Asta Gröting in conversation with Nicolas Vamvouklis
Interview, 2021

In addition to sculpture, you often use video and performance. I am interested in the therapeutic aspect of your work and would like to know more about your 2015 film Touch  where you ‘massaged’ fourteen different people in front of the camera.

They were typical gestures of sculpture, and at the same time forms of healing massages. Working with clay is very similar to working with skin or touching skin. Sculpting is similar to touching a face and tracing the contours of a face.


I’m curious about what’s on your reading shelf. Is there any particular book you would like to share?

I’m reading Adam Phillips’ Attention Seeking, which argues the differences between our motives and motivations, but also our self-awareness and our seeing.

Furthermore, Deborah Levy’s “Swallowing Geography” is a wonderful, playful and dark book; a kind of fable about contemporary femininity, introverted hearts and the wildness of thoughts.


You are an art teacher at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig. How do you approach teaching and what advice would you give to a young artist at the beginning of his career?

I see my responsibility as a teacher in supporting my students to find their way. So, I don’t proceed on my own, I try to understand that everyone cannot find their own way, which may have to do with their own biography or personality.

My advice is to see the possibility of building friendships and partnerships that can continue forever. I don’t understand the act of an artist as a single person following the path of a solo career; this is no longer a model, and can result in being too lonely.

And what about the prophetic title of the exhibition you had at the Kunsthaus Pasquart in Biel / Bienne just before the start of the pandemic: “Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

I tried to find a question that everyone is related to. Over the past 20 years, technology has changed all of our lives and work routines, so the question is, what will the changes be in the next 20 years. After the pandemic, my grandmother’s question of how many springs she will still see has come to the fore for many of us. In the exhibition at the Kunsthaus Pasquart, I presented a series of videos on how eight people made their first drink of the day. This is sometimes a kind of thought in the morning, how the day will continue or maybe the next 20 years.


Asta Gröting

Special thanks: carlier | gebauer, Berlin / Madrid