Candyfloss for Patriarchy
Suck up your toxic waste (work in progress)
room installation: clay and acrylic sculpture, sketchbook, paintings
Suck up your toxic waste is a multimedia installation which shows a world after the climate crisis run amok, flitting between surreal and absurd future visions to dystopian landscapes uninhabitable for beings we got to know in the last millennia.
The installation consists of sculptures, paintings, and books in seemingly poisonous colors, adorned with glimmer, organic remnants, fiber and rough clay objects. Showing the beautiful in the ugly. The installation offers a surreal view of the end of a world as we knew it. From now on we will swim in radioactive seas, wearing peanuts as helmets, eating waste and procreate in the soil.
Browse through the painted diary of a (distant) future, learn about the Peanut People who grow in shells which later will become the protective casing for their heads, so that they can breathe in the non-air. Celebrate the famous Peaday, a moving holiday which is held on the hottest day of the year, where corrosive chemicals are thrown on helpless activists. Observe a day in the new tiny houses, a new minimalism, taking into account that former generations wasted all the raw materials.
Get this into your head/ Candyfloss for Patriarchy
room installation: clay doll, polymere doll, painting polymore, textile doll, crochet basket, knitted wallhanging
There are a lot of things you should get into your head when you are read as female, so many that sometimes the mass of them leeks out again, a bloody pool full of contradictions.
You should wear make-up to look professional and cultivated. But wearing make-up makes you cheap.
You should be sex-positive, but then you are a whore. If you dislike sex, you are frigid. Is there even a word for a male person who dislikes sex? Why is wanting/not-wanting sex pathologized in female persons?
Better speak up to not be categorized as a wall flower or little girl which cannot fight for itself. But if you speak up you are argumentative, angry, catty? Perhaps a man would be categorized as analytical and passionate. No way to win for you, my dear.
You want children, good for you, but never to forget to also have a career. And be reassured that there is no way to make it right. You always will be judged, and you always will fail.
When you are fat than you are sick when you are thin you are sick. You know real women have curves. But the right curves, at the correct places, in an exact right amount. What? No curves? Did fashion change again? Ok, then get your implants out and be small and ethereal. This is also not ok? No idea how you should change? No problem as long as you try, try, try, try, try…
And when you are bled out your head is cut off. Metaphorical but horribly sometimes even for real. Deathly violence against women seldom happens out of the blue sky, no, most female homicides (femicides) are committed by relatives or the male partner and have a history of domestic violence. Men – which is also tragic in its own are much more often victim of random violence. The tragic about female homicides is that many could have been prevented if claims of abuse would be taken more seriously, if the status of women would be higher, if there were more shelters for women who want to escape their abusive environment. If female bodies would not be sexualized. There is a real possibility to make life safer for women.
But who cares, they will grow old and expire, stopping to be women at all, becoming invisible, becoming nothing.
Read about the artistic process here
You are always too loud, too fat, too barren, too plain, too sexy, too motherly, too old, too inexperienced, too cold, too hot, too dressed up, too aggressive, too thin, too timid, too frigid, too demanding, too wordy, too much but not enough.
Want to escape the not-good-enough then do some sports and eat clean – only joking – needed are heavy surgical means and a life dedicated to force your body to perfection. Brazilian butt lift, taking out rips, pushing fat from one body part to another, to manage the contradictions of a lush hourglass with chiseled muscles, a perfectly rounded booty but a thigh-gap, nevertheless. And if you are willing to go through pain and danger of surgery, you also need a lot of money, not only for the procedures themselves, but also to rest from them. Beauty is status is money.
Polymore / Candyfloss for Patriarchy
wood, polymere clay, wire, tin foil and digital painting
I am used, sucked dry, made a husk by procreation. I was your dream, to be used as you wanted, no questions asked. And now, when I am even smaller, you love me more. You are infatuated with me, the tiny girl mummy, easy to dominate easy to idealise never seen as a person, always a dream.
But beware, while you think me dead inside, I am assembling crumbs of emotions, gather fragments of thoughts and set them together to resist/you.
Fascinated by all the amazing doll artists I saw on the net and at the same appalled that I fell for the big eye, translucent skin, near dead female gender representation which seems to dominate the doll making space. I felt ashamed that these stereotypes are still ingrained in my aesthetic appreciation and that at the same time I hated these „innocent“ dolls, which are not innocent at all but a projection screen for -I am not sure – perhaps society’s models of beauty, femaleness, desire and domination?
While I worked at the sculpture I envisioned all the thoughts this tiny being may have and which were in no way conforming its innocent „sleeping beauty“ vibes. To enhance this contradictions I gave the sculpture a headscarf which alludes to the costumes of „The Handmaid‘s Tale“ a series which is based on Maragaret Atwoods famous novel.
But one-woman resisting was in my eyes not enough, I saw a mass of seemingly sleeping/dead/zombified woman screaming out her thoughts. And so, the collage you can see was born. The heads of women - formed as death masks - are arranged as a flower bouquet. Multiplied they conquer the screen and invade the observers mind, hijacking feelings, and thoughts, fighting a silent battle.
Get this into your head/ Candyfloss for Patriarchy
Detail of installation
clay and crochet
read more here
Visible Invisible/ Candyfloss for Patriarchy
Making of a fibreart installation
For longer now I am obsessed with wide dresses (and wide skirts) For me they represent freedom of movement, being comfortable and being able to dress for nearly every weather from freezing cold to blistering sunshine. So, choosing a dress as a first VISIBLE INVISIBLE garment was a given. Wide dresses (in dark and muted colours) are furthermore often read as an garment to hide behind; to hide your body, to hide tools beneath it, to hide age or status.
These features of “invisibility” I enhanced buy sewing a balaclava as a head piece which can be put on and so can hide your facial features too. But on the other hand, especially this balaclava - tellingly in German it’s called “Sturmhaube” which can either refer to a garment for bad weather but also alludes to war - exaggerates the idea of hiding and alludes to face coverings worn during demonstrations which may be prone to violence. The balaclava often is used to hide one’s head while committing crimes or at least films and novels make me believe this. All in all, for me the balaclava adds a bit of brutality to the wide flowy and often feminine read dress.
The next breach is the use of the fabric which is on the one hand super soft and warm and on the other hand is so garish and bright that you cannot be overlooked while wearing it (not sure the photos can show how bright it is in real life). Although being masked with the dress, the wearer is very visible. Together with the pointy shoulders - which are a feature often equated with power and masculinity, a feature often found on uniforms - the soft and cocooning dress gives opposing signals to the viewer: cheery, bright and soft but secretly an armour.
The second dress is even more opulent, a light mint colour and a gathered skirt in several tiers alludes to a fairy-tale dress. The head piece though - in reality another dress bodice which has a zipper at its sleeves - completely shuts the wearer out from the world. An outfit which reminds of ritual garments of an unknown cult.
Opening the middle zipper transforms the head piece into an innocent sweater.
read more here
Layers of love
wood, garments, crochet objects, steel needles, toiletpaper, knitted panel, paper and wire crown, HALIEN doll, painting (not visible on the foto)
The skirt: I don’t care/too much/holes
There are big chunks of myself missing. I gave my heart away, part of my thigh and a bit of my soul.
This is the skirt with holes, the embodiment of “care work”. Unpaid (emotional) labour which is biting chunks out of women’s life’s and body’s all over the world. During pandemic times this became even more obvious as the centre of people’s life is suddenly more private, and governments pushes responsibility towards the family and so ultimately on the woman/mother. Nothing bad with the family being your centre of life… if you have chosen it.
Not so nice: a society which on the one hand implicitly expect of women to care for their elderly parents, to care for their children, to hold contact to friends, to be the social glue, the support system and on the other hand devalue exactly this kind of work. And this devaluation is not always easy to spot. It may be easy to notice that jobs done mostly by women, like preschool teacher, geriatric nurses, nurses in general, shop assistants and and and are payed less as a whole (not to speak of the gender pay gap). Less easy to spot is that many aspects of care work never register as work at all. In many relationships it is still deemed “normal”, kind of laws of nature “normal” that the female part goes shopping, cooks, educates or if the male part wants to help, the woman has to coordinate his help… and so she again is ultimately responsible for everybody’s wellbeing.
Incorporates a pattern from Simone Rocha
Read more about how this artwork came to life here
incorporates parts of the sculpture "Chapel of Health"
This years international women’s day during a worldwide pandemic inspired me not to celebrate the successes of the collaborate effort of women which came before me,instead I have chosen to point out one part of (several) still existing injustices in women’s life: unpaid care work.
I found this important to point out – this is no scientific hypothesis only my subjective opinion – that I notice a kind of backlash which shifts more responsibility on women’s shoulders, but a responsibility without positive acknowledgement. Care work is heavily resting on women during this time of pandemic. So, I tried to create two garments which make this injustice and its costs for women visible.
The blouse: Tear me down or fly alone
This blouse represents the imbalance in opinions shown towards woman: too thin or too fat, too clever, or too stupid, too emotional, or too cold, too motherly, too businesslike – everything is up to critical evaluation. Everyone sports an opinion about behaviour and looks. And these opinions are tearing on me. They pull me in one direction and someday I may stumble (if I not unclothe myself from societies - or better sexism’s preconceptions about womanhood)
But there is also internal/ internalised imbalance. The too much of feeling and caring. The fear of letting loved ones down, the wish to please everybody, to give everyone a happy live, ease their sadness or hurt. The fear of being unjust or impolite, to be inattentive or even neglect others needs.
And on the other side the will to fight for my opinion, fight too much, too harsh without the desire to negotiate for winning. Presenting facts as if they are self explanatory, as if … This is the light side of imbalance. Nobody is there to hold me (down). This is the cold side, no (false) love keeping me warm.
77 cm x 50 cm
Wood, brushes, acrylic paint, and freeform crochet
Women are soft and pink and delicate. They are caring and nurturing. They are so emotional, connected to nature and life on the deepest level. They are fragile and need a defender. Their tiny hands can work small and intricate patterns of flowers and hate. Entangled in strings of beauty, and thinness and youth and stupidity and meekness. Holdings hands with other woman to stop them to rise and to revolt. Oh, so great is our task of emotional labour, but who pays for it? All the abuse and oppression are painted pink.
For centuries needlework and fiber art are deemed as women’s work, but not in an appreciating manner but as in describing a lesser art: An occupation of idle rich woman who do not know how to kill their leisure time – a occupation for the fragile woman with slender white hands whose delicate nature does not allow her to participate fully in life. A beauty creating beauty. Needlework is seen as a craft instead of an art (and with this devaluing crafts). A work that can be done at home, where the fragile woman is hidden from the world. So many stereotypes connected with fabric, wool and needles. Up today I know men who would be ashamed to be seen in public while knitting or crocheting. They feel that these techniques rob them of masculinity.
Although these limiting ideas of femininity and art are slowly overturning with many great artist and writers who tackle this topic they are still present. The bevor mentioned stereotypical image of a woman doing needlework encases so many lines of discrimination (sexism, ageism, racism, ableism, and classism) it is frightening me. Therefore, my sculpture.
The disrupted texture of crochet which sprawls unhindered like the unshaved hair on female legs. The pink turning neon and by this becoming visible and loud instead of soft and meek. The broken and worn brushes which show that art (or craft) is always work, persistence, force, and fight, independent of sex and gender of the artist. The wooden post with splinters which symbolises the many women (and naturally also men and people who define themselves in other ways) who already have fight for my many rights today.
I have built a sceptre to celebrate the freedom of choosing which role we follow. To show that female qualities are qualities which female defining people show. There are no set rules, we create them. Perhaps my work is also an umbrella which protects women from all the opposing demands of being a mother, a worker, a lover, a beauty, demands of staying at home or going out, of wearing heels but not too high… you get the point.
Clay Sculpture, Fiber Object, Poem on Paper
62 cm x 62 cm x 12 cm
Peace is death, is standstill, is nothingness, is everything.
Peace is hurting, the loss is hurting, you are frightening me, everything is frightening me.
There is loss in every ancient stone, loss buried by the sea, by my pain, my sadness, life.
Someone is drowning right now
Someone is drowning right now
Peace is death, is the sea, the loss of pain, the loss of love, is death, is life.
I am living in a bubble…. My world is ok, I have water, food, a nice flat, a loving husband. Everything is ok. For me. It is hard to accept that there are people dying in the sea, drowning because we do not help them. Because they have no papers, or nobody thinks he is responsible for them, because someone believes they will be a burden, they could cost money! I am so outraged about this. Words are failing me…
Peace is dark, much death goes into achieving it and sometimes, it is nowhere near even after all the sacrifices made.
I started with the idea of an ancient death mask. A mask which usually was made of beeswax, and because of this material is seldom conserved. But visualizing death and stillness was not enough for me. I wanted to lend the sculptures an ambiguity, to illustrate that in death something is lost for everybody. That death is happening with pain and will bring pain – therefore the nails – that with this death a whole person is lost: The love, the ideas, the shared moments, everything.
I used the knitted fabric and the yarn as a symbol for a life. I borrowed this concept from Norse, Greece and Roman mythology, were you can find the concept of three norns or moirai who represent and determine the destiny of humans. These goddesses are often pictured as spinning, weaving and cutting fabric, while the yarn may symbolise the personal life and the fabric the tapestry of events which occur throughout a lifetime or even in the world. Besides making knots, and with this I thought also knitting, was deemed a technique to work magic.
The nails I inserted not only to show individual pain and suffering, they also reminded me of the Christian crown of thorns, which can be interpreted as a taking a burden for others: someone drowning, suffering for me….
The second mask I worked more roughly, with bigger and perhaps brutish features. The bulking eyes and gaping mouth hint to stylized Romanesque architectural sculptures. Grotesque faces which showed the observer the godless, tainted, the deviant way of life. A mask that combines everything that “average” people despise and are afraid of. A mask which could be observed from far away in the secure surrounding of a church. This second mask illustrates that suffering, pain, and death is native in all times. Otherness arouses fear - may it be the “devil ridden”, the ill or the foreigner.
So, we have not only the hard and unmoving death masks with their iron nails, we also have the soft pink fabric, as a symbol of life, a symbol of our interconnectedness. The One death will hurt us all. The knitted fabric I used as a representation of the individual lifetime; a life started with a neat ribbing. A fabric which step by step loses its connection, which has wholes, and rips, and unravels as its nearing its end. But on this sadness, something new (flowery) is already growing, hope for other lives to be saved or opinions changed.
The old gods are dead
One of my exam subjects at university was the cult in classical Greece. I was drawn towards the changes of ways to believe: The supplementation of a state cult which based on the strict performance of rites by a personalised cult in which the individual searched for bliss. Karl Japsers idea of the Achsenzeit (Axial Age) which is meanwhile outdated, nevertheless fascinated me. The idea that there was a global development of a new way of thinking which also emerged in new ways of spirituality. A spirituality which was person-centred in its attempt to find the divinity in oneself. The heavy symbolism which was part of the sacred mysteries, the secrecy and the ideas of death and immortality sparked my imagination.
The sculpture reminds to a roman death mask. In this mask I wanted to combine the idea of a lost culture, of the important role death (and its overcoming) played in the sacred mysteries, and the image of a sleeping (Greco-Roman) god.
Who knows… if we perhaps ask Gaiman, the gods will awake, if we only believe enough.
21 x 12 x 7 cm
No longer their names are invoked: Nobody asks Juno to save their marriage, nobody chants the holy words to Ceres to let the gardens bloom, nobody thinks of Epona while standing in front a wild horse. Still the believer wants to have… to have health, wealth, love, and luck. The gods are still hold accountable for a contract which is thousands of years old. But who is paying the praise today, when no sacrifice is made and the mola salsa never touches the head of an oxen? The do ut des is forgotten, as are the proper rites.
If you have read Neil Gaimans you have it backwards. The gods created by believe. Mankind as the creator of its own gods. Mankind with the power to let the gods sleep forever. Mankind bound to hold the wake of its own creatures. And to fall into despair while observing the nothingness of a godless void.
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