13. März 2015

Artist Statement

Filed under: — iris @ 20:26

Katalog / Catalogue Iris R. Selke      downloud


After my experiences with painting and sculpture as well as with performing art (theatre and dance), I decided to use photography, film, video and performance as my artistic expression means. This decision matured together with the realization that in my work the topics politics, gender, identity and history seem to manifest themselves. The means mentioned seem more appropriate for me to visualize my ideas.

However at the beginning of each project I start with sketches. With the drawn sketch my idea finds its way to the realization. For this I differentiate the employment of the media exactly: I use video, in order to make a cinematic sketch. I use film, if the statement needs movement and time, photography, if I manifest one moment, and performance, in order to express feelings and emotions through living pictures.

In a complex working process develop ideas from the feeling, which become contents, and which determine the choice of the material. At the end the development is usually the visual manifestation. Internet and library researches as well as questionings competent interview partners accompany the working process. The reflection of the contemporary art context takes likewise influence. The work develops as subjective view of my external world from the own biography, from observations, experiences and the study of the human interactions.

In the context of my performances I use my own body as object and personify at the same time another object. This happens for example into “SURFACE TONS of FACE – Hommage ton of Martina Navratilova “(2000). In this performance a ball hurling machine confronts me. The body is instrument and tool, it is constantly available and the only thing, which really belongs to me. I often exaggerate my work here, since the possibilities for changes lie at the extremes. Part of my work strategy is based on the moment of shock and fear – as for instance in the performance “Splendid isolation” (1999), in which my face, my eye, is being cut by a razor-blade. Actually caused pain is not my intention, the notion of pain is effective enough for changing effects and a so called catharsis.

The Challenge

My works are clearly structured, simple and developed without special technical expenditure. I find that a large expenditure of technology overloads the actual statement. Nevertheless substantial research and knowledge is based on medical, scientific, legal and crafts. Being and remaining independent of the medium is what I find important for doing art projects. Referring to a position in the present and to represent the experienced subjectively and if necessary provocatively. Art helps me to orientate myself in life. I recreate myself through my work.

The challenge for artists of my generation is to be an iconoclast and a reunificator at the same time. Respect history but remain myself within the chances of my generation. Like the medieval jester it is my position being the mirror of social emotions and awareness.

My Shortfilm “One of the third generation” (1998) tells the story of my grandmother. Her fate is surely not an individual case, shaped by the two world wars and her end in an old people’s home. Exposing and frank I show parts of her story in an interview; confronting myself with my not only flattering roots and as her so-called heiress. My question remains: “Will I become as “funny” and “bad” as she was in the end?” In this film I follow so called  existential questions like “Where do we come from” and “Where do we go to?” or “Why?”. In pass the questions on to the viewers. Usually with a certain delay result  argument and confrontation.


More directly on the recipient is the performance  “Narziss” of 1997, as it provokes the decision relatively directly whether one can bear to watch it. Thus I try to act as an artist mediating between object and recipient, mediating between more visualized “more virtually” and “more felt”. As an artist I carry responsibility, which cannot be exhausted in the maintenance value. I infer pictures from the collective psychological and physical memory, transform them and give them a visual form. Importantly in the art seems to me to place questions about explosive topics of personal and social nature. An artist must be more than ever sensitive for the intersections of private and public life. Creative humans become the public subject, if they pose questions to the public. In my appearances and exhibitions I try to do so.

For example do I look in my work “THE AGREEMENT” (2002) for an answer to the questions: Is politics a play? What  value does policy today still have?”.

Peter Müller, Prime Minister of Saarland, tried to answer  these questions 2002 in “Panorama”, a prominent political German t.v. program. I used two minutes of the speech, in which Dr. Müller comments the Upper House of Parliament tuning to the immigration law. This performance was shown  in the exhibition “common ground # 1″ in the federal state representations of Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony in Berlin. It is my interest to fascinate the viewer enough that he overcomes his possible uneasiness for curiousity.

Recalling the past

My personal statement to contemporary art is: Art or life cannot be manages without a profound knowledge of our past.

Iris Rosemarie Selke


Künstler  Statement

Der Körper ist mein Werkzeug. Mit ihm drücke ich das aus, was ich nicht sagen kann. Um Dinge zu kommunizieren, benutze ich den Körper mal als Objekt, mal verwandle ich ihn, indem ich andere Objekte benutze. Ich möchte einen lebendigen Eindruck der physischen und psychischen Traumata vermitteln, die sich in unserem kollektiven Gedächtnis befinden. Die tatsächliche Zufügung von Schmerzen halte ich nicht für notwendig und ist  nicht Ziel, die Vorstellung allein erzielt die verändernde Wirkung.

Meine Bilder sind klar strukturiert, einfach und ohne besonderen technischen Aufwand entwickelt. Ich sehe eine Gefahr darin, dass mit einem großen Aufwand von Technik die eigentliche Aussage in den Hintergrund gerät. Dennoch kann die Konzentration auf das Wesentliche nur durch umfassende Recherche und Wissensaneignung zum Beispiel aus medizinischen, wissenschaftlichen, rechtskundlichen, handwerklichen Bereichen erreicht werden und das Ziel sein.

Die Frage nach der eigenen wie auch der gesellschaftlichen Identität, die Stellung von Geschichte und Politik in Kunst und Alltag sowie die Bedeutung von Sexualität, Gender und Kunstgeschichte sind die zentralen Themen, die mich dabei antreiben.

Unabhängig vom jeweiligen Medium heißt für mich Kunst zu schaffen, Fragen zu stellen oder mehr noch: eine Position in der Gegenwart zu beziehen und das Erlebte subjektiv und gegebenenfalls provokativ darzustellen. Durch die Kunst orientiere ich mich in meinem Leben. Ich schaffe mir durch meine Arbeit eine eigene Realität, sehe mich als Künster in der vermittelden aber nicht belehrenden Funktion .

Die Herausforderung

Für Künstler/innen der neueren, also auch meiner Generation, ist, das künstlerische Erbe uns hinterlassen wurde von den früheren Generationen, anzunehmen und weiter zu entwickeln, Rezipienten auf rationaler und emotionaler Ebene mit blinden Flecken zu konfrontieren, Phantasie zu stimulieren, Unbequemes hervorzubringen und auszuformulieren. Gleich dem mittelalterlichen Hofnarren ist es die Position des Künstlers/in, Spiegel der Gesellschaft zu sein.






  1. Dear Iris Elke,

    I am a french PhD student in the University of Angers and I’m doing my research on feminism and performance art in the 80’s and the 90’s. I contact you today for my PhD research.
    In my doctorial thesis, I want to work on the impact of feminism in artists’s lives. My goal is to work on personal life and art(such as studies, family, knowledge about feminism, work, seminars and conferences…) to analyse how feminist’s concepts are included in some artists lives.
    Would you allow me to send you a questionnaire on those issues?
    If you prefer, we can organized a meeting on skype. Unfortunately, I am not going to be able to travel to meet you in Germany.
    I hope that my request is clear and I remain available for any questions you may have.

    Thank you for your time.

    Best regards,

    Floris Taton
    PhD student in History at University of Angers

    Kommentar by Floris Taton — 5. Mai 2015 @ 11:05

  2. Dear Floris Taton,

    I am sorry, I just notice that you arks for an Skype interview.
    Since a long time I m refresh me website, so I saw your comment on me website.
    I am not sure if you still want´s to have some questions to me or you finished
    your work already.
    If you still interested even it was for nearly 1/2 year. I am willing to worke
    with you.

    Kind Regards
    With best wishes

    Ms. Iris R. Selke

    Kommentar by iris — 2. Oktober 2015 @ 16:09

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  4. Dear Deborah,
    just work to refesh me web side and swa your coment.
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