Friday, 8 November 2013

Creative people: Berlin based artist Vanessa

In today's post I would like to introduce you to the artist and friend Vanessa Puschmann, and show you some of her work - which always inspired me. 

Vanessa is a mixed media artist, working and living in Berlin. I met her when studying Art Therapy in Bremen, Germany. She left after a few terms to study cultural science, but we stayed friends.

With her background as a dressmaker and her theatre experience, she connected with the art scene in Bremen on various quirky projects:

“Sproutbau” (2007)
For one month about 70 international artists lived and worked together in a high-rise block, which was planned to be destroyed. 
Vanessa, as a part of the textile studio, and other artists worked towards a final festival week, to present exhibitions, readings, performances and concerts. 

“EphmerisKosMusTanten” (2008)
For one month artists installed a fictional temporary state "Ephmeristan" in an industrial building area. Different artists worked on various projects and prepared for events for the festivals final weekend. 
Vanessa was part of the fashion performance "EphmerisKosMusTanten", which was a collaboration project of 6 fashion designers, a make-up  artist and some experimental performers. She designed the costumes and also performed on stage.

After finishing her studies, Vanessa decided to move to Berlin. She quickly connected with the art scene and frequently participates in exhibitions and cultural events. 
As a mixed media artist she uses paintings, textile art and performance to explore questions of identity, physicality, spirituality and society. She works as a solo artist and also on collaboration projects.

Here are two recent projects of hers, which inspire my work.

"Kiezkinder" (2010)
Vanessa used old fabric, old clothes and every day materials to tell the stories of some characters of Berlin. Please find below some of her art puppets "Kiezkinder" (Children from the Berlin district Kiez).

“Djangos fahrende Flickwerkstatt” (2012)
Textile artist Vanessa, photographer Effrosynio Kontogeorgou and writer Dorothea Ahlemeyer set of to Eastern Europe. With the medium of the puppet Django, they visited the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bosnia and Croatia, and engaged with people on questions of happiness, sorrow, hope. Due to interaction with these people new puppets were created with found fabric and materials. The result was a patchwork of stories, pictures and experience, which is documented in an art book.
(Winner of the competition " 2012" - a programme of the Schering Foundation and the association MitOst e.V.)

Grrrgz wants to go home…

I had a opurtunity to interview Vanessa this week about her work and future projects, which you can read below:

What do puppets mean for you as an art medium?
I love to think about identity and to create them. The puppets are one possibility to do this. And I can create what I want. I love it, when they look like real personalities, when you feel them. 
The thing with the puppets grew out of a birthday present for a friend. I did it with another friend of mine. I liked to do it and tried more and then more ideas came, e.g. using text to describe their character and it was a feast to do, and to see what happens with the different puppets.

Did you depict typical Berlin inhabitants?
Some of them YES. "Kalle Straßenfuchs" (I created him together with my boyfriend) is one who lived all of his life on the streets of Berlin. He had so many adventures in his life but also some accidents, you can see the wounds on his body. He lost the half of his tail in fight with a car... So yes, you can find them on the streets. In Berlin you see lots of different characters. I really like it! Of course I'm inspired by this diversity. My puppets are mostly inspired by people of the districts of Kreuzberg, Neukölln and Friedrichshain.

Can you tell me more about the puppets which were created on "Django's Journey"?
The puppets are made of old fabrics and stuff from people who gave it to me as a present. The puppets Lamella and Ludmilla were part of an art and culture project in 2012 "Djangos Journey". The idea was to meet people around the Balkans, talk to them, listen to their stories, get some personal stuff from them and create a puppet out of the people we met. So every place has a character with its own identity, including every story, every person we met and of course my interpretation and artistic view.
As a frame to our trip we had the story of puppet Django, he is an adventurer and loves to travel! I created him in 2011 as a present for my friend Doro, after a while he inspired us to this project. Ludmilla was made in Bratislava. She was the fourth puppet. And she looks like a traditional woman. Lamella was the last one, I made her together with Grrrrgs. For me both were the hardest puppets to create. It was at the end of the trip and I was full of stories and experiences. It was hot and I was really tired. I had real problems, but when they were born, I was so happy! I loved them. I had the feeling, Grrrrgs was my first child.

Where do you find the materials to create the puppets and will your future work include puppets as an art medium?
I use old stuff, old fabrics, plastic... different things with their own histories. People give things to me or I find them on the streets or somewhere else. The material inspires me. My newest puppet, called "Alienfounding", is made out of an old dress I made, and I think it started a new way of creating puppets for me. The dress (which I loved) was made of white wool with a hood. After a time I decided to dye it brown. Unfortunately I forgot it was wollen and after I washed it, it shrunk to a child size - Shit. So I cried and thought about what to do... and the idea of the puppet came to me. It's a tribute to my old dress. 
The new thing is, that it's bigger and not so cute - it's more spooky. I began taking photos of it and I think, I will go in new ways directions from here. Perhaps I will do take more photos or make a small film - I'm not sure yet, but I'm positive that the ideas will come to me!

If you want to know more about her work, please check out her website and Facebook page:

Vanessa's website

Vanessa's Facebook page

1 comment:

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