Voo Visits: Dennis Buck

Located on Leipziger Straße, Dennis Bucks’ studio window reads a note saying “Dennis Buck hates to paint”. The German artist doesn’t take himself too seriously, creating art that is both playful and critical. With his paintings, Buck bags or brand collaborations, Dennis Buck moves across different creative fields, challenging ideas of self-expression with a wink.


For this episode we talked to the artist about his creative work, communication and a family member’s shared love for silicone.

Voo Visits: Dennis Buck

Voo Visits is a series introducing new and old friends of Voo, like-minded creatives and people from Berlin who inspire us.

Voo Store: Your creative work is very diverse reaching across different mediums and materials. How did that happen?

Dennis Buck: Out of necessity in a way. In 2015 I was in Los Angeles for the first time and kind of underestimated living costs in the US. I couldn’t really pay for oil tubes, linen, stretcher bars and everything else. So I went to Home Depot, looked for other options and bought some plastic foil and silicone, materials I knew from working construction with my Dad when I was a teenager.

V: Because your Dad actually works with silicone as well, although in the context of construction and housing. Does working with the same material influence your relationship?

D: When I walk into the garage/storage at my Dad’s, it smells like my studio (even more intense) and also like my childhood. The smell of silicone has always been there - either he smelled like it, or we drove somewhere in the construction car and took the smell with us. Nowadays, because his knowledge about the material succeeds mine by far, I always call him when I have technical questions.

“I like when art is approachable. It can be everything else too, but I like when it’s not exclusive and elite and there is something for everyone."

V: Your art is very straight forward, it seems very ‘what you see is what you get’ on first glance but it’s actually very layered and goes way deeper. It’s fun but it’s also critical.

D: I like when art is approachable. It can be everything else too, but I like when it’s not exclusive and elite - it can include all of these things in different layers, so that in the end there is something for everyone.
Producing work is very intense, the materials are messy and sometimes annoying to work with, and I frequently don’t exactly know what the finished piece will look like. So it’s very nerve wrecking and exhausting sometimes. The part I enjoy most is the part when the work is done, when there is something new in my studio and I can look at it.

V: You also just finished an exhibition with Super Super Markt, a project based in Berlin that aims to make art more accessible. What do you think about art and accessibility?

D: I think Rory and Julius of Super Super Markt do a great job with their curation, which helps the project a lot. If talented artists are not on board with your project, even the best idea to make art more accessible won’t work because you need the quality to move forward.
On a much larger scale, it would help a lot if museums started to be free of charge, because owning something doesn’t necessarily mean accessibility.

V: Your art often features wording, whether it’s a statement or your name. What role does communication play in your work and how do you feel about communication these days?

D: It’s important, but it’s also a question of how you want to communicate. Different ideas need diverse methods of communication. My most recent work evolves around short memories and sometimes I wonder if there needs to be more information around them in order to create more context. Some days I tend to think yes, but most of the time I like them how they stand there. On their own. The lack of communication is as important as the presence of communication. Then again, a lack of communication is also communication, just on a different level.

V: With your Buck bags and other collaborations you regularly step into fashion. What is it like navigating both the art and fashion space?

D: Working with handbags was a nice experience. It gave me the opportunity to collaborate with so many different people. When you paint, you paint: it sits on a wall and maybe there’s a picture being taken of the work by someone else that hopefully represents the painting as real as it gets. With the bags it’s different. I made them and later worked closely together with my friend Venus Nemitz, thinking about how to present them more in a fashion-y, and less in a sculptural way. So we placed them and shot editorials. It was a lot of fun and a nice experience of giving away work and decisions to people who’s work you also like and hopefully end up with a result everybody is happy with.

V: While we are chatting I see a gift bag sitting in your window saying Republic of Albania Prime Minister. What’s the story behind that?

D: I have an art work hanging in the prime minister’s office and was later invited with a group of artists, architects, musicians and business people to have dinner with Edi Rama. He’s actually also an artist (being represented by a Berlin Gallery and took part at Venice Biennale in 2017) and still has an artistic practise. The whole trip was beautiful and I can’t wait to be back in Albania.

V: Any upcoming projects, fun and things you’d like to share?

D: Haha projects yes, but I can’t share them now.

V: Did you call Oma?

D: Yes, yes, I have too, otherwise she gets mad. :)