UNSEEN Magazine Issue 3: Autumn 2016 | Anthology
Excerpt from UNSEEN publication of an interview with artist Fiona Struengmann (b.1986, Germany). The artist incorporates photography and drawing into her work, finding a shared language of expression between them...
UNSEEN: You are presenting two new bodies of work at Unseen this year as part of a larger project. What are you exploring in these new works?
FS: My new series Dialogue explores human nature and the essence of communication. Our hands are the primary tool of interaction in any environment and, indeed, any language. We start to adopt and imitate gestures in our unconsciousness and unveil parts of our inside to the outside. They are a fascinating tool and a tender means of expression. Needleview on the other hand documents my natural surrounding; all captured through a tiny pinhole. A dive into a personal state of being, described in shapes, forms, light and shadow.
UNSEEN: Tell us more about the self-made pinhole camera with which you created the images in both Needleview and Dialogue. Are you interested in the material processes of photography?
FS: I wanted to redefine photography for myself. What is it actually about? How do we see and perceive it? Instead of a camera lens I created my own aperture, which only lets light into the camera with a tiny needle-sized pinhole. It’s a variation of the camera obscura. Through the regular depth of field, the perception of near and far becomes a blurry impression, which lets you see differently and allows for an internal contemplation. It’s about a moment turning into eternity and a focus on the wordless dialogue between the picture and the spectator.
UNSEEN: You incorporate both photography and drawing in your practice and there are striking similarities between the ways you use each medium. How do you find they relate to each other?
FS: On holding my photographs in ones hand, a spectator may find them somehow more like a drawing and it is exactly this ambivalence that I like to trigger in my work. Both my photographs and drawings relate in sentiment and reductiveness. They are the only two disciplines that allow me to express the reflective, nostalgic and meditative notions I seek to convey. The works I’ve been creating drive a certain hunger for detail and at the same, act as a space to get lost in - for me and the viewer.