Tique asks six questions to an artist about their work and inspiration.
This week: Berit Schneidereit.
Lives in Dusseldorf, Germany
How do you describe your own art practice?
The aim of my practice oscillates between a wish for findings; analysis, and my personal, subjective approach towards photography, creating questions I try to find answers to. Of course there isn´t a precise solution, but it´s interesting to navigate around these matters. Sometimes I get closer, sometimes I´m left in vast distance. In order to move, my art practice is very process orientated. It´s a lot about try and error, being led by chance. As soon as something evolves, I hold on to it. Since the impulse for my work evolves from a conceptual interest in the medium and it´s relation to space, I am working with a lot of different techniques inside and outside the studio. Therefore the works differ in their origin and form. Usually I work in different series at the same time. It´s good to have change and dialog.
Which question or theme is central in your work?
I like the idea of photography being a copy or mirror of the world we live in. This implies, of course, that spatiality exists in the photographic image too. The various ways of communicating the juxtaposition of these two spaces and the tension between them, is something I feel drawn to. This tension can be expressed with a lot of different techniques, combinations… Sometimes I blur the lines between the space and it´s copy, sometimes it´s all about the surface of the photographic image dividing the two. Sometimes it´s about me moving in this space, sometimes it´s the aspect of materiality and physicalness of the exposure that is of importance.
What was your first experience with art?
It´s not the first experience with art I had, but the one that came to my mind first and definitely left me in a weird state of wonder back then. Still does, in retrospect. When I was around 14, my parents took me to the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin to see the show „Acht Grau“ by Gerhard Richter. I will never forget seeing these huge grey panels overtowering the visitors, reflecting everything and yet keeping an aura of otherness to themselves. The space was a narrow rectangle with big windows on one side, that kind of mirrored the works by size. I guess it was the first experience with art that stayed with me in a bodily way. It wasn´t so much the fact what I was looking at. Back then I didn´t really know anything about Gerhard Richter or his works. But to feel these works, their presence, their heaviness and the fact that they didn´t „show anything“ was a strange yet wonderful sensation.
What is your greatest source of inspiration?
Hard to say. Lots of things. I guess, it´s always about state of mind you are in when something or someone crosses your way. The spacial situation and atmosphere of unknown or unforeseen places can be really inspiring for me, but sometimes a film, music, to read or to see an exhibition does the trick, too.
What do you need in order to create your work?
Beside practical things, I really need to travel. See different things, feel different places.
What work or artist has most recently surprised you?
There haven´t been many possibilities to be surprised in a direct way lately due to the current situation. In the studio, I keep coming back to the artist´s book „Spine“ by R. H. Quaytman. Her work has always been very important and inspiring for me. Whenever I feel the need for something uplifting, this is a good choice.