May 2020

6 posts

You have been dealing with the identity of Europe in your pictures for over 30 years. What is it that fascinates you as an artist about Europe?

Europe is a vital factor in order to maintain peace not only in Europe, between the European nation-states, but also to set an example for the world for developments without armed conflicts. Boundless togetherness, boundless thinking and boundless exchange are expressions of a culture of balance.
Europe is the continent of women’s emancipation. Europe stands for democracy, even if there are still dictatorial nation-states here. Right now Europe is very much at risk. Intolerance, xenophobia, reviving fascist ideas, economic wars, increasing inequality and redistribution through strong neoliberalism are factors that are shaking the foundations of European agreements. Europe must defend the credibility of its fundamental values, otherwise it has no future.
Culturally, we Europeans have been shaped for centuries by a will to form that arose from Christian iconography. We can only tell ourselves ethical and moral ideas with very specific images and figures, we can only develop visions from our history, our past shapes our present and our future. Art images and images of the future, documentaries about the present, always revolve around our European view of the world. I would like to support this continent, which bears the name of a woman, with my work in the search for identity. I deliberately refer to the tradition of painting and drawing, I trust my hands and very simple traditional handcrafted means, brushes and colors, align myself with the great masters of Europe (Goya, Cranach,

ANTOINETTE

“Many women shy away from bringing what they do to the public”

ANTOINETTE

On the occasion of 100 years of women’s suffrage in Germany, you have created a hundred life-size portraits of important European women since 2014. How did you choose the women and what is behind this project?

In order to fathom European identity, it was important to me to take a close look at the creative power of women, who have only been voting, exercising professions and participating in society on an equal footing for 100 years. Before they were underage wives, completely dependent on the decisions of the men, they had to put their own talents on hold. Until then, they were forbidden from developing their own public life. They were married and from then on all their creativity, all their courage, all of their individual vitality applied only to the family. More than a millennium of patriarchy had turned women and children into secondary beings that could be suppressed. To illustrate the outstanding positions that women in Europe have conquered in this short period of time, over the past 100 years, I came up with the idea of ​​painting life-size portraits of outstanding women. I got recommendations from various newspaper publishers. I have motivated teams of women to work in several countries, who have consulted with each other on which women have made a special contribution to social development. From this a special network of committed women has developed.

Which woman particularly impressed you and why?

All women impressed me. I myself have been constantly confronted with new perspectives and have always been able to look at female existence from a completely new perspective. It was an incredibly intense journey through being a woman. From a board member with personnel responsibility for more than 10,000 people, to a Catholic nun who saves young women and children in Africa from prostitution, from a famous Austrian actress to a scientist who is the greatest money laundering expert in the world and can give the courts instructions , from the first female politician in the Italian Tyrol to a woman who grew up in Poland and who now runs an American company, from a Jewish woman, who survived the concentration camp in Germany and is now one of the leading psychoanalysts in the USA, to a scientist who builds models that clearly show how the climate will change over the next few years, I am always up for it new ones emerged completely impressed from every encounter. I have now finished more than 60 of the life-size portraits. Many women shy away from bringing their exciting activities to the public themselves. Doing great work in the background is still a typically feminine attitude. What they do is stunningly impressive. I have now finished more than 60 of the life-size portraits. Many women shy away from bringing their exciting activities to the public themselves. Doing great work in the background is still a typically feminine attitude. What they do is stunningly impressive. I have now finished more than 60 of the life-size portraits. Many women shy away from bringing their exciting activities to the public themselves. Doing great work in the background is still a typically feminine attitude. What they do is stunningly impressive.

ANTOINETTE

How is her perception as an artist: What about equality in the art scene?

Is there equality in the fine arts? – I mean no. Especially not in my generation. Point.

You see yourself as a representative of the “Leipzig School”. What do you think are the most important characteristics of this trend in modern painting?

Personally, I describe the Leipzig School as a phase in which one has studied the fundamental craft of painting and drawing extensively. The prerequisites were highly interesting masters, Heisig, Tübke, Mattheuer, who were able to build up an enormous field of tension with different but well-founded doctrines, between which as a student you could not only orientate yourself, but also have to find yourself. In the 80s the dictatorial aspect had already faded a bit, and these “masters” were able to create an atmosphere, at least in Leipzig, which posed great challenges in terms of quality, but also not only allowed free and creative associations, but desired them. It wasn’t about marketing instead, one repeatedly questioned one’s artistic tasks and positions and was in close contact with the audience. There was a real public need for art, it was about identity and freedom. That was a challenge.
During this time I learned and started to conquer my current knowledge and resources. I got the master class from B. Heisig.

ANTOINETTE

From 7.2.2020 a soirèe for painting and drawing will start in your studio in Leipzig Plagwitz, followed by a school, which you can finish with a certificate at the end of the year. What do you want to teach aspiring artists – beyond handicrafts?

Get to know each other and use the exchange for your own development.
Get to know new aspects of viewing art.
To find support in one’s own abilities.
Develop talent, discover your own.
Train your eyes and sight in order to be able to use colors more consciously.
Intensify your own awareness.
Bringing sensation and color into relation.
Decipher messages from nature so that you can use them as messages yourself.
Study the laws of primal knowledge about beauty and relate them to the cosmic laws.
Understand connections.
To better understand art in general.
Investigate everyday conditioning such as “taste”.

ANTOINETTE

What are your artistic plans for the future? Will Europe and the role of women continue to be important themes in your work?

In addition to school, I of course continue to work on all subjects, very important: the
myth of Europe. About the identity of Europe.
Women will also remain extremely interesting for me, after all, it is also about my own identity. The face / portrait of the woman Europe developed from the theme of the myth of the continent of Europe. Then the big work on the altar began: huge drawings, only with pencil on paper, Madonnas, guardians of the seven days of the week, under which a 20 m long paper band of drawings, also only with pens, describes the alternative truths and above them a 20 m long Paper tape with pencil drawings: the solution to freedom. 4 more side panels are still in progress and are waiting for my ideas.

A huge oeuvre that could fill several museums, including the 20 m long and 6 m high altar made of pencil drawings are waiting for the public. That is why it will remain important to find new organizational partners with whom I can implement these projects.

ANTOINETTE

Many artists know many artists. And that’s a good thing – for the common network. In the case of artists who are not yet well established on the market, this often means that in addition to personal friends and relatives, only or at least predominantly other artists visit the vernissage. But how do you actually get to other target groups? And which target groups could that be?

What is a target audience?

Any kind of art automatically attracts a certain kind of people because of a certain common characteristic. For example, all new grandparents could be a target group for portrait artists. Because these grandparents might want to have a portrait of their new grandchild. Of course, that doesn’t mean that your own art is only aimed at a single target group. Nor does it mean that all members of this target group actually like your kind of art. After all, it doesn’t mean that completely different people outside of the targeted target groups don’t feel addressed by your art – or a certain work of art. In general, however, it is definitely worth looking outside the box.

Why are target groups important?

Once you have identified target groups for your art, you can also target your advertising. First, consider where you can find your target group and how you can reach them with your appropriately targeted advertising. You can then align your advertising both in terms of content and style. You can even consider which exhibition locations are suitable for addressing this target group personally.

How do I find my target groups?

This is not a trivial question, because many different factors play a role. The art you make may attract a lot of attention, but due to the format sizes it is not suitable for the living room. Or maybe you already had a small fan base who liked to buy from you, but now that you are establishing yourself more and more and the prices continue to rise, your previous fan base can no longer keep up financially. When you have found a gallery, it becomes a little easier, because the gallery itself already has specific target groups in mind or already has a fixed circle of buyers and thinks that you fit in quite well. If you are not represented by any gallery, you have no choice but to simply try out different approaches with possible target groups.

How do I do this?

A good tip on my part is always: Do research with other artists(who might do something similar to you). Take a look at their websites & social media accounts, talk to them personally and ask them how they do it. The artist network mentioned above is good for this! Also, listen carefully when you talk to others about your art. This can be exhibition visitors, but also friends and relatives. Their feedback can give you valuable information about how your art works, or also about what it does. You should also have at least a basic basic knowledge of successful marketing. Because the best tips are of no use to you if you don’t implement them in such a way that others become curious. You can find some helpful information about self-marketing here in the Sommer arts Blog, when you click on “Marketing & Organization” in the category menu on the homepage

Which art in which workplace?

Art not only has to hang in museums, galleries and living rooms, it can also play a role in the workplace. But there is no job. If we want to find out how art and everyday working life are related in the , we have to differentiate. Certainly, for example, no nude photographs should hang in doctors’ treatment rooms. Or in a hectic office corridor, it doesn’t make sense to exhibit highly sensitive paper works. It is therefore worth taking a closer look at the respective work environment.

How do I choose the right workplace for an exhibition?

The following criteria can play a role: Is the art seen primarily by employees or also by the company’s customers? Should the art rather enrich the everyday life of the employees or does the company create a higher attractiveness for existing and new customers through the exhibited art? In the first case it is important how big the company is, in the second case the composition of the company’s target group.

These simple preliminary considerations will help you decide whether or not to offer an exhibition of your paintings or sculptures to a company. (Yes, exactly, you read that right: YOU offer it to the company and not the other way around!) In any case, I strongly advise against applying wherever you see art in the workplace or you can see it. In countless doctor’s offices and cafes there are pictures of artists who wish to be noticed – but unfortunately the opposite is often the case. When visiting a doctor’s office, for example, most patients primarily have their illness in mind and they often do not notice the art on the wall more or less than the selection of magazines in the waiting room.

Study of art in German offices

Interesting information on the subject of art and the workplace provides a recently published study carried out on behalf of OnePoll for the office equipment company Viking. The aim here was to find out how much art objects are already represented in the workplace and what people might hope for from art in the workplace. A small area of ​​more or less general art knowledge was also asked to see to what extent these people had already dealt with art. In principle, the survey took place across all sectors, with a large proportion assigned to the education system or trade.

In summary, it can be said that most of the respondents do not find any art at work, but that the majority would definitely rate the presence of art there positively. In the opinion of the respondents, this could increase creativity and productivity and have a calming effect. A total of 72.9% explicitly want art in the workplace. The interviewers were “shocked” when they found that the majority of those questioned (especially the younger generations) could not assign a number of famous paintings to the respective creator (unfortunately no creator) despite their great interest in art. (As communicated to me in an email dated January 24th, 2019) Perhaps this also explains the fact that the majority of those questioned would prefer to see photo art or landscape paintings, because as a “non-art connoisseur” one is most likely to feel an emotional connection.

How can you use this knowledge for yourself?

Even where you don’t expect art experts to be, art unfolds its pleasant effect on people. So there are always new areas that you can tap into if you align your marketing to (d) a, perhaps new, target group. Do not hope for the passing customers of “just any” café, but rather exhibit on the walls of a larger company, where your works of art are seen every day by the same employees and superiors and maybe warm one or the other heart over the course of a few weeks. Of course, a café can also be a great exhibition space – if you don’t save time and money there, do proper advertising for yourself and organize a vernissage for you with a lot of regular customers.

Anyone who makes art must also be able to present themselves in writing. And if you write, you also have to think about language.In some cases, this can go far beyond simple questions of spelling and grammar. So today’s article is a little less about art itself than about linguistic questions. More precisely about inclusive language. Coincidentally, many years ago I completed a linguistic degree with a focus on linguistics. Even then, I was very interested in feminist linguistics and how women appear in language. I could never describe myself as a student, artist, resident, etc. It seems strange to me to use a masculine form for myself. I do not want to present the whole topic in detail at this point, nor do I want to discuss it in detail. Who is interested in I am happy to have a private exchange with me. Today I would just like to introduce you to a few possibilities how you can practice inclusive language – and I will partly evaluate these presented possibilities personally.

headlines

“For the sake of better readability, the use of male and female forms of speech is not used. All personal names apply to both genders. “

In this way or similar, I often read a note in front of longer texts in which the masculine form is used almost exclusively. Strangely enough, this option is also mostly used by male scribes. Personally, I consider this possibility to be the worst – if I want to accept it as such at all … It feels like a carelessly thrown note that resembles a legal disclaimer. To put it quickly, you don’t have to worry about it afterwards and you are fine. For me, this variant does not change anything in the subjective perception that I am missing feminine forms in the following and that I do not feel addressed.

Headings (1)

“I was very happy about the large number of visitors to my vernissage.”

Just as I am addressing the “ladies AND gentlemen” in the introduction to a speech, for reasons of courtesy I consider it appropriate to address both genders specifically in other contexts if I want to reach them emotionally as an artist. Disadvantage: It can make some texts or individual formulations appear cumbersome and drawn out a lot, especially if several personal names are piling up one after the other.

Headings (2)

“I was very happy about the many visitors at my vernissage.”

In the early phase of the discussion about the inclusive naming of both sexes, this form was found quite often. Today it is no longer really up-to-date, mainly because the women look like an appendage. I can therefore not recommend this option.

Headings (3)

“I was very happy about the large number of visitors to my vernissage.”

Next came the use of the large Inner-I . First of all at universities, it already caught on in the 1990s. Today you see it less, mainly because the intellectual development and with it the practice of inclusion has taken another step forward (see next possibility).

Headings (4)

“I was very happy about the many visitors at my vernissage.”

For some time this has Gender Gap (Engl. Gender = Gender Gap = gap) spread. One takes into account here that the terms “man” and “woman” are social genders, but alongside or in between there are many other possibilities for one’s own gender identity. If you want to find out more about it here:

Headings (5)

“I was very happy about the many visitors at my vernissage.”

Another variant, which is not only very similar to the previous one, but is more or less the same, is the Gender Star or Asterisk. Since I only found out about this spelling in the last few months, I asked the blogger Sabine Küster , who uses it, if she can tell me more about it. I received the following reason: “… because the star-dusted also want to be taken.” Well, I have to say, that is the best argument for me and I will switch to starlets in the future! 🙂 (But there are probably other good reasons too … 😉)

Headings (6)

“I was very happy about the many guests at my vernissage. There was a lot of laughter . Hilda Meier gave an engaging speech. Those who make art themselves (instead of “other artists”) could get a lot of ideas here. You felt good and stayed until midnight. “

After all, the German language offers a variety of completely different possibilities: “man”, possibly “woman”, generally formulated passive sentences, naming, paraphrasing, neutral formulations.) That requires – admittedly – a very conscious use of language and it may take time a little longer until the text is finished. If you want to be even more precise, you can turn “who” into “which”. There are many opportunities…

Headings (7)

A last option is to use different variants (I personally prefer 2, 3, 6 and 7) alternately and thus ensure a good mixture. However, one should not switch back and forth between variants 3, 4, 5 and 6; it looks better here if you decide on a variant. In general, however, good text work requires that sentence structure and formulations are used in a varied manner. The desired effect is when the text creates a reading flow that does not even tempt the reader to think big about the form, but when it simply works through strong content.

A guest contribution by Achim Schmacks

The corona crisis is bringing artists to their knees

The Corona crisis has brought quite a few artists to their knees. The omission of exhibitions, sponsoring, fees and customers let some artists in the independent scene run out of steam.

Emergency aid programs do not work or are distributed with the watering can, here too the dry spell is long.

In my producer gallery BLACKOFFICE in Düsseldorf I have had to cancel three exhibitions and postpone them until next year. Postponed is not canceled, but the artists planned for the first half of 2021 will continue to be postponed. We can push, but not make up for everything. Likewise, we cannot make up for the loss of sales, discussions and contacts; many things that are missing cannot be made up for. We don’t catch up, we have to tie on, pick up and continue knitting.

Who invests in art?

The 2009 economic crisis had already had a negative impact on the art scene. Even there, the money was no longer easy, it was saved and invested in other things. Who invests in art?

People invest in art who want to use it to increase money. You buy art that promises an increase in value because we live in times of constant increase, and there seems to be no turning back.

Now there is a turning back! The corona crisis not only has Germany firmly under control, the whole planet has been covered by a pandemic, but the consequences for free artists are only known to a limited extent.

How can I help? A call to museums in cities and districts

Freelance artists are the caregivers of the cultural scene, they turn the wheel day after day – both before, during and after the crisis. Free artists are indispensable in a free, modern society.

I call on the museums of the cities and districts to exhibit their artists. Show your artists, open up your rooms and create space.

Offers artists a platform, opens museums and municipal galleries for their own artists, opens a virtual umbrella, a rescue umbrella for artists, unconditionally, but also as an alternative to the marginal and one-off cash support currently being discussed, which is distributed completely aimlessly and for purposes other than intended.

Don’t leave your cultural workers out in the rain!

How is that supposed to be possible? Quite simply, lists are requested from the cultural offices and professional associations from artists who work freelance, are members or have artist IDs. These artists are invited to present their work publicly in rooms that are usually not accessible to the majority of the artists. Museums and municipal galleries show artists from the city, district or region throughout Germany for a set period of time. This first event is financed by cities, the federal government, the state and sponsors. All exhibitions are freely accessible and with free admission.

Artists are an important part of society

Artists do not live and work for one-off payments, artists are not petitioners in offices, artists are an important part of society, an open society that, without culture and art, loses most of its education, understanding, ethics and zest for life.

Artists working to show their work need a platform to generate new ideas. Artists work in and for society.

Artists deserve more credit

If the artists are to be helped, then my suggestion would be a first step. The first step can be so simple and effective. This step would be recognition of a profession and a calling. Artists, free artists, live in a constant prejudice of bohemian and work-shy. Today’s artists are far from it. Marketing tools, social media and a society that demands more and more and is less and less enthusiastic call for a complete reorientation of the artists. Today the artist deals more and more with self-marketing, time for his own art and ideas often fall by the wayside. Exhibition venues are hotly contested, own projects and work spaces are becoming too expensive.

Artists live in a hamster wheel

Very few protagonists in the independent art scene receive invitations to exhibitions and participation in presentations, usually they have to torment themselves through long application phases and often pay for them. Exhibition rooms are rented out, art agents and brokers offer themselves at top prices. Times in which artists bring their works to museums, purchases are made and the artist lives happily from patrons are long gone and rarely to be found. The artist fights for recognition, attention and exhibition opportunities, he fights for studio space, a place in society and also a place in the museum. The latter is only granted to a few, because the museums block themselves, exhibit highly endowed artists and works and want to offer spectacular,

A rescue parachute for art!

Art should stay on the carpet in our time, a time full of existential fear, uncertainty and a lack of visions for the future. Take the fear away from artists, roll out the red carpet for them, for a society that is valued and envied for its culture and artists worldwide. Open the umbrella, the reserve for art, make room in your houses, offer space for art, space for artists and space for a society that is interested in its artists again.

Art therapy: “I can no longer hear it …!”

The other day I was at a working meeting in preparation for a joint exhibition. I was greeted warmly and asked if I was well again. “Yes,” I was happy to report and then told a little more about my last year of the disaster, in which for six months I was not only unable to paint because of incredible pain, but also hardly could do anything else. And I also told about how much art gives my life a secure hold; how much I played a decisive role on the path to recovery during this long period of illness, in which I struggled with myself and my body. Everyone present was happy with me. But then something irritated me …

One in the group talked about a visit to a group exhibition where he had a conversation with one of the participating artists and then said: “I can no longer hear it! I am constantly getting to know new artists who tell me how they found art through art therapy.”

What is behind this statement?

Is it the tiredness of personal fate stories? Is it an aversion to strangers getting directly personal? Is it the claim that art has to be art and not “just” a therapy result? Is therapy art art at all?

I would like to bring some clarity to the discussion here and also dispel prejudices.

– Is it the tiredness of personal fate stories?

Most of the time, stories are particularly interesting if they are either unique and therefore special. When you experience something that you rarely come into contact with in your own life. When you have the feeling that they are taking place far away from you and then you develop a certain kind of childlike admiration for the protagonist. If there is also very special art involved, the WOW effect is even greater. Perhaps the best example here is Vincent van Gogh. We love his art, we love his story.

Or stories are particularly interesting when, on the contrary, they are very close to you. When you recognize yourself or something of yourself in it. If you can even learn something from them, if at best they give you courage.

Conversely, this means that a story is of no interest if it is not unique but arbitrary. Or if, instead of a role model, I see a chilling example in it.

– Is it an aversion to strangers becoming directly personal?

Yes. You can answer this question very quickly. Because you don’t always want to deal with personal fate when you actually “only” wanted to visit an exhibition. Or maybe it’s the artist himself who at first glance just doesn’t seem likeable enough to get personal right away. Perhaps the intention of visiting the exhibition was also to distract oneself from one’s own problems and not to come across similar life issues that one has to deal with oneself. Anyway, it might just be the wrong story in the wrong place at the wrong time.

– Is it the claim that art has to be art and not “just” a therapy result? Is therapy art art at all?

These questions are the hardest to answer because they are the least trivial. What is art Opinions differ on this. While some argue with “talent” and “proper training”, others speak of “art for everyone” and “art as a way of life”. I think these are two very different approaches. And I think that in most cases both more or less flow together and you don’t always – maybe never? – can separate from each other.

Art as medicine

Many artists describe the beneficial effects of art or the creation of art. Because, in contrast to handicraft, art is not primarily a purely mechanical action aimed at a specific and reproducible result. The creativity and the creative process have a lot to do with the unique nature of the artist. This inner being can be healthy or sick (in the pathological sense!). Art can therefore in principle also be created by a person suffering from (perhaps depression). And those who are sick may also benefit from art therapy. Whether this therapy then serves as the initial spark for a subsequent artistic career should not play a role in the subsequent assessment of the works of art, I believe.

Praise to contemporary psychotherapy

I think it is much more important to positively emphasize how extremely effective therapists are nowadays! Anyone who comes out of therapy as a strengthened person and has found something (in this case about art) that has a lasting positive effect on further life has gained a lot! How nice that there are so many and when so many talk about it that some people find it “annoying”!

Whether in the end “art” arises or just “occupational therapy”, this question is superfluous in my opinion, since it does not depend on art therapy. Art and art therapy are two different concepts that can, but do not have to, complement each other. It depends on the individual case. So I refer back to the original question that humanity has been asking itself for centuries and what it loves to argue about: Is this art or can it be eliminated?

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