An ongoing body of work exploring feminine power and the role of the artist. More text below.
Known for creating socially critical works that blur the boundaries of the personal, historical and imaginary – each of the works in Stellmach’s ongoing series, I Don’t Have a Gun begins with a single film frame, scanned from the artist’s 1970’s Super-8 home movies inclusive of its black edges. Following detailed intervention by Stellmach, the result becomes a rousing exploration of self-image, taboo and popular culture with insights that are as evocative as they are black. By co-opting images and stories from her life and popular culture, and reinterpreting them through the addition of pink drawings of empowered (yet odd) women, collage, digital manipulation and handwritten provocative prose – these one-off works become universal. Stellmach’s women whom she affectionately calls either her “babes or bitches” are both alter ego and talisman, and although the ‘guns’ they brandish are ‘loaded’ – they are fundamentally weapons of creativity.
Informed by an experience of burnout in the artists’ own life, the 2013 I Don’t Have a Gun body of work is a celebration of renewal. Stellmach does not dwell on the negative aspects of the syndrome – instead her insights are evocative and hilarious. As always, Stellmach blends fact and fiction – blurring the boundaries of the personal, the historical and the imaginary. Co-opting images from her own life, creating new pop culture texts, and offering a series of ‘live’ tattoo performances, this exhibition is a unique and empowering exploration of taboo and self-image. (more)
More about the tattoos: THE LETTING GO
I DON’T HAVE A GUN | WALL TEXT
It is summer and I am living by the beach when the smouldering begins. Are they shooting again? They must be. I ignore until it wafts down from the eucalypt hills, the unsettling scent of burning flesh. I ask my family if they can smell it too, if I should alert the firemen. They laugh, turn on the TV and offer me more champagne. My father declares that all the mad folks are on mum’s side of the family. My mother proclaims that dad is more bonkers than the entire clan and suggests that perhaps I ought to just do art as a hobby.
I pace the beach up and down, up and down and watch the visiting Tibetan monks wading in the shallows with their robes pulled high, laughing hysterically into the glaring sun and edge past them, into the depths, past the floating fishes to get a perspective because then I may see the smoke that must be up there on those hills. Besides, no one goes to the beach by daylight anymore as we’re all running here and there or for fear of the dangers that may create the disorders that no one can cure and no one swims in the water because of God knows what. Plus I’m convinced that these fierce flames must be making their way into more bodies and perhaps also during the night – oh dearie me – and that must be the reason for the charred smell of flesh. I confide in my brother, affirm my theory with statistics and testimonials and he tells me to quit being a fucking Rocket Scientist and to have another beer or a chill pill or at least write horror scripts.
And so I ask strangers…(more)
more INSTALLATION VIEWS
Wagner + Partner Berlin
Dazed Digital | Under The Gun – Review by Natalie Holmes
Berliner Zeitung | Das Böse ist immer und überall – Review by Ingeborg Ruthe (Deutsch)
Die Welt & Berliner Morgenpost | Kämpf den Dämonen – Review by Frédéric Schwilden (Deutsch)
Deutschlandradio | Kunst die unter die Haut geht – Andreas Main reports whilst being tattooed during a Stellmach happening (audio & transcript: Deutsch)
TAZ, Die Tageszeitung, Berlin | Tattoo-Happening zur Selbsterkenntnis – Review by Meike Jansen (Deutsch)
a.muse Berlin | Beyond The Smoking Gun – Review & Interview by Julie Anne Miranda–Brobeck
Troublemag | Review & Interview by Carmen Ansaldo
Nau Nua Art Magazine | Interview by Juan Carlos Romero