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An interview with Saskia Wendland

Exhibiting in this year’s “Goldrausch 2017” exhibition, beginning on September 8th, German artist Saskia Wendland talks us through what the programme has been like so far.

Paula Kenny: What is your background as an artist?

Saskia Wendland: I studied visual communication at the Berlin University of Arts from 1994 to 2000. Shortly after, I moved to Kyoto to study Japanese calligraphy for two years, supported by grants of the DAAD and the Japanese Government.

But there are many more aspects that shaped me as an individual, and my artistic practice. I grew up in a protestant family in East-Germany. I have an older brother, who is also an artist. I have travelled alone. Not to mention the influence of all the works of artists and writers. But I guess that would be a longer talk…

P.K.: How did you hear about the Goldrausch project?

S.W.: As far as I remember, I heard about the project through a friend. I applied for the first time in 2006.

P.K.: Why did you apply?

S.W.: From what I learned about Goldrausch – mainly through talks with former participants – the programme seemed to provide the setting I was looking for – a supportive network of professionals, and a challenging programme focusing on the complex demands of artistic work.

P.K.: Do you think it is difficult to gain exposure as a female artist?

S.W.: A quote by Eva Hesse pops into my mind: “The way to beat discrimination in art is by art. Excellence has no sex.” I think that’s a fantastic line. However, yes, it is still a subject, but not only for female artists. I guess there is hardly any field where women’s work is equally respected.

P.K.: Do you think the large art scene in Berlin helps artists or is it becoming too competitive?

S.W.: The competition is definitely high, especially when it comes to funding and grants for artists. But I think it is also a chance to meet a lot of creative minds. I prefer to look at the advantages, rather than the disadvantages.

P.K.: What do you hope to gain from the project?

S.W.: On the 8th of September we opened the exhibition of “Goldrausch 2017“. After working on a website and a catalogue it is another great step in this year’s’ intense schedule. I feel I’ve gained a lot already by being part of this year’s program.
We had the chance to work closely with professionals from different fields, including a coach and mentor working with us on time management, an art critic advising us on working with authors, a team for public relations promoting our exhibition, not to mention the team working with us on the websites and catalogues.

P.K.: What piece of work will you be exhibiting?

S.K.: In the exhibition, I am showing two drawings; 29.8.2016 – 16.6.2017, 2017, coloured pencil on paper, 160 × 173 cm and Ohne Titel (Sinus), 2015, coloured pencil on paper, 160 × 173 cm.
The drawing 29.8.2016 – 16.6.2017 is part of an ongoing series of drawings. Every morning and evening I stand in close proximity to a large paper pinned to the wall and draw a single circle, measuring the full length of my arm. I repeat the act on the same paper until I feel the circle is ready — strong enough to stand alone. The title of each drawing of the series is the time span in which the drawing developed – mostly over period of six to nine months.

I display many more of my works on my website www.saskiawendland.de/

The exhibition Goldrausch 2017 will be open until September 23rd, 2017 at Kunstquartier Bethanien, Berlin.