THIS MONTH REDMILK FOR ITS ISSUE DEDICATED TO THE BEAUTY HAS INTERVIEWED THE GERMAN ARTIST ANNEGRET SOLTAU. HER WORK HAS MARKED AN ESSENTIAL REFERENCE FOR THE FEMINIST ART OF SEVENTIES AND EIGHTY. IN HER CREATIONS THE USE OF HER PERSON IN PHOTO COLLAGE IN PERFORMANCE AND BRINGS US TO A REFLECTION ON THE IDEA OF SELF AND IDENTITY. MOSAIC OF REASSEMBLED BODY AND OF THE PHYSICALITY APPEARANCE THAT BECOME A METAPHOR OF BEAUTY.
In your creations you use different artistic media. Tell us what’s the aim at the basis of your work:
I don’t have a specific aim, one goal evolves from the other. E.g. as a young artist I worked traditionally with drawing and etching. My subject were representations of humans that led me to self-portraits. During the seventies I joined the break-up of the women’s emancipation movement, which became, too, a break-up of my artistic techniques. I personally got into the image and thus became part of it. Performances with threads developed that in turn I included into my images. I created new techniques and called them photo overstitchings and stitched photomontage. With regard to content I remained completely connected to the processes of my own life as aloneness, pregnancy, childbirth, sequence of generations, search for identity etc. I am not self-referred, I see myself rather like a seismograph of society.
Beauty for Annegret means:
To be oneself. Unfortunately you don’t always succeed in your younger days, however, growing older, you come closer to yourself, if you allow it. It is of great value for you and for the others, it radiates: this is what “beauty” means for me.
What’s inside your artist’s kit?
Following my narrations, my life partner wrote my biography, entitled “Annegret Soltau: I was absolutely seeking”. I am still seeking, and I hope it will never ends. Otherwise I would miss the motivation for my artistic work.
How would you describe your art to someone who doesn’t know you and your work?
I present ideas of human beings which also could be a reflection of you.
In your works emerge a critique towards the contemporary aesthetic vision. What do you think about it? Is that an intentional message?
My message is not to present ugliness, as often assumed. I want to show the truth of man, particularly of woman. You could say, I turn the inner out, ignoring how it looks. You have to bear the sight and to deal with it, thats what I expect.
Beauty is much more than just a face or a body. Which are the most beautiful things in your life?
I have two grandchildren, a two years old girl and a boy aged 5. Being together with them gives me the hope for the future and a deep attachment to it. Looking at the world through their eyes is all-important for me.
Who’s the most beautiful person you’ve met in your life till now?
I am always curious for new encounters; I have them often in my exhibitions. It fills me with confidence and excites me, sometimes up to euphoria and I go into rhapsodies learning what fantastic women exist – whether young or old.