Drawing Languages for Dissent. CAS Research Group, July 2020
Artist Miriam Cahn
Badischer Kunstverein writes about Miriam Cahn. The artist creates ‘transitions rather than borders; diffusion rather than difference.’ More information about Cahn.
Link to Cahn’s exhibition I As Human at Museum of the Vistula, Warsaw 29.11.2019 – 01.03.2020
Artist Miriam Cahn said:
“When I create these landscapes I stand right in the middle of them, I lie around in them, I’m not actually in control. … I have certain materials. I put myself, as a whole person, as a whole woman, into certain moods and I work on the floor, at the table with my whole body with these materials. I
often have certain structures – that’s clear. I know whether I intend to create a sphere, or a landscape, whether I intend to create figures. But I don’t know how many and this always takes the form of a series. … It is a process which is already given, determined by the dust arising from the chalk. I spread the dust onto the paper and that is really an old-fashioned, a lost process which maybe wise women used in bygone days. Let’s say it’s similar to reading tea leaves. The process is called ‘reading in the dust’.
… Conscious, subconscious – that’s an expression which characterises Freud’s work. I’ve nothing against Mr Freud. I think he was an artist, but these are simply expressions which are too limiting. I’ve got a moto: that is, ‘complete subjectivity’. This is concerned with such terms as subconscious
and conscious. But it isn’t this division … it is everything together. It is more of a kind of flowing process, whereas this subdivision between conscious and subconscious is again a part of our system of dividing up things which can’t be divided up in this way.
… It used to be said that a woman was nervous before her period and nowadays a woman is capable of working with it. It is certainly a form of energy which exists. I really do structure my work in this way. I really do take a break afterwards and date it exactly so that I have a form of control as to what is really happening. It is really something very simple and something of an everyday nature and is concerned with the fact that I really would like women’s culture to gain more importance again.
… in our culture, black means sad … but for me black is rather the colour of life. The things portrayed there – the women and the figures and the animals and also the landscapes – always consist of conflicting contents. They should, at least, always produce a conflict.
It isn’t necessarily because of the colour, but this black chalk with its dust has a tremendous number of possibilities, which have nothing to do with either painting or drawing, but which, in themselves, are something special. It has its own material quality, resembling nothing else. … It’s a circling
around myself in the hope that, in this way, I shall discover a few things about being a woman and, of course, about myself, too.
I hope that the work is so open that it isn’t only feminist. But the path leading to this is clearly feminist – the emphasis on physical work, the emphasis on physical cycles, the emphasis on menstruation, ovulation, birth, the gift of child-bearing, children and all these things.’
(Sandy Nairne, State Of The Art, Ideas & Images in the 1980s, 1987, pp. 109-114).