The cosmopolitan architect, designer and artist “Quint”, born as Adriaan Neven du Mont lives in Budapest only in periods. His family is spread all over the world and he and his wife Maomi wander from place to place as they always did their whole life.
So, lucky I am too meet them in their lovely decorated home in Budapest. I couldn’t imagine a place that could be more “home” than this.
“Art is my religion”
The walls are paved with pictures, paintings, articles and collages. Little relicts of an eventful life. And there are even more remarkable stories, than the pictures could ever tell.
I spent almost three days with Quint and Maomi (and various friends passing by), to listen to their stories, to talk about art, politics and people.
There are two things that seem to be the recurrent elements of their lives: Art and coincidence.
“Art is my religion” Maomi said. Creative work and the attention for other peoples creative work, is part of their everyday life, just like having dinner or watering the flowers.
And the coincidences in their live almost verge on fate. Everything they experienced, all the people they met, everything seems to be connected coincidently somehow.
In the beginning of my trip I met a kind psychoanalyst, that told me that there is no such thing as coincidence. You would provoke things by being open to them, by “allowing” them to happen.
Like Quint working on his collages.
The first ones he did some years ago, when he and Maomi were on a trip to Berlin. In the garbage of a supermarket they found packaging material, colorful cardboard boxes no longer needed. What beautiful boxes, Quint thought, took them home and started making three-dimensional collages of them. Cause they were completely busted and didn’t have money for any material, not to mention for presents or souvenirs for family and friends, Quint started creating collages and objects of found footage.
Since then it became one of his favorite methods to express himself.
I showed him the poster by Ivorin from Zagreb, who had just done a montage and photographed it to make a poster for an imaginary band.
“Nichts ist mir zu schade!”
Quint liked the idea of creating a three-dimensional collage. He decided to make one himself: A picture of found footage, intuitively chosen shreds, put into a composition.
After showing me a bunch of his sometimes explosive, sometimes beautiful and sometimes funny collages, Quint held up the box he stored them in and suggested to use that one, to create a collage within an object, related to Ivorins idea.
“Isn’t that too good to destroy?”, I wondered. “Nichts ist mir zu schade! (To me nothing is too good)!”
Then he brought staples full of images, he had already cut out from magazines. Usually he would start by choosing some interesting material, but now he felt like he had too much to chose from. He had to clear his head first in this unusual situation of being creative at the push of a button.
So we talked about some ideas first and figured out which material would made sense to pick out from the pile. “You must think this guy is completely oversexed, but it’s just that I get my material mostly from fashion magazines.” For him it is not the actual body that’s interesting, it’s more the shape that can also be seen as some sort of landscape. He said he would like to use body parts from advertisement, but isolate them from their original context and rather use them like paint brushes. “I imagine if the models saw what I made of the images. That would be quite a happening!”
“I never know what comes out in the end.”
Quint also does drawings sometimes. Earlier he did mostly surreal drawings. Making collages for him works like some kind of meditation.
He uses the material that’s available, more in a postmodern or Dada manner.
To him there is no intellectual master plan in the beginning. What turns out in the end sometimes surprises him and can be interpreted just as well. “I never know what comes out in the end.”
The collage he made during our meeting started out with the basic idea of creating a landscape, the shapes of hills merging with the curves of a body. By putting layers of the same image on top of each other, he created a sort of repetition of body parts. When a detail appealed to Quint he would put it on the picture, arrange it with other slips of paper until he was satisfied with the composition. He would glue one side of the shred to the background, so he could still position things behind it. With this technique Quint carefully arranged the whole picture and attached all parts of it permanently in the end.
Most of it is filled with strips of a green landscape, mingling with grayish shades of a female “force of nature”. In the bottom of the collage suddenly yellow arms with clenched fists break through. “Suppressing arms of the male”, Quint notes. In between a woman on her knees. Her face expresses exhaustion. One of the yellow arms hits her chest, another one grows out of her very own shoulder.
This scenery is framed by a red fries on the top, rising into the room, like a little bridge to the three-dimensional world or a roof to cover the image. “It became political after all”, Quint noticed when he presented the result to me. The powerful gestures and body parts symbolize a struggle between men and women, “Adam vs Eva”.