes on. Soon you will come up with more of these senseless conditions before you can start working. I draw from experience, he told me, for years I only worked when hiccupping. Stop arranging your studio as if anyone could swing by any moment catching you off guard while still being impressed by the authenticity. Stop visiting your friends telling them about all your new plans. That, I told him, fortunately I haven't done for quite some time being in bed the last few weeks, barely getting up, hiding under the sheets when I hear someone in the hallway. All I eat is pizza, which I have delivered and shoved under the door, which I had shortened to that end. The money goes under the door as well and I tell them to keep the change. He interrupted me and said: "Look around you". Be inspired by what you see close to yourself. I'd prefer to tell you should make a long trip but we both know that doesn’t work. We have tried that before and besides the current artistic climate is not waiting for that sort of strategies. Perhaps you should take to yourself. I have been busy for months measuring and - pixel by pixel so to speak - copying my carpet. Choose something trivial and make it look more important than it actually is. Isn't this about something totally meaningless? A complete loss of time? Without saying something else I hung up, thinking the point had been made. This conversation itself was a waste of time. I looked around and spotted my dirty, in the mean a little more brownish, bedlinen. I noticed the wrinkles, the curves, the patterns, which were the result of weeks of tossing and turning. I remembered what he had told me about the carpet he was working on. I got up, started to work, supposedly just in time and produced, except for a few lines, the exact same piece of work as he did. He saw the work for the first time at my opening of my exhibition. At that time he had the decency not to mention anything.

About Rinus Van de Velde