Creating art in times of stress and isolated introspection opens an opportunity to widen and enrich the act of art making. I challenge myself to choosing alternative materials that do not conform with the traditional methods of painting or sculpture making. The work on the present series of Artist Books unintentionally reflects the spirit of the times that extends into the beyond of everyday reality and is a record of a healing process. I work unconsciously by breaking down into fragments the world of impressions as it is manifested to me. I internalize these fragments and subsequently conceptualize and use them to form new composite structures of altered reality.
I have made more work in the past month than I have in a long time, I have transformed my studio into an art garden and have been able to turn inwards and explore from there a little bit.
I read books in bed, have endless precious discussions with my partner, dove into research; I can have a nonchalant approach to time and ‘daily routines’.
This too will eventually pass and I would like to know that during this time, I shifted my focus, taught myself new things, appreciated that much more each cup of coffee I had with a loved one over a video chat, rested, visited all the virtual museums, meditated, baked, painted, danced, developed new creatures, watched movies, drank wine and listened to records and did all the things I never had the time for before or have not thought of before.
Then the sum of all these feelings led to to a new question:
Isn’t it quite a paradox to feel so free during quarantine?
The thought of becoming somebody or something else, even the thought of creating a hybrid of someone and something has been nourishing the foundation of my work for some time. The process of creating a creature, starting with a simple sculpture and building onto it various elements which develop throughout time is usually how it starts. I love watching the idea develop, morph and change and I love feeling this change projected onto me as I am working on it. Sometimes it is about creating hundreds of miniature sculptures and later gluing them onto my own body, feeling the cold, stony texture on my skin, being covered in this texture and feeling how my body reacts and behaves as this is happening. What would it be like to be a stone sculpture while being infused with all of the five senses. How would I feel? What would I represent?
Other times, the process of building an aquarium in order to later create the set of a quarantined aquatic creature. Leading with a promise that this creature will feel right at home in no time, decorating the tank, surrounding it in opulent elements, imagining the emotion, movement and expression the creature would feel. Attempting to recreate it using my own body and mind, by limiting my own freedom in this very tank and my morphing my appearance into that of an undiscovered other worldly creature. By amplifying the endless, childlike curiosity of my own mind, I am able to enlarge the questions that are flowing through my thoughts. What would it be like to physically morph with a computer, to be a celestial flying entity that is worshiped in certain parts of the world, to be a flower one day and an interstellar explorer the next? My work allows me to swiftly shift between fact and fiction, to blur the lines of reality and fantasy, to physically change roles, explore, to experience a form of metamorphosis. No matter how fleeting.
When I am performing, I feel a transformation and a transposition of my personality through sound and movement.
I am stepping into the space.
I am looking at myself,
Feeling the change
Now I know.
The sound takes me over, my body has no weight.
I am a cloud.
While staying at home, watching the sun outside, thinking about the fact, that this summer will be probably very sad and weird, I created my own "summer holiday place" on my canvases. Full of sun, blue sky and mysterious people or animals. So if you are missing traveling, this is something for you! Enjoy the bizzare holiday!
Muse at my window
I'm looking through my window again, reaching out to the horizon.
My eyes are guided by an illusion that's far away, it's all fresh and different, when my sight finally reaches it, I see myself.
Primordial Soup - Electronic Music Performance (Braindance, Jungle, Synth Jam)
Owl Sh#t! - Dark techno synth jam
"Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. If an inferiority is conscious, one always has a chance to correct it. Furthermore, it is constantly in contact with other interests, so that it is continually subjected to modifications. But if it is repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets corrected.” – Carl Jung, Psychology and Religion
Sean Derrick Cooper Marquardt
Requiem For The Rainforest is a performance that I had months after experiencing heart issues that left me hospitalized for 3 months and many months of recovering; the performance with my orchestra was in some way for me a Metamorphosis, for I had thought the world was over for me.
I believe this offers an example in this new situation with the Covid-19 virus, that there can still be hope, and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We just have to believe it’s possible to survive all that life has to offer.
Sean Derrick Cooper Marquardt & The S&M Accidental Orchestra Berlin 2.0
Requiem for the Rainforest
These works were made after my show that opened on Feb 27, 2020, and closed 5 days later. This was devastating. At first, I could not work, could not get supplied and was in a horrible depression. A friend saw this and suggested that I make monoprints. He gave me ink and supplies. I had never made them. But reluctantly I started. The results were immediate. I was amazed. They corresponded directly to my paintings, a perfect translation. The monoprint was immediate, unlike my paintings which take months to make.
I caught the light that is so important to my work. I eliminated color and just depended on black ink and the white of the paper.
These are about the battle between the light and the darkness. Is the light transforming the darkness or is the darkness transforming the light? I love the battle between the two as the works are all in that moment of surrender.
The metamorphosis is that change - the in-between.
It's like being suspended in time like we are right now with the virus; paused not to know whether death or life is at our door.
Not all hope and not all doom.
I want them to be beautiful but create that moment of terror.
Now... having no need of stamps and a lot of time on my hands i decided to offer a handmade collage to any who provided me with an address. 40 stamps, 40 collages and a shit ton of tape. There is no rhyme no reason and no agenda to this body of work... merely a desire to make art and share a little bit of joy in these challenging times.
A Project of our time, of our people, and of our nature. We are an individual artist and a curator who are devoted to making art to be a booster for a better future.
Confession Of Virus Isolation Days19 (COVID-19) is an online performance art project, inspired by the quarantine situation all over the world. A massive live-streaming discourse between guests and the artist Loretta Lau, accomplished in 19 days of isolation from 25th March to 12th April. 166 international artists, musicians, actors and individuals were invited to participate in a confession session, to share their unique emotions and story in this hard isolation time. The artist was speaking behind the textile, as if the guests were confessing to a priest in a confession box, which gave less tension and disturbance to the conversation.
As an initiator, Loretta Lau was interviewing the guests about influences and experiences since the quarantine. While participants were expressing their perspectives or showing their performances, she painted their portraits with blue brushes according to the vibes. Blue is symbolic of coldness and medicine, and is related to quarantine life and health care. It is also associated with credibility, trust, knowledge, power, professionalism, cleanliness, calm and focus. In the meantime, we need those strengths to heal the wounds of society.
The portraits were painted on a 13-meter-long canvas.
*A & E* and *Vorwärts!* are collages I made during the lockdown. I made them out of silkscreen cut-outs. A year and a half ago I was together with a group of friends invited to do a week of silkscreen printing in the beautiful workshop run by the artist Silvio Zesch. We were working together on the original silkscreen book *SUMMERPRINT 1*. The book was a collaborative process; work was intense from morning till late, having meals together was an important part of the printing process, drinking together as well ;-). The book relies a lot on the physical aspects of printing and bookmaking. The paper quality is important to it. The size is. The hardcover is. The printing quality is.
After finishing the book I took some of them with me to Israel, where I live half of the year. I smuggled them into the country – my suitcase was overweight, because the books were big and heavy. It was shown in Jerusalem at an artist’s book fair organized by two friends of mine.
For my collages I took some left-over editions of the prints that were not used. All that we did to make the book is not possible at the moment: the intense experience of being together for one week, sleeping in the same rooms, eating together, working all day, having a drink afterwards. The physical aspect of it – the book needs to be touched and held in the hands – you won’t grasp it online. Travel from and to Israel is no longer possible – my life partner is in Tel Aviv, I am in Berlin. The works are a reminder of what we can’t do alone and what we can't substitute online. They are a metamorphosis of jointly created original screen-prints into single-sheets made in lockdown, which are shown online. They show metamorphoses. In one of them, two childlike Adam and Eves swap sexes. In the other, animal, machine and skeleton mix up.
*Sweet home* is a reverse glass painting on two sheets of acrylic glass (Perspex). It was part of my solo show *Molly Moldedet* dealing with questions of homeland (Heimat/ Metamorhose von zuckersüßem zu gewalt)
A TIME CAPSULE
“Viral change” keeps circulating in my brain. This time is marked as much by the virus as by interconnectivity in isolation accelerated by tech.
When corona first hit most were cynical, dismissing it for yet another flu. The over-prepared deemed nutcases and mocked. Then Italy happened. Numbers began rising, hospitals overwhelmed. Countries shut their borders. Comparative statistics to other leading causes of death coupled with updates from John Hopkins streaming on feeds. Fear, worry, more cynicism, conspiracies, panic buying, fake news, - classic. Shutdown of society, culture, shops, offices, pubs, restaurants, services – total panic now. World economies cut in half, things really look bad now. Most countries on lockdown, while others are braving it out with herd immunity. Shaming and doxing of those caught in public gatherings – oh the pleasure of drinking a beer in a park like a rebel with mask half down! We are heroes who stay home creating the transmutation of physical space into cyber space.
I took these three photographs before and after the Brexit in England and Ireland, January – February 2020. I travelled to the two countries to explore the after effects of that historic separation – and ended up witnessing a metamorphosis really.
Then only 4 weeks later, in March 2020, with the onset of a worldwide pandemic started an even greater transformation. One from good to bad, or from bad to good, we don’t know yet.
I looked again at the pictures I took during Brexit days. I realised they needed to reflect that times had changed even further, in a surrealistic way even, in a way no one had imagined before. I minimally changed the originals adding digital symbols, visual snippets or objet trouvés all stemming from my stay in the UK and Ireland earlier this year, to create a world which is neither here or there, somehow undefined, rather ‘In Limbo’.
Ann Magnuson & Adam Dugas
I’ve been making videos with my grandmother’s homemade “outsider art” dolls for years but only shared them privately for Facebook friends. When our world drastically changed and we all had to stay isolated, Adam Dugas and I created this no-budget DIY web series using these dolls and letting them voice all the fears, hopes and anxieties that have appeared along with Covid-19. I had a live musical theater show planned for July called WTF 2020 -- addressing the madness of Trump’s America -- but there was no way any theater or club would be safe to open so I adapted the concept for the internet. I’ve always worked with my dreams in my writing, music and performances and in this web series I have incorporated the nightmares. The dolls voice the neurosis of the collective unconscious as they attempt to survive and they also explore multiple Jungian archetypes as a psychedelic process for healing.
Joseph Campbell describes this process in his book “The Hero’s Journey” where the individual uses adversary as a Catalyst to fight personal demons, throw off the shackles of “the provisional self” and achieve a psychological wholeness and then the ultimate metamorphosis into a purely spiritual being.
WTF 2020 has been an amazing project with which to channel my feelings and thoughts about what the pandemic has caused and revealed. This collaboration has been a powerful way to share these reactions with film language. The puppet dolls, which Ann’s grandmother crafted decades ago, are animated by Ann - Dust Bunny exhibits unbridled fear and anxiety, while Arzetta provides the calming, rational voice that plunges into Jungian analysis. It’s like dramatizing what might be going on in Ann’s brain - I know mine has many competing voices reacting to what’s going on! The extra ingredients are the found footage elements, which are transformed from their original intent to something strange and magical. The mundane and the majestic - all valid, all one!
WTF 2020 - Ep. 01: "Barely Coping"
I “started working” on this painting in 2016, in the new shared art studio I had just moved into. And by “started working” I mean: I’d bought this canvas, decided on an image to paint on it and roughly penciled its contours. Then I leaned it against a wall and forgot about it, instinctively returning to the kind of work I usually do - using all mediums but painting. I have moved studios 3 times since then, and this barely traced canvas has followed me each time, until I brought it home a couple of months ago - with for only addition to the original drawing a few layers of dust. As a persistently unfinished artwork, it had become a symbol of the kind of art I stopped allowing myself to produce years ago - the kind of work I used to do in art school when, inspired by George Perec and others, observing the mundane everyday life of strangers was one of my favorite things to do.
Later I came to think of this as the kind of work I would do in a perfect world - one in which I wouldn’t feel guilty about getting all my inspiration people-watching from the terrace of a cafe, witnessing normal, uneventful scenes and depicting just that.
It’s funny that all it took was a global pandemic and a lockdown to get me to pick up my brushes again. And now that this one is done, I’m already sketching the next one - a similar picture of passersby in a normal, unremarkable (and mask-free) situation.
So this lockdown has certainly transformed my practice - not sure for how long. I’m calling this series “But it sucks that everything's gonna die.”
In 2018, while this same unfinished canvas was collecting dust in a corner of my studio, this is the kind of work I was doing - and this one is a piece that has suddenly become relevant.
The Isolation Collection