Q&A with artist Simon Freund
all i possess is an online installation charting one man's attempts to photograph and catalogue everything he owns. We caught up with Simon Freund (the man in question) to find out more...
Hi Simon, can you tell us a bit more about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
I like to think about myself as a young conceptual artist who is living and working in Munich. However, the truth is that most of times I´m working in a furniture shop to make a living. Before I started to work as an artist I have been running my own fashion brand and tried out several concepts in my own little shop in Berlin.
Can you tell us a bit more about your project ‘all I possess’? What was the motivation behind it? What is it supposed to mean?
all i possess is a pretty straight forward installation and or performance where I photograph everything I own. Due to my work in the retail and fashion industry for most of my professional life, consumerism always was and still is a big topic for me. So first and foremost, the work is about our desire to own and to buy things and how much of the things we possess we really need, and what it is that we possess. While I would say that I don´t even have that many things, the website is still quite massive and shows how many weird or unnecessary items we have and carry with us every time we move. In a way, it´s a critique on consumerism while at the same time showing on a very personal level how difficult it is not to consume – which is expressed by every new item I upload to the page, since the installation is online.
At the same time this work is also about how we present ourselves and how others see us. Many people who have never met me saw this piece and they will automatically have a certain idea of who I am, which starts with the fact that I´m a male, probably European and live in a single household and I don´t know where it ends. It´s also about honesty though, as you will never know if I really upload everything and thereby asks the questions of truth on the internet, because we tend to believe what we see, even if it might be totally manipulated.
Relatedly, do you think people own too much stuff nowadays? Is your project supposed to be some type of cultural commentary?
I do think that we all own too much stuff and I include myself when saying this. Many of the things on my website are stored in boxes and after I photographed them I didn´t even use them once. For me it´s not only about how much we consume but also what we consume. A large part of the items I possess are items I really thought about before buying them and often invested a fair amount of money to buy something that will last for a long time. You will also find plastic designer toys in my possessions but when you look closely many items are made from long lasting materials and designed in a way that I will be able to use them for a long time or even until the rest of my life. The most important aspect for me is to make people think and when they start thinking about their own consumption due to my work that would be a great step.
From what I can tell from the project, your closet is very minimal, almost like a capsule. What are your wardrobe essentials?
My closet indeed is very minimal and I like to joke that I always look the same, which in fact is true for most days. My essentials are white socks, white boxers, navy woolen socks (unless it´s summer ), a blue denim, a white t-shirt, navy sweater and one of my two jackets as well as one of my beanies. It sort of became like a uniform for me but I do try to spice it up a little by wearing different colour beanies or a white shirt instead of t-shirt from time to time. It´s great though, as I always know I will feel good in this outfit and I don´t need to think about what to wear in the morning.
I noticed you have a pair of Albam raw denim in your closet. Are you a denim head? What do you find appealing about denim?
I wouldn’t say that I´m a denim aficionado but after I bought my first raw denim, I didn’t wear any other sort of trousers since (besides the rare occasion that I would wear a suit, because I´m asked to do so). Raw denim just seems to fit very well to my ethos of buying things that last for a long time and I love how they change when you wear them for a few month or years and how they truly become yours. I also like that you would not wash your denim the whole time, as I believe that being sustainable is not only about what you buy but also how you use it. I´m glad that denim has become a part of my uniform and that companies like Albam are still producing products which make their customers happy for more than one season.