SPIEGEL Magazine: Andy Kassier Interviewed for Harvard Business Manager

Published 03 May 2021 in Press

SPIEGEL

"I've hijacked millions of smartphones as a GIF"

By Verena Töpper

SPIEGEL Magazine - Careers

Published 01 May 2021


Andy Kassier knows only one good motive as an artist: himself. In his role as a narcissist, he adorns magazine covers and clears Tinder. Who is the man? A phone call in South Africa.

A man rides a white horse in skin-tight white jeans and a bare torso, his bare feet dangling only a few centimeters above the white sand. Behind him the sea shimmers in shades of blue and turquoise. Next to it just a word "I".

"Admittedly, this cover could be our most provocative so far," writes the "Harvard Business Manager", which is published by SPIEGEL-Verlag. “But the world's largest study of narcissism was screaming for a visual hit.” Who is the man who embodies a narcissist so perfectly? His name is Andy Kassier and he works as a concept artist. We reached him in South Africa. He answers the video call in a white shirt and shiny gold teardrop glasses, a curl falls over his forehead.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Kassier, are we going to talk to the fictional character or the conceptual artist?

Andy Kassier: Nobody knows exactly where the line is. That's the exciting thing.

SPIEGEL: Did you get dressed up especially for the interview, or is that your private look too?

Kassier: In principle, I only wear white shirts, that's just practical. The glasses are from Etienne Aigner, I bought them second-hand for 20 euros and then had them re-gilded. I like such old racks. And the hair is just like that. I have to go to the hairdresser again.

Photo: Andy Kassier

Andy Kassier (born 1989) lives and works full-time as a concept artist in Berlin. His work includes installations, performances, photography, videos, sculptures and painting. He completed his studies in media arts in 2018 with distinction at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne. In 2013 he created his alter ego Andy Kassier, who ironically breaks the narrative of wealth and happiness in late capitalist society. He is continuously developing the long-term performance on Instagram and in international solo and group exhibitions.

SPIEGEL: As an artist, you only seem to know one really good motive: yourself. When did you fall in love with yourself?

Kassier: At the beginning of my art studies. Even then, I was fascinated by Cindy Sherman. I wanted to shoot a large series of male roles, but none of my pictures were usable. Only one off-shot was successful, on which I stood in front of a white wall. So my series began with the figure of the businessman. In 2013 I uploaded the first pictures to Instagram. Since then, the narrative has changed.

SPIEGEL: To what extent?

Kassier: Back then, the businessman was primarily interested in money, displaying wealth and belonging to the "rich kids of instagram". Then he got burned out. There is a picture in which he goes into the sea in the evening, in the dark. Half a year later he comes out again. And since then he has been a fan of yoga, meditation and spirituality.

SPIEGEL: And a fan of motivational speech sleeves. A photo shows him under a waterfall, underneath it says: "Be flexible like water, and falling will not hurt", be as flexible as water, then falling won't hurt. Do you make up these sayings yourself?

Kassier (laughs): Sleeves is a funny word for it! My art is a reflection of what is really there on Instagram. All this hype about yoga and self-knowledge, these motivational sayings, that exists. As with any joke, there is always a bit of truth in it. I get inspiration, but I don't copy anything. That would be boring.