Birgit Thalau MFA

Master-Thesis: "Embracing the echo"

Betreuung: Prof. Theo Smeets, Prof. Ute Eitzenhöfer

"By questioning the origins and validity of their artistic practise, artists have understood and shown that traditions and the world are constantly changing. Without this sometimes-necessary blank state, the suggestion - rather, the demand for filling in could enrichen this research. There also exist examples from our material culture, where monuments or objects have been abolished or removed because people felt that they were no longer desired and appreciated. By the way we handle them, we may communicate the significance of these objects to us, let them convey emotions which we are not always aware of or which we may not express directly. This shows that concepts and their corresponding physical manifestation accompany us through various moments of life and are even able to enhance multi-layered narratives and meanings - the ones occurring in the past and the new ones.

These positions have first led me to the process of drastically reducing earlier jewellery pieces to one main material. The casted replica resulted in a loss of surface texture, details, and colour. Looked at from far, the works appeared almost neutral and developed a need for more depth. A silence had fallen over the objects, like a moment of hesitation between the authentic and the repeated object. In the very first moment, when the material solidifies, there stands for me a lapse of memory, a disappointment, and this makes me relive moments of life that have been emptied of meaning to me. The appearance of my beloved pieces is only a vague representation of the real and their original meaning is imperfectly apprehended. Despite the fact that the absent pieces to which I refer to are to me like "close relatives", I start questioning their importance and value. By discarding my past world, my intention became to deliberately lose and to deceive.

Nevertheless, I have tried to develop a love for incompleteness, for scratching out or skipping and to deal with this consistently. I pursue, push ahead the reproduction repeatedly. I am also drawn to the internal, negative spaces of my objects, the flawed or faded parts. They mysteriously resonate emotional values and give way to new strata. This constant overwriting of content and material presence forced me to let go. By means of creative making, inventing approaches that hide and make me discover at the same time, forms and colours appear like an opportunity that needs to be embraced. To me, the developing jewellery pieces uncover new significance and magic within the disappearance."

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