Jette: In your text about paintings the concept of reality repeatedly emerges. You say that reality is both reassuring and threatening. What do you mean by that?

Masoud: It is reassuring that we have a past to which we can rely. Furthermore, we all have this in common. The fact that I share reality with the community is also soothing for me. It is threatening that reality partly separates us from our true needs and wishes. We also feel this threat in the present day.

Jette: What does that have to do with painting?

Masoud: My idea is that paintings should definitely deal with reality and art in general is not completely disconnected from reality. I think that reality gives art the right impulse. It opens new opportunities.

Jette: To what extent is this idea actually implemented in your painting? Is this wishful thinking or does your work really deal with real life?

Masoud: I cannot judge about that. I can only say that I am looking for this reference to reality because I believe that art and life are not two different things.

Jette: You are evading. What relation do your paintings have to actual life?

Masoud: Well, I have no intention to illustrate reality. I am seeking for a narrative form which gives an idea of the mood of reality. When a young man holding a folding metre stick is displayed, we can assume that such a scene rarely happens in reality. But the display of it is a poetic density of life’s contents for me. With poetic density I do not mean poetry itself, but I mean room for interpretation.

Jette: Which role does the viewer have in this context?

Masoud: Since the viewer and I have common experiences, I want to know if I can find a way to address the intuition of the viewer, and not only his mind. This is exactly what I also feel when I am painting.

Jette: How do you mean that? Are you looking for a formal way through painting in order to share common realities with the viewer? This would also correspond to a documentation of contemporary life issues.

Masoud: When I speak of a conscious intention, then it is not true. But I think that is exactly what happens, it results into common experience. I share my perspective of reality – in a condensed form – with the viewer. The reference to the time in which I live is natural for me. This creates a living connection between painting and my own life.

Jette: Yet it sounds to me as if the connection between painting and life was natural. You are talking about life itself here. And when I read your text about paintings, I actually read thoughts of an artist on his paintings. The connection to life is not obvious, is it?

Masoud: painting is a kind of reflection on existence for me. Of course, that does not happen by the use of conceptual language, as it separates the wholeness of our perception. When I think in pictures or shapes, I immediately have an idea of the whole. The images and forms have a direct connection with intuition for me, and that is why I can see the connection between life and paintings.

Jette: The answer is still common. Through many discussions about art you actually stated that the separation between art and life is the greatest challenge for you.

Masoud: Of course, it is still the case. I have this kind of challenge with every painting. Actually, it is much easier said than finding the kind of connection during the painting process. I mean the compressed form, which gives an idea of the mood of reality, and usually I am dissatisfied at the end. Doubt, irony, play, opposition and especially the influence of the painting itself always play a role. And when I am in the process of painting, I make my decisions subconsciously.

Jette: Now I have the feeling that this is an artificial separation between painting and life; the dissatisfaction of not achieving the connection between the two poles is your actual motivation to paint.

Masoud: The overcoming of this contradiction is a challenge. This is a stress field in which I find myself as a painter. The separation mainly takes place on the intellectual level. At the same time, painting always remains a mysterious act. Ultimately, it is my intention that the image – although it corresponds to my intuition – surprises me.

Jette: Do you feel joy while you are painting?

Masoud: It is known that I have a lot of fun and enjoyment while painting. Of course, the painting process is also acompanied by problems and crises that are unpleasant. In my serious pictures, wit and irony play a major role, although it is not always visible in an obvious way.

Jette: So what actually happens when you walk into your studio? Are there certain rituals?

Masoud: First, I have a tea, then I stay in front of the white canvas or sit in front of an image already begun. This can sometimes take half an hour or even an hour before the dialogue with the canvas begins. Sometimes, when I am not clear with the picture, distracted or not properly motivated, I eat some dates, drink some more tea to pass time. At times I read or listen to the radio until the canvas attracts me again. In general, if things go well, I will stay long in front of the canvas and go on. If things go bad, I cannot separate myself from the screen until I have the solution. Then I do do not even get to drink some tea.

Jette: Do you regularly go to the studio?

Masoud: Continuity is very important for me because I am looking for a familiarity with the image. I need some kind of intimacy. Regularity helps me to match my mood with the image. I Seite 3 von 4would go every day if I could, and I usually do that. I am a hardworking painter.

Jette: What makes you paint so much? Is it only the above­mentioned description of the relationship between life and art, or are there other motivations?

Masoud: In my youth I was motivated by the idea to become a great artist. I had my role models, I wanted to be like them. Later on, I think I was addicted to painting. Over time I have discovered that this addiction is more of a desire to understand the meaning of life, or maybe I wanted to justify my addiction with this idea.

Jette: Does your art work make you different from others, is it some kind of arrogance, or a kind of escape?

Masoud: Escape from what?

Jette: I hoped to hear that from you. I have the impression that you are looking for something in the studio that you do not find outside in real life. At the same time your desire for legitimation of your passion appears as if you had to justify or apologize for it.

Masoud: I might try to compensate my complexes through art, just like many other artists. As I said, it is very hard for me to come to terms with reality. In this sense painting has reassured me. I have a feeling that I can be what I really am, and can also determine the direction. A painter may occur as a ruler, give colours and shapes certain commands or play with them like a child.

Jette: And outside the studio you are not able to be what you really are because you cannot always determine?

Masoud: Not necessarily because of the determining, but in the community, I am subject to the standards. I am conditioned. I take a role. I am a part of the community. Of course, I strive to be authentic and genuine without losing my individuality in the community. I also want to participate in life and be there for my loved ones. I want to enjoy life with others, Share my experiences and learn from others. Life is the true breeding ground of art, and art gives life the image.

Jette: What is your most emotional experience of your painting? Is there also a relation to the work of another artist?

Masoud: If things go well in an image, I am happy. Then I am excited and motivated. I experience excitation and emotion while viewing pictures of other artists. For example, when I saw an original by Max Beckmann at the Ludwig Museum for the first time, I was totally excited.

Jette: Which other artists were also important for you?

Masoud: Over time, I have preferred different artists. Earlier, I was inspired by modern artists such as De Chirico or Beckmann. Today, temporal proximity is not so important for me anymore. I am interested in painters who achieve an aura of mind in their images. Velasquez, Goya, Manet, Beckmann etc. Marcel Duchamp was and has ever since been a good example to me, although he gave up painting very early. I like his composure and irony.

Jette Jertz im Gespräch mit Masoud Sadedin, 2014