Andreas Hykade on receiving the Golden Dinosaur
In this interview, Andreas Hykade reveals why he's proud to win the Golden Dinosaur and how his work evolved over the years.
Your first film, "We lived in grass", already showcased a very minimalistic stripped-down style and your latest one, "Nuggets," has - in the meantime, even become more reduced - a symbolical parable. Which leads me to ask: Where your future work headed?
I started out with pure realism. When I was 16 years old, I painted hundreds of "King Ludwig II" in hyper-realistic style. But when I started with animation, I realized that I would needed legions of people to execute ideas in hyperrealism. And so I went on the way of abstraction and I found out that the more abstract you get, the more space is left for the audience. And I really enjoy that the audience has to do something with that space! Besides that, it's less work. So where does it lead to, finally? It will lead to all the forms in between, but a certain ideal is that there's nothing on the screen and everything in the minds and in the heads of the people.
That's a huge responsibility you put on the viewer there!
I don't know if it's a huge responsibility, it's more about creating a space, and it's up to the audience to fill that space or not. I don't really think it's a responsibility, because I observe that people that don't want to connect with the film - they won't connect with it. You can't force an audience to do anything, I think.
And what about the archaic, sort of deterministic spirit that lingers in some of your movies. Is that your take on life itself or an artistic choice?
There are two aspects. One is the content side. From my experience you can best tell the things you know about. So I try to connect with that and I have to say I think there's a need for that. Lots of things we see are based on some kind of market research - that's why I think you need some sort of element that connects to personal experience. About the archaic symbols: This has to do with abstraction as well! It's a long process to eliminate all the elements so what's left has to be filled with the most specific meaning and the most important meaning. Everything you see should mean something.
How far does the artist influence the teaching - how far is teaching and being an artist compatible?
To really be a devoted artist, you need a lot of time, so there is a conflict between being teaching and your own work. On the other hand, there is a certain kind of influence of the teaching on the work, where the artist can benefit. I benefitted from the teaching. First of all, I got rid of the commercial work. Teaching - to give some pure spirit of the next generation - is a good substitute for the commercial work. And then I found that because of the teaching I had to reflect on the medium, which had an impact on the work, because the work became more reflective, even though I tried to keep both things really separated from one another. Right now I'm in a different situation - I'm now the head of the Animationsinstitut, which is really time-consuming for me, so I cannot keep my artistic work out of that process. So I started the experiment where I slowly, consciously connect certain things in my work as an artist to the teaching process.
What are the core principles you try to communicate with your teaching?
There are three words that I would like to communicate. Those words are relevance, intensity and originality - there should be something unusual we can relate to, because we see so many stuff and go through so many virtual experiences … there should be something that makes the audience involved.
How far is your judgment as a teacher influenced by the taste of the artist? Are the two ever separable?
The ideas that are brought to the table are always looking for a way of expression. And you can only go along with the idea, bring it to bloom. If this happens successfully, the result will be vital and strong - and personal taste has nothing to do with that. And if the projects turn out to be vital and strong, they suddenly become the stuff that you really want to watch! You see, I really like to watch the Švankmajer, the Phil Mulloy and I really like to watch the Pixar - but only the really good ones.
What does it mean to you personally that you receive the "Golden Dinosaur" not only for your artistic career, but also for your achievements in teaching?
It really means a lot to me. You see, there were only two awards that made me jump for joy - the first time I was jumping for joy was for the first award I ever received for one of my movies, and the second time is this particular distinction. That's because it came exactly at the right time, exactly at the right place. First of all, it came from Poland - and I recently had the opportunity to breathe in some Polish spirit - so I know that a compliment from that side has got some real relevance. Second of all, it will encourage me as a teacher in the decisions I've made and will make. So I'm looking forward to come over and meet Poland!
The interview was conducted by Marie Ketzscher