Interview: Tamara Muller
Die Arbeiten von Tamara Muller sind wirklich mehr als merkwürdig. Einerseits athmosphärisch und faszinierend, sind sie gleichzeitig erschreckend und seltsam.
Bemerkenswert ist, daß es so gut wie ausschliesslich um junge Mädchen geht, die allesamt das Gesicht der Künstlerin selbst tragen und mit Hasen, Katzen und Hamstern posieren — oftmals mit einem befremdlich sexualisierten Subtext.
Relativ lange habe ich überlegt, was ich davon eigentlich halten soll — so sehr passt Tamara Muller’s Beschreibung der Dinge, die sie inspirieren, auch auf ihre Werke: Things that make you want to close your eyes and at the same time give you the urge to watch. Aber alleine der Umstand, daß die Bilder zum Nachdenken anregen, ist ein guter Grund für ein Feature.
With both parents being artists I was surrounded by works of art and could get my hands on lots of material to work with.
Diskursdisko: Hi Tamara. To start things off, what’s your background? When did you start painting?
Tamara Muller: Since early childhood I have been drawing and painting. With both parents being artists I was surrounded by works of art and could get my hands on lots of material to work with. Because I liked so many artforms (music, theatre, books, film and photography) it took me some time to choose painting as most important medium.
I actually studied Graphic Design receiving also lessons in drawing, painting, photography and film. After graduating I started to paint ‘for real’. Aside from that I made illustrations in newspapers for a while, and was engaged in theatrical activities. At one point I obtained a Masters of Fine Art degree and decided to focus at creating my own things.
I get inspired by things that make you want to close your eyes and at the same time give you the urge to watch.
Diskursdisko: How do you mainly produce your art? Do you have a system or method that you adhere to?
Tamara Muller: My method changes from time to time but in general this is the way I work: There is always the last series of paintings. From that I start thinking. Either I am gonna do it differently or I am not finished with it yet.
I read — books, newspapers, see movies, go to the theatre, walk through the woods — anything —I absorb and get new ideas. Then I start making photographs of myself. With my camera, or camera on my mobile telephone. (As I am the model of almost every person in the paintings). Sometimes I make sketches/collages.
After that I start painting (using photographs, sketches, and other material): first layer acrylic and than layers in oil.
Sometimes I stay close to the initial idea, sometimes the painting develops into something completely different.
I always work on more pieces at the time. The paint has to dry for days, so I can always keep busy. And working on all the paintings together I can keep an eye on the series as a whole.
Diskursdisko: What inspires you?
Tamara Muller: I get inspired by things that make you want to close your eyes and at the same time give you the urge to watch.
Diskursdisko: Your artwork is centered around portraits of young girls, often with rabbits and cats… The paintings seem strangely spooky to me, often bordering on the frightening — how did you develop this style? What’s the background?
Tamara Muller: When I was a teenager, and later on as a student, I always felt the need to do self-portraits. My first solo exhibition consisted of a series of paintings portraying girls surrounded by puppets and small animals. I didn’t dare to call these self-portaits, yet they showed my inner demons, fear and desire. … ‘With a reference to Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray, it could be argued her pseudo-self portraits reveal more about her inner life than her actual looks’…Tamara Muller – Parallel worlds, essay by Mette Gieskes.
As the work developed I tried to create some kind of interaction/play between the girls and the viewer. Less about only my inner world, more about the universal themes as power. As ‘the outside world’ played a bigger role in the work, the faces of the figures became more frequently my mirror image. By now these girls (with my face on) can play any role they want on the canvas: man, woman, girl or boy, beast or puppet.
Of all the work I have made I have kept only one ‘small’ painting myself.
Diskursdisko: Of all the work you’ve created, or at least the ones showcased on your website, can you name a couple that you have a special love for or connection to?
Tamara Muller: The work on my website is actually already a selection. Of all the work I have made I have kept only one ‘small’ painting myself. It’s from the series dreamgirlsNR.1 2007- 50cm x50 cm. In fact that one is a real self-portrait.
I would like to work with new galleries in The Netherlands or abroad. But first I need to work.
Diskursdisko: Do you have any specific plans for the future direction of your artwork?
Tamara Muller: Over the last two years I made several series of work linked to either a space or theme: A series of small works for a Solo exhibition in Tokyo, where space was limited. A group exhibition in The Museum Of Modern Art- Arnhem called ‘About a hunter, a girl and a wolf’, and a series of works for a group-exhibition inspired by a trip to Malaysia together with 7 dutch artists.
Within these limitations I felt plenty of room to experiment, but having done these series I now feel the need to work freely and concentrated on new works with no limitations as time, theme or space.
I think I will start with a series of sketch/ collage/ drawings on paper and after that start on canvas. I do not know yet where these works will be exhibited. I would like to work with new galleries in The Netherlands or abroad. But first I need to work.
Diskursdisko: Tamara, many thanks for the interview – is there anything you’d like to add?
Tamara Muller: In the near future (autum 2009) my website will be renewed and updated!
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