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,
“Many women shy away from bringing what they do to the public”
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.
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.
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.
To better understand art in general.
Investigate everyday conditioning such as “taste”.
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.