Art… bleeds. DAve SChweitzer paints portraits with contaminated blood

“We urgently need a slap in the face: aids still exists and is still lethal”

“These are Patrick and Bart,” says SChweitzer, as he points to two paintings drying on the floor. Deep red lines and figures seem to wrestle each other on a white background, until an abstract portrait arises. “I wanted to get attention for the HIV issue in another way. Not through numbers, statistics and pamphlets. Here it is clear that it’s about real people. I talk with the donors, get to know them and make their “internal”, abstract portrait. I also made a painting with my own, negative, blood. The question is: Can you tell the difference when you look at them? Of course not. It is a way to call for not stigmatizing people with HIV and aids.”

To the critics that claim that SChweitzer capitalizes on the backs of sick people: “All of the donors, and their families and friends, are very pleased with the project. We made clear arrangements. But when a painting is sold, the money is for the artist. If your toilet is broken and you call a plumber, who do you pay? What I give to a good cause on my private time is my own concern.”

Is this shock art? “If people are shocked, so be it. At least they will talk about the subject,” says SChweitzer. “And that’s more than necessary. To hear that someone claims to be having safe sex because she’s taking the birth control pill, makes the hairs on my neck stand up.”