Silke Dettmers


The necessity of wonder. It’s a state of mind, the impetus behind her work, and what may come of it.
Her studio has pictures on the walls. Often these are of natural disasters.
Worthing beach.
Gare montparnasse.
Wondering about them sets off trains of thought.
Her leaning house and little people.
Great example of work which is a musing on a theme, not conclusive, opens further dialogue.
Eg Casper David Friedlich’s The Wreck of Hope being an allegory of industrialisation.

Dettmer talked about having a large studio space. Despite the running costs this is essential to her, as it gives her space to pile up all the bits and pieces which she wobbles. They get laid on top of each other, gradually forming an object-based pallette to work from. I can definitely relate to that.
‘My studio is, in fact, the place where I am working’ – Damien Birem, 2006
‘The studio as terra incognita’ – Gerard Byrne

Dettmer also refers to smaller scale collections of apparently unconnected objects, such as cabinets of curiosities or random displays such as Ole Worms work. Objects placed together with no obvious connections which then go on to suggest 3rd meanings.
In her approach to work and objects, Dettmer says she needs to see them in person, to experience smells and even touch them, because the object is everything.

It’s been 5 months since I heard all this, and in that time I have moved into a new studio myself. This all seems so exactly relevant to my practice I feel a reassurance that I am on the right track. Even if my studio is rather far from cavernous. For now.
Sharing with an illustrator and a sound artist whose beautiful works emerge from beautiful clean and tidy spaces, my junkyard in the middle is an hilarious contrast. It’s mine and I love it.

Dettmer also produced the ‘All Aboard’ photographic series, in response to being evicted from her previous studio to make way for the construction of the Olympic park. This also really grabbed me for two reasons: One is that it was a real 2D departure for an object based practitioner. Second is that the photos where featured in The Guardian after she approached them. Proactive. Find your own opportunities.

Fnally ‘ there is an optimism in making visual something which otherwise did not exist- in using reclaimed materials more related to narrative of object. This is verging on nostalgia’ which is something she is keen to evolve, so that things involve a little less looking backwards…

Love it

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