statement: Are avant-garde practices still important to you?
Everything is inspiring; the works of others, the works of earlier artists, for me especially Surrealism and Dada. In all of art history, I consider the twenties to be the most exciting; At that time, Freud’s teachings moved the artist’s brain, automatic writing and surrealist poetry arrangments had spread, and dream interpretation and psychoanalysis were fashionable. New revolutionary works, unusual exhibitions were born. Incredible creative energies were released and took new directions. What inspires me again and again are the collages by Max Ernst, Andre Breton’s poems, the Merz images by Schwitters and the work by Duchamp. My “real-unreal-sürreal” label is also related to these ideals. My most frequently used medium is the collage, where I combine real image fragments with unreal ones in order to place them in a surreal situation.
project: From the death of Titian to an illustrated playbook for girls or the metamorphosis of texts and images
You take an old book and redesign it.
What are the lyrics in for? We can ignore them or make them part of a narrative.
This book, which I found on the rummaging table of an antiquarian bookshop, was a play, a dramatic fragment, written by Otto von Hofmannsthal in 1892. The play was only performed once at the funeral for Arnold Böcklin in Munich. It was printed on excellent paper, bound in textile in 1904 in Leipzig.
When I started to design what is known as an “altered book”, I quickly realized that the text was also seeking for my attention. I chose and mixed image elements from an occupation book for girls, a medical textbook and a French Larousse lexicon. Almost all the books were in pretty bad shape. Nevertheless, for a very long time I had concerns about disassembling the books because I absolutely wanted to create a new, artistically valuable whole with respect.
I kept the title of the girl’s book. The original book was a kind of preparatory course for a traditional female life in the 18th century, a playful introduction to general knowledge of women. It includes simple cake-baking recipes, patterns for dolls’ clothes, crocheting and knitting, and brief explanations of “drawing, painting as a useful activity for little girls, an activity in which one can make remarkable progress without assistance.” The book also included mathematics Jokes, puzzles and ideas for the little gardener.
For weeks I was completely lost in this wonderfully illustrated book and slowly started to design my version of a new playbook in a playful Dadaist way.
When I glued the first image fragments, I noticed that the texts give the images new twists and turns. From that point on, a coherent narrative accompanied me in the selection of the pictorial elements and the Dadaist oeuvre found its own way. With a completely different message.