‘Anyone who brews beer as art will need to explain a thing or two…to his father for instance.’ Thus reads the introduction to a filmed conversation between artist Arno Coenen and his father, in which the former tries to clarify his art, in vain it turns out.
Hilarious and tender, the 12-minute film is one of a series of documentary shorts entitled ‘How To Explain It To My Parents’, in which abstract artists attempt explain to their mom and dad what their work is about. The series is compiled and directed by Lernert Engelberts (1977) and Sander Plug (1969), aka Lernert & Sander, a creative duo whose art needs little explanation.
In less than a decade, Amsterdam-based Lernert & Sander have carved out a niche for themselves with their oblique and enlightening observations on the world. Moving effortlessly to and fro between high-conceptual art and commercial advertising, they are active in the fields of fashion, film, photography and design.
But no matter what their medium or product, their thought-provoking and immaculately crafted work is always laced with a healthy dose of dry wit. A good illustration is their perfume brand. They collected samples of the hundreds of fragrances launched one year and blended them all together to create a 1.5-litre bottle of their own perfume, which they aptly labelled ‘Everything’. Their point being, it’s getting difficult to tell so many products apart. ‘But, hey, Everything is not for everyone,’ they explained to the Huffington Post.
Besides all the awards, honours and accolades that have befallen them, they have the proud distinction of being blogged by luminaries as unexpected as Perez Hilton and Oprah Winfrey. No greater compliment.