“New” is a bad criteria for quality

Recently someone complained that my book on the Stasi images was already three years old and therefore might not be of great interest anymore. This is precisely the thinking that keeps me from mentioning any creation dates for my projects on my website. First of all, let’s look at the Stasi project. Many of these images – if not all – are over thirty years old, most of them had been in the archive for twenty year without anyone taking notice and then the three years, since my publication makes them loose their value and importance? That seems strange to me.

We all know the hunt for the new, that might in part be fueled by an ever faster new circle. But it feels wrong to me, if this takes a hold in the art world. I know of course that many art works do not age well and do in fact loose their relevance after some time. But three years seems quite a short life span.

Personally I don’t really care about how old a certain of works is, what matters to me is if it still has relevance for my artistic process right now. How does it go together with my newest ideas? Sure, after some time I loose interest in the things I have done earlier, but still since many of my works share a common underlying topic, an older project might still be valuable to a new one. And sometimes old projects become gain in importance due to the creation of something new.

This is why I do not want to participate in this game of “how old is it”. Sometimes I am forced to participate, but I try to avoid it.