On a grey January day, it really elevates my mood to visit the lively Theresa Rothe in her studio in Plagwitz. The Leipzig-based artist describes art as her personal need, as a tool with which she can process and show her thoughts and feelings. Hovering between playfully sweet and bewildering, she creates pieces which are not clearly classifiable. Her artistic works are an interplay of different media combining sculpture, installation, drawing, painting and performance. Theresa chooses her dreams as her greatest inspiration, allowing us to enter a world of colour and boundless imagination.
From an early age Theresa loved to draw and generally create things with her hands. She soon realised that “there was so much more that wanted to come out.“ Growing up in Dresden, she was always supported in her dreams. She says that her parents grew up in the DDR and therefore did not have the opportunity to study back then, nor did they have the same variety of opportunities as she has today. That’s why they were particularly open-minded towards their daughter. “Do what feels good to you and what you want to do.”
Initially trained as a design assistant, Theresa soon grasped that this was not her path. It didn’t fulfill her to work towards the expectations of others and only finish one thing to start the next. It seemed to be all about producing. She started studying sculpture at Hfbk in Dresden and made Leipzig her new home, right after graduating.
Theresa re-embeds dreams
Theresa’s artistic practice feeds on personal impressions and thoughts that appear before her inner eye – day and night. She says that she sleeps and dreams a lot and is particularly fascinated by the process one experiences shortly before falling asleep and immediately after waking up, where the “head is completely loose and free.“
images by PILOTENKUECHE or supplied by artist
However, she emphasizes that dreams are her greatest source of inspiration.
“I dreamed of my entire diploma project.” This project is about being in the stomach of a big cat. Inside is a milk-giving fountain. “I just wanted to see it.”
Theresa’s personal process
The artist usually only uses her quickly written notes on the thoughts and images she has experienced and starts creating immediately. She remembers the basic feeling the idea gave her, like being warm, soft, mobile, wobbly, etc. Trusting this feeling, she goes to the hardware store to look for materials and techniques. For her, it is important to follow her intuition when making decisions. The hardware store is and remains very inspiring as well, she says with a laugh.
As the artist likes to work with a creative narrative language, her sculptures often show real body details. These can be more realistic, or sometimes more abstract. In this way, the things she wants to express take on a kind of personality. Perhaps they are able to present some topics more simply, if not more naturally, than some words.
Theresa enjoys playing with the topic of ambivalence in her practice. Fundamental to this are her own feelings:
“I myself am carrying so many ambivalent feelings inside of me. There’s so much in between black and white.“
At first glance, her pieces may seem quite playful, rather childlike. However if you think further, they also have this humorous element in them to deal with sad and harder topics. They could be a good distraction from the darkness. Theresa’s works can be understood in various ways, reflecting the reality of most situations, the good and the bad. She leaves it up to the observer to decipher the artworks from their own perspective. The interplay of different feelings can and should be allowed to exist at the same time. This is the essence of Theresa’s work as an artist.
Written by Marlene Neumaier
You can keep up with Theresa at her website or catch up with her at Galerie Irrgang or one of our upcoming shows.
vernissage Fri 3 Feb 6PM
Vernissage 18 Feb 7-10 PM
Open Sun 19, Sat 25, Sun 26 Feb 4-8 PM
Vernissage 18 March 7-10 PM
Open Sun 19 – Wed 22 Mar 4-8 PM