A participant post-Tattoo in Letting Go 'elan'

A victorious Letting Go participant © Studio Stellmach

In The Letting Go participants are invited to engage in a unique experience with the artist, resulting in a text-based bloodline tattoo on their body. A bloodline tattoo is a marking of the skin that fades over time, created when a tattoo machine is used without ink. This is not scarification.

Through a one-to-one enquiry with Natascha and in response to the question, What would you like to let go of? a personal obstacle is identified, named and inscribed on the body. Over time as the wound heals, the word slowly disappears.

Tattoos and cuts have historical practices as initiation, identification, adornment and sacred rite. Although Stellmach’s therapy background is undeniable; these sessions are not ersatz counselling or therapy. It is in the tradition of personal ritual that Natascha performs the tattoo. Additionally, if you are curious to experience the sensation of tattooing without the permanence, then this experience could be for you.


  • takes 2 hours
  • happens in Berlin (or yearly in Melbourne)
  • is anonymous and strictly confidential
  • involves: a consultation, the word-finding process, tattooing the skin without ink and photographic documentation.
    A follow-up email exchange including a digital photograph of the tattoo is also offered to the client.

BOOKINGS: studio [at]

Day 1, La Nadine's Leid, 2015

The Letting Go: Day 1, La Nadine’s Leid, 2015


It is especially powerful to be confronted by a word as a wound. Unsettling, but brings with it great clarity. Katja, Hamburg, 2015

Natascha gives voice to vulnerability.
Audrey, Melbourne, 2013

Art that hurts. Art as ritual. I don’t do drugs, but afterwards I felt so very high. Andreas, Cologne, 2013

Natascha was like a gracious doctor or shaman that specializes in exorcising demons. Rachel, Brisbane, 2013

At the end, Natascha congratulates me and asks how I feel: as if I’ve had really great sex, or as if it were the first time.  Reinhard, Fürth, 2015

The horror of having that word scrawled above my ass forever gave me a much-needed kick. It’s more than the fear though – I named my problem. Natascha helped me.
Lily, Melbourne, 2013

Although the process appeared as if it would just touch the surface, it went much deeper than I had thought. Thank you for helping me remind myself each and every day to explore myself! Mathias, Hamburg, 2015

The day after the tattoo felt like Christmas morning. It had not disappeared overnight. It was visible and true on my skin. I was visible.  Inga, Bremen, 2013


The Letting Go: Day 2, Markus’s Omasa, 2015


• No tattoo experience is required (it hurts much less than you think)

• Universal safety tattooing precautions are followed, using sterile equipment, supplies and lotions.

• Stellmach’s Text-Tattoos eschew adornment and are intentionally unbeautiful.

• The word disappears: the wound will heal and fade across 1 week to 9 months, dependent on several factors including our care and how our skin responds to a cut.

• Participation is not permitted in cases of pregnancy, psychiatric illness or certain medical conditions where wounds are to be avoided (i.e: diabetes, epilepsy, hemophilia, cardiac insufficiency, HIV, Hepatitis C, organ or blood-thinning medication recipient)

• Although Stellmach’s therapy background is undeniable; these sessions are not ersatz counselling or therapy

• Participants (consenting adults) need to sign a standard tattooing waiver and follow simple “Aftercare” instructions.

• To keep the project alive and unless for reasons of complete anonymity, the artist requests that participants share their experience with her through selfies and/or text.


Day 1, Simon’s Tank, 2015


Stellmach hears many secrets: nonetheless employs a strict code of confidentiality, as would a doctor or therapist.  Yet what she discovers can be likened to a mirror of fears and desires. With her artistic intervention she literally does get under the skin. Heinrich Oehmsen | Hamburger Abendblatt (transl. from German) 28/7/2015

Stellmach’s artistic practice is all about transformation. Her tattoo-works, the words that she scribes into the skin of participants – are demons from which they wish to be released. Frédéric Schwilden | Die Welt (transl. from German) 13/6/2013

At the end they all leave the gallery with a smile on their lips. After all, it is always a wonderful experience to have overcome ones fears. Ingeborg Ruthe | Berliner Zeitung (transl. from German) 25/6/2013

©NataschaStellmachThe Letting Go: Mathias's Ernst & Frauke's Kerker, 2015

The Letting Go: Mathias’s Ernst & Frauke’s Kerker, 2015


Are free for participants. Places are strictly limited and usually booked out well in advance. The next performance will be publicised here.
Documentation from the most recent performance here.

Balcony view of The letting Go performance, MKG Hamburg

Stellmach performing The Letting Go, Museum für Kunst & Gewerbe Hamburg, 2015 © Studio Stellmach