KERSTIN STEPHAN's Collage allows the eye to mix worlds, disciplines, materials, objects and landscapes, put them all inside the same crystal ball,shake it and see how a blindfolded woman looks at a bird resting on the branch of a tree that springs from her finger. For example. And we would like to ask her about that world. her world.
Where does your love of collage come from?
Paper is simply beautiful. It rustles and it is violative but also very strong. Old printed paper from books or magazines carry the wisdom from all generations. To cut and to destroy the
papers and put it together again is like building a new world. I'm the queen of this world. I can do what I want to do. That is very delightful to me.
Do you believe it is an Art form and is considered as such?
It is the result of a creative process. There is no benefit except to enjoy it visually. That's why it is art for me.
What for you is collage; a unique personal form of expression, combinations and innovation, or a kind of surprise, finding the unexpected in each object, person or word?
Playing with the material and the provocation of coincidence is the best of all in collage. Everything I need is already there. I only do a new interpretation of it. I can do what I want, without a target. I don't know the result in advance. I'm surprising myself.
What is your working process like? Is there a great deal of documentation and preparation or does the creation emerge once you have all the material in front of you?
I work in three steps. The firs step is searching the material. I find it on flea markets or in antiquarian. The second step is cutting and cutting and cutting. If I have enough material, then I put it in front of me. The last step is playing with the material. Then I can play like kids with their LEGO building sets. Before I begin I don't have an idea.
What do you want or would like most for them to transmit?
Irritation in couple with elegancy.
KERSTIN STEPHAN speaks to me about garrets and LEGO. Click read more for the interview of this amazing artist.
Tell me about yourself
I don’t have much to tell about me. I grew up in socialism in East Germany. I have experienced a peaceful revolution, that’s why I can now view the whole world and at last I can do what I want - particular my one art. That’s a great luck for me.
Why are you interested in the medium of Collage in particular?
I love to do collage because I can play with this medium like a child with LEGO. The world is full of printed-paper. I can play together with my cutout material for hours. When I was a child I loved to search in old houses or on the garret from my grandparents. That is the reason why I prefer to go on flea markets and antiquarian to find old books or magazines. I then get a prickle in my belly and I’m very exited. Most old stuff becomes trash, but my old stuff, that I detect becomes my one new art and lives further in the world.
What is your creative process? Do you have an image in mind? Or do you let things evolve on the page in front of you. Analog vs. digital collage?
I start my work without directly ideas. All of my artwork evolves in that moment when I begin. I’ll be inspired only from the material in front of me.
Mostly I work on many pictures at the same time. Sometimes I cut only for days. On other days I work on my collages. That is the time for game. I have many boxes with cut pieces. I have hundreds of them. It is a great fun to move the pieces on my worktable until the finished images.
I read somewhere that you aim to transform normal images into foreign images. I find this interesting, almost like a media desensitization, a reversal of our visual conditioning. Why is this important for you?
I don’t want to shock. I would like only to irritate. It is very interesting for me for example to take the pieces from 1920 and put this together with material from today. It is a absolutely new interrelation and a very exciting process. Only today there is a possibility to couple new with old. All creators of the old pieces are already died. They will never experience what is happen with their own pictures
What artists or experiences have influenced your work?
Many, many artists have influenced my work. I don’t know exactly which artists. I have always worked simply. In the art I can do what I want. I’m my own boss of my art. Nobody can say so or so is right. To show my own work is very intimate and private. When I show my art in an exhibition, then I’m violative. I must be brave as many artist have been before. They are my paragons.
Best advice you’ve ever been given
When you think nobody interested for your art - it doesn’t matter - just continue. Then you are professional.
Name one book, one film and one album I should listen to.
Book - “The wall” by Marlen Haushofer, movie - “The Color of Paradise” Persian/ 1999 Iranian fin directed by Majid Majidi, album - “Love And Harp A La Latin” by Jonny Teupen/ 1965.
What is next for you?
Even more to try and experiment with collages in very large sizes.