I discover her multi-genre works ten years ago and I love the shapes informed from movement practices, anti-materialism, primal memory, utopian excavations, and radical embodiment
My handmade objects and architectures re-imagine everyday economies such as the shop, park, and home, where private and public mingle in a consommé/sludge. I create immersive systems that transform spectators into participants, and examine themes of ownership, agency, and exchange
How did it begin?
My childhood dollhouse obsession
How would you present your work?
First, within a context I believe in, and with gratitude and love. I like to create experiences or encounters that make up a whole world, an entire cosmos, that proposes and puts into reality another plane of inhabiting space—even if momentary and even if ragamuffin. Some call this Gesamtkunstwerk, I just think mostly about creating sets or a process closer to theatre. My smaller works are like studies for big spaces or scenes, basically nonsense dollhouses in a way. I think about matter –objects, materiality, the physical world we see– as catalysts for, and records of sensory experience… and it’s the experience I see as the completed work, for which the art object becomes a kind of artifact or souvenir. It’s this imprinting, between inner worlds and outer worlds that is miraculous to me
Tell me more about your Gesamtkunstwerk
Well, I am interested in creating whole worlds or realities, because it makes me feel ecstatic and really believe things can be a new way for real. I am an artist who wants to make worlds instead of critiquing or observing the one we have, it’s just who I am. It was there from the beginning when I was making dollhouses and all the furniture and food and people inside of them. Whether I’m constructing a full installation or set, or making a body of discreet sculptures, I think of them in this kind of new universe sort of way. I believe this is fundamentally connected to my experiences as a woman and a girl, and as a person who has experienced acutely abuse of power. The thing about creating whole worlds of course, is that it walks an edge between utopianism and fascism, after all, it was Wagner who is often attributed with the first Gesamtkunstwerks. But this is also very fascinating to me, that the nexus of consciousness and violence are forged together.
Where do you make your works?
My studio is in my home, so mostly at home, but sometimes while traveling too
What can’t be missing from your worktable?
My tools and materials change with bodies of work, but I always have need for a Sharpie marker! I fantasize about being an artist who works with the same things for each project, but really if that happened I’d lose interest. It’s just the antithesis of what being an artist means to me
Collection you wish at least one work of yours was part of?
The market or your need to express?
The desire to excavate and the joy in transmission
Lightness or depth?
I don’t know how to separate these two states
Day or night?
I used to be a night person, but the structure of my life has changed and I’m learning to love the day. It’s a slow process, but I’m making marked progress
Question you’ve never been asked but one you’ve always wanted to answer?
Space is expanding, can I give you more without taking away anybody else’s?
Answer that question…
Could you briefly describe one of your latest works?
I just launched a mail order catalogue project called OUTFIT containing functional work-wear I design and fabricate. The experimental economy is informed by my large collection of Soviet and East German mail order catalogues. You can find more information here, and also request a catalogue: http://www.fawnkrieger.com/outfit.html
What's on your desk right now
A sewing machine and OUTFIT orders to fill
The image of your desktop
A solar eclipse – you mean my computer desktop right?
What are you reading?
I’m currently reading Maya Deren’s collected writings, published by Documentext, and just finished Schiller’s The Song of the Bell which my 74 year old neighbor from Cologne just lent me, in exchange for my lending her A Woman In Berlin. Also, Chelsea G. Summers’ essay entitled “The Politics of Pockets: The History of Pockets Isn’t Just Sexist, it’s Political”, which my friend, artist Keiko Narahashi just emailed me. And I just got The Futurist Cookbook by Marinetti and Fillia!!
2001: A Space Odyssey
Where do you live now? How much does your living in a place influence your work?
I live in New York City, in a little brick house built in the year of 1933.
Place influences my work tremendously, whether I live there or simply visit. But place, for me, isn’t limited to physical surroundings, it also includes a psychological landscape, memory and history, sensorial observations, moment… I absorb, and reconstitute it into things outside of my body. It’s why materials like concrete and foam and clay often resurface in my work. These materials record impressions, they bring memory into the present
Where would you like to live?
Leipzig in summer / Mexico City in winter
Do you have reference artists? Artists you’d like to work with?
Always Ree Morton, Lygia Clark, Guy de Cointet, Joan Jonas, David Hammons, and early Robert Whitman. Right now I’m often thinking about work by Varvara Stepanova, Thea Djordjadze, Jilaine Jones, Lavinia Schulz, Nairy Baghramian, Eva Kotátková, Otto Dix!!!, and Matthew Ronay. I also always look at traditional arts from the South Pacific, and constantly neolithic and chalcolithic markmaking and objects. I want to work with Gaby Hoffman and Yvonne Rainer
A project, related to art, that you’d like to do?
I’d like to make a TV show
If you weren’t an artist, what job would you like?
I would be a humanitarian aid worker, or a healer who works with crystals, or a chef, or a cat psychologist
A dream of yours?
Equal, high quality, secular, and free education for everyone, from childcare through university
And your night dreams?
My dreams are often stories within stories, so it seems there’s one reality and then there’s actually another entire reality that frames it that I don’t see until the end. It’s like two concurrent stories that merge into one through a perceptual shift
We are living the Anthropocene period, what does Nature mean to you?
Nature means to me, the innate properties of matter and energy, whether live or inanimate. Nature is quantum, and is misplaced by notions of the pictorial or the consumable. What is natural is the state when a body is at rest. Nature does not align itself with good or bad, it simply is. Digital things, constructed chemicals, war even, these matters have their own natures, just as love, passing, and a bush. Surroundings and laws of physics are different in other places, like a black hole or a dream—these things are also nature. It’s interesting to me that the general idea of nature has come to mean our exterior realities as well as our inner most instincts. I suppose as our current organic environment diminishes, our inner worlds will also transform into a new, unrecognizable human nature