For me painting is a form of processing memory. It is a means of probing into the past through memories of personal experiences as well as historic narratives and stories. Painting is a process through which I can also relive parts of the past, which lie beyond the grasp of my own personal memories. Thus a personal past becomes interwoven with recent German history.
My painting is influenced by the place where I grew up – an outer post of the concentration camp Buchenwald. I spent my happy childhood playing in the idyllic setting of the former prisoner ward, the hospital ward for children of Polish and Russian agricultural workers or in the nearby quarry. The longings of the economic miracle with its illusions of happiness have blurred and covered the traces of the concentration camp. Growing up I had no idea on what kind of premises we were playing.
The artistic process is not a retrospection of history, which aims to judge and value, but an attempt at letting memory gain its own reality and to experience the present through the process of remembering. In this process time is not experienced chronologically, as a time which passes in front of my eyes as if I was watching a TV programme, observing the events as a voyeur. It is much more a time, which stands still, in which there is no past and no future, a time, which expands as we observe and which unfolds its own properties.
In the process of painting I attempt to overcome the silence of the images. The original pictures are changed, disturbed, and alienated in order to penetrate and break through the closed wall of the picture. I then reconstruct the image – not as a representation of reality, but as reality running parallel to the illusionary aspects of the visible. My works have their own reality through their flat surface, their seeming spatial depth, their discontinuity of space and surface, their realism and abstraction, their interplay between sharpness and blurring. They appear to be apparitions telling of other worlds and which follow their own rules of physical effigies. A parallel world emerges, which – at first sight – is connected to the environment we are familiar with.