I’m not sure if the collage technique is a trend right now, or I just love them so much I constantly keep an eye out for them. I love how collage artists take images and complete bend, destroy or alter their meaning with putting the images together. Andrea Nitschke is a collage artist from Germany whose power lies in moderation and simplicity: with just a few images Andreas tells his personal story with images from others. I asked Andreas if he would like to share some of his thought on the collage technique, art in general and his inspiration with you. Enjoy!
Bleaq: Could you describe your work in one sentence?
AN: I don’t accept the found reality, I don’t trust the images, I am looking for new identities!
Has collage always been your preferred technique to express yourself? Have you tried other techniques as well?
AN: During my time at university I studied painting and sculpture. I also made some very simple ready-mades with found objects from daily use, similar to my collages. I used what surrounded me.
Maybe that’s why I still have a certain affinity to sculptural collages. And I think because of this I admire the work of Brandon Juhasz, Cyril Hatt, Osang Gwon or Midori Harima so much; they put collages in a new dimension and level. Nevertheless I want to confine me to the two-dimensional way, it’s more puristic, faster and direct. In this technical limit lies the chance of compacting and concentration, I think. My collages appear more fragile and don’t act so perfect. They can exert their effect better than if one looks only at the perfect technical execution. For me nothing distracts from the essence of collage.
Where do you find the images you use for you work? Is it hard to find the right pictures you are looking for?
AN: I use contemporary journals and magazines. I like to respond to what I see every day. My view is not backward-looking. Meanwhile I have accumulated an archive of hundreds of finished cut faces, noses, eyes, bodies, etc.
I begin my work like I enter a little storeroom. But the path to this point is very laborious and lengthly. I have to scroll to hundreds of magazines to find the one face, the one right body and the compatible shape which gives my creatures a life of its own, so that they are – in the best case – scary wonderful and exert their effect at first sight. I can only achieve this metamorphosis if I am not too good for this field research, which can be sometimes really boring and monotonous.
Who are your favourite artists? How do they inspire your work?
AN: One of my favourite artist is Gottfried Helnwein. I love his perfection in painting and that he is not tired to deal with sarcastic topics. I especially love his works with children’s faces.
Next to him I am still fascinated by the work of David Salle. I love his unique juxtaposition, the side by side and coexistence of not actually matching things in one painting. His water-colours from the early eighties are great.
Both inspire me and my collages very much although both are painters. Helnwein with his slope for the abstruse and distortion and Salle because he combines and unites the incompatible, but in a more poetic way than Helnwein. Besides collages my artistic roots lie in painting. I like the work of Jenny Saville very much, her paintings are very rough, bold and haunting.
It’s probably like asking parents which of their kids they like best, but do you have a piece or pieces from your work that you like best? If so, why that one?
AN: I really enjoy working in series. And it is always the last one in which I am very much committed to, which I prefer with all my heart and soul and where lies my whole passion.
With many social networking websites it’s almost hard to keep track of everything! How important is the internet for you as an artist?
AN: The internet is a duplicator, very fast and fresh and quick. As an artist I can play on it. Many sceptical people demonise the internet. Artists do as well. If you deal with found images (like a collage-artist does) you can beat the internet, the world of images, with their own weapons. You can undermine the addiction and dependence of attraction. I use the most modern, the internet, to spread the most traditional and unfashionable, the most common: (my) collage art.
The internet can be a breeding ground, a hatchery for your art. With social networking, for example in blogs, you can reach a wide audience. It’s a multiplier.
Last but not least: van you recommend a book, movie or artist you’ve enjoyed lately?
AN: I newly-discovered masks. The rope masks of Dutch artist Bertjan Pot for example, or the masks of the norwegian Damselfrau are very interesting and inspiring for my face-collages in the moment.
Some time ago I have seen ‘Paper Cut’, a stand-up-comedy with collage-dolls from the Israeli Yael Rasoody. She awakened collages to life, very childlike and unsophisticated, funny and interesting. Again very different and also from Israel, Yael Bartana alludes and reconstructs the paintings of the German expressionist Otto Dix into life with her animation ‘Degenerate Art lives’. Very disturbing!
That’s it! Thanks to Andreas for being so kind to share some insights on his work, and those awesome (and quite disturbing indeed) videos. If you like to see more of Adreas’ work be sure to check out his website of Facebook page. Thank you for reading!