Christophe Tisseyre Journaliste, rédacteur audiovisuel, Paris
Q:What have you done between the end of the Film Academy and Foxy Lady ?Cheyco Leidmann:To many things to mention.After a short academically sting I focused on exploring; living in Paris,Los Angeles,New York and traveling the world to get an understanding of art.This consolidated also my infatuation with outsiders and my interest in low life and sniffing out new rendencies.It helped me to showcase the diversity of my divergent interests reflecting the thoughts that have preoccupied me and reveal where I stand now.
Q:Could you list the movies you've been working on ?I wrote quite a few short film screenplays,the custom was to start a feature film with a single or more short subjects not longer than 10 minutes, and I wrote two for feature films. But my movie career never sized in the way I wanted it.I had to spend more time trying to get fundings than I spent creating the projects.The time than was characterized by financial hardship. This didn't work.Waiting is very unlike me.I decided to put my determination to do more books.Many people don't know the amount of work that goes in a book unless they have gone through the process.I allowed myself to built my own universe.
Q:What was the first picture/movie which gave you the desire to do that ? If not where does it come from ?
Stereotypical but fact: I got my first 8mm Bolex filmcamera inclusive cutting tools at the age of six.I was immediately mesmerized by pictures which move and the manipulation of them through editing.Later I saw movies which tattooed me, like 'Touch of Evil 'by Orson Welles amongst others.
Q:When and where did you meet Ypsitylla von Nazareth? Has she been involved in your work since then ?We met when I first saw Ypsitylla .Her first artistic collaboration with me was on 'Foxy Lady'. Gifted with stylistically and organizational abilities she than took responsibility of all the production procedures which followed, up to now.Ever since Ypsitylla has participated on my oeuvre of artistic work,connecting to the art world and keeping the machinery going.She also created her own works as an artist.
Q:During your different periods, you've alternated both photographing and filming.How do you choose film or print or do you have the need to express in both ways ? What's the difference ?There is no alternation between stills and film.Film is made of illusions so is the work I do.The question of choosing does not impose.A single image is a freezed film frame.There is no separation between reality and fantasy.It is all about confusing the mind.An undertow of the darkness.I use the photographic medium to address questions of truth or untruth and the psychological dimension of the photographic nature.In this sense there is no difference.
Q:To be simple, you've started with luxurious, glamorous images with top models and beautiful landscapes, which is the start of the "glam porn" to evolute to bloody, screamingly, and very rude representation of what you called "the war at our door". First, do you lose interest in something when you've done it ? Second, what pushes you to work against your natural sense of aesthetic ?
"Glam porn"does not label my work.I earned money by commercial assignments of all sorts,which I likened to prostitution since there was often unimaginativeness involved from those who paid, but it helped to be independently enough to finance my visions apart of markets,trends,fashions ,hunting-trophies,etc.I knew I had to develop a different sort of form.I cannot escape the dance between life and death which is always present by loosing interest on the contrary it clicks thousands of new ideas with a notion of how to get them in the right order.I started to combine two visions,the intrinsic aesthetics with visual values directing more in a sociological context.
Q:What does posterity mean to you ? Is it important ?Through what I am doing I have control over time.To be a vanguard is not always rewarding,but hopefully some footprints remain by having created some awareness and having shown the about-town life as I conceived it.That's the most I can wish for and maybe the future generation remembers that .If not: Ashes to ashes! That's it!
Q:You put yourself in danger while working, always on your own, in dangerous places. Is the credibility of your work involved ?Working on your own allows you to put emphasis on speed and efficiency.Some tension comes with the territory,sometimes it turns to the wrong direction but I am not a Kamikaze.Yet violence is my persistent underlying tendency.Craziness does not exclude credibility.
Q:In all you've done, from your very personal work to commercials you made for money, where is the balance ? Do you think you're a whore who sells its talents for commercial purposes ?
I stopped commercial films because it was too industrial,too much crews to oversee,too many compromises to finally archive 70% positive results.I stopped commercial work altogether.I was creating more and more under more pressure,it was suffocatiing.I decided to put my energy into my commitment and my own opinion.Now money is entirely secondary to my work although I made my own business agreement that keeps me working.Slavishness is out of my system.My focus has shifted to a more dynamic process,to a fascinating and bizarre oddity between beauty and destruction which I call 'toxyttism'.