‘…art has freedom while politics has power. Vice-versa artists wield little power while politicians enjoy scant freedom.’ —-Robert Kluijver(1)
Having lived in Afghanistan for a long period of time and engaged in local political and cultural activities, in 2007 he brought two exploded car wrecks from Baghdad to Europe. One of the vehicles was then donated to the British artist Jeremy Deller for his project ‘It Is What It Is: Conversations about Iraq’ which traveled across the U.S. That wreck is now in the Imperial War Museum of London.
In the four parts of the interview, Kluijver discussed the origin and the itinerary of the wrecks from Baghdad to Europe as well as his views on politics and art. (Photo of RobertK in Baghdad, 2010 by Hatif Farhan. Courtesy : RobertK) (more…)
‘First we should ask : Why art ? Does art have any political value ? Does the contemporary art world has any influence on, let’s say, the course of global politics ? Or is it just like a kind of side alley, a kind of representation of contemporary geopolitics, without any reverse influence on the actual global situation?’ – RobertK, extract from the interview
“I would talk to my boss, head of the UN in Afghanistan, saying that we’re going the wrong way. But he said it’s me who was wrong because I’m Western and I only related to the Westernised Afghans that I like, but they’re only a small minority and that most Afghans are these conservative people. But historically the group that represents the future and that can pull the whole nation forward is always a small minority. So I thought this cultural elite should do a better job at representing themselves.” —- Robert Kluijver, extract from the interview
‘I think that art has some kind of seismographic function. A seismograph can register movements happening deep down in the Earth that may erupt. Artists have the same kind of sensibility : even if they themselves are not aware of it, they somehow express such undercurrents inside the so-called collective unconsciousness.’ –– RobertK, extract from the interview