Thursday, February 01, 2007

Art Space Talk: Lilli Ladewig

I recently interviewed artist Lilli Ladewig. Lilli is a German artist who works from her studio in Berlin. She has a degree in math and physics from Free University in Berlin and has studied art at the UDK in Berlin.

Lilli Ladewig is known for her large figure paintings. She utilizes intense colours and solid compositions in order to create a form of 'harmonious equilibrium'. These elements come together to create a 'visual message' about the experience of humanity to the viewer.

This interview involved a great deal of translation due to a language barrier. It serves to reveal (once again) the lengths that will go to reach the global art community. I'd like to thank everyone involved with this process.

Q. When did you first discover that art would be an important part of your adult life?

A. "At the age of 17 I had a dream which, to this day, I have never forgotten. In this dream, after a tiring mountain climb, I reached the peak and received the head of a golden head. I examined it thoroughly and found inside Richard Wagner`s characteristic cap. I felt I was called upon to make a decision.

The golden head represented to me science and rational thinking. Wagner`s cap represented art. I decided to follow the golden head and studied mathematics and natural science. I passed all my final examinations which allowed me to teach at a Grammar School. A few years later, still at university, I took up Wagner`s cap and decided to study art.

During my studies, when I had time, I was already painting with oil on canvas. It was at this time I realised that my life was being more and more influenced by art. Today I spend many hours painting daily."

Q. How has society influenced your art? Are there any social implications in your art?

A. "I am an extrovert in society, and in the family, and adapt myself to life in general. It is of no interest to me to be a lonely artist who stands alone in society.

My family play a large role in my pictures. The family photos are often my inspiration. I try to bring out humanity artistically in my pictures. Thereby one sees very often partners talking together, or deeply meditating."

Q. On average, how long does it take you to create one piece?

A. "On an average it takes me from two to six weeks to complete a picture, whereby I paint daily for many hours.

From the beginning to the end each picture passes through many variations. That is why the coating varnish of the acrylic paint is so conductive.

The picture takes shape in the course of time and is not, from the beginning, firmly fixed in my mind. I try to surprise myself in my work.

The price of my pictures result from the material I use; between 100-200 Euros, plus my wage per hour of 50-100 Euros. This results in a price of between 3000-5000 Euros."

Q. Do you have any `studio rituals`? As in, do you listen to certain types of music while working? What helps to get you in the mood for working?

A. "I love to listen to classical music whilst painting - preferably piano - as I enjoy playing the piano myself. My favourite composers are Back, Beethoven and the Romantic composers Schubert, Schumann and Chopin."

Q. If you could pinpoint the characteristics of people who collect your art, what would they be?

A. "Any potential buyer of my pictures should love art. I like to get to know them personally. My works of art should also continue to be displayed in exhibitions."

Q. Discuss one of your pieces.What were you thinking when you created it?

A. ""Two Entertainers" (Zwei Spaßmacher ((Nr. 62)) (image above) I want to impress on my buyers that art should be enjoyed and I was stimulated by Verdi`s Opera "Falstaff", the gist of which in Aria Tutto nell mondo è burlo (The whole world is a stage) is expressed. You can only enjoy life with a partner. Both hold a palette in their hands and are curious as to the outcome of the picture.

Anybody who is ambitious, is also eager to foresee the future. "Create a Sensation" (Sensationslust ((Nr. 9)) The media are responsible for this picture because they confront us daily with crime and violence. We, as critics, react no more to this violence due to the continuous confrontation with it. The reporter in the picture finds only one person among all the spectators who shows any kind of sympathy (the sensative artist?)"

Q. Why did you choose the medium(s) that you use?

A. "At the beginning I painted with oil, but because the drying process took much longer than acrylic I couldn`t paint over it. Therefore I prefer painting with acrylic as it coincides with my style.

I have had contact with art throughout my whole life and have visited the large museums throughout the whole world. I am a regular visitor to all the museums here in Berlin. A city extremely rich in museums. That is the reason why I concentrate mainly on painting on canvas. The large paintings for me are the embodiment of art."

Q. Where can we see more of your art?

A. "In the last few years I have concentrated on online galleries. The online galleries have given me a much wider outlet for my pictures to a far greater number of people. And I have far more contact with other artists throughout the world.

My works of art can be seen and commented on in: (a Gallery in Germany)."

Q. What trends do you see in the `art world`?

A. "I am rather critical when it comes to trends in the world of art. Modern art is very strongly dominated by the market. Art is regarded too strongly as an invaluable possession and is very much commercialised.
Modern art is partly top-heavy and is seen without any explanation or philosophy from the artist which for the layman is misunderstood. Today modern works have to be explained to the layman and too much emphasis is placed on concietedness and sensation.
Unfortunately more and more scenes are shown of the morbid human existence. For me art should manifest life`s ever growing development."

Q.Has your work ever been censored? If so, how did you deal with it?

A. "I was extremely surprised that the online gallery eradicated two harmless nudist pictures from their website. Nudist paintings cover a large field in the history of art."

Q.In one sentence.... why do you create art?

A. "It is the thorough enjoyment of creating something. To produce something which is immortal."

Q. What can you tell our readers about the art scene in your area?

A. "Berlin, the capital city of Germany is a very young, international, active, scene of art. In Berlin it is affordable to rent an artists studio, an appartment (flat) to live in in comparison to Paris, London or New York.
There are many continuous exhibitions here in Berlin of contemporary artists held in large buildings such as "Hamburger Bahnhof", "The Gropius Building" and the "New National Gallery" More than 100 Galleries here in Berlin give us the opportunity of seeing, in various fields, works of art of contemporary artists.
Last year Berlin housed large exhibitions. Works of MOMA, Rembrandt and Goya. Annually Berlin houses the Art Fair Forum Berlin and every two years the Berlin Biennale - contemporary art exhibition."

Q. Has politics ever entered your art?

A. "It has proved that political art, which was propogated in the Soviet Union under Stalin - is no proper art as such. Propagander and art do not match. Although some advertisements can be very artistic. Therefore I refrain from painting political pictures."

Q. Does religion, faith, or the lack thereof play a part in your art?

A. "I am an active Christian (Lutheran) but belief and religion does not play a dominating role in my works of art."

Q. Is there anything else you would like to say about your art or the `art world`?

A. "I want to draw your attention once again to the Online Galleries. I have found them most rewarding. Communication has been made easier with artists all over the world together with the introduction of their works of art through this method. The interviews are particularly stimulating and rewarding and I would like to thank Brian for making this all possible."

I hope that you have enjoyed my interview with Lilli Ladewig. Feel free to critique or discuss her work.

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin

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