My work is based on historical references and my curiosity surrounding them – I imagine how it would have been to be there. The two works shown here are based on family photographs that a distant West-German family member has collected. He showed them to us with the aim of completing our family tree. This has proven difficult due to the forced-upon lack of communication between family members in a divided Germany.
These two paintings portrait each a young girl wearing formal dress and hair style. Their gestures are rigid, inward-looking but at the same time alert. I am fascinated by how our perceptions about discipline and hierarchies have changed, and how gestures of people can illustrate this.
I use historical photographs as documents that help me to establish content for my work. I do not create sketches in preparation for my work. Instead I analytically research sources that signalise an instinctive meaning and aesthetic transferability to me. The imagination process is highly important at this stage and even more so in the painting process. I enjoy precision as much as I enjoy openness in a painting – this can be expressed through a good sense of drawing, perspective and a consistency of style i.e. being committed to paint spaces flat, while at the same time looking for the right moment to stop or to disrupt style.
I believe that the process of imagining, interpreting and analysing somehow connects me with the people and situations that I portrait – however romantic this may sound in an art world that is increasingly concerned with looks, quantitative values and impersonal concepts.
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