The Proust Questionnaire: Max Dean
The Proust Questionnaire started as a Late Victorian parlour game, aimed at revealing key aspects of a person’s character. While still in his teens, author Marcel Proust answered a similar series of questions with such enthusiasm that, when the manuscript containing his original answers was discovered in 1924, his name became permanently associated with this type of informal interview. This is a modified version of the original questionnaire.
Max Dean is an artist who works with ideas, concepts and emotions visually. His kinetic and interactive sculptural installations are exhibited and collected internationally. Trained as an art historian, Dean’s work reflects his comfort and ingenuity in working and mixing both digital and analog technologies. One of his best-known artworks, The Robotic Chair, a generic-looking wooden chair with the capacity to fall apart and put itself back together, was featured as part of Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry touring exhibition “Robot Revolution”. Max is the recipient of the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts.
Your earliest memory of art:
Standing on the sidewalk outside a commercial gallery in West Vancouver, I was 15.
When did you know this would become your vocation:
I was 14.
Your greatest influence:
Occupation you would have chosen other than art:
Hanging out with Martha and sleeping.
Who isn't my favourite artist?
Favourite writer and musician:
Jeanette Winterson and Paul Auster; John Butler's "Ocean".
Favourite Food and Drink:
Hamburgers, coffee and beer.
Favourite Smell and Sound:
Salt water, sound of waves on the shore.
Objects are vessels – it is what we choose to fill these objects with that intrigues me. It is the value that we invest in objects that engages me.
Favourite weather or season:
Sunshine and summer.
Definition of happiness:
Hanging out on a beach with Martha, drinking beer and making work.
Ideal place to live:
A recurring dream:
To keep on making.
To keep learning and have fun.
To me art is:
Something that pushes back.
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