Artist Spotlight: Nora Manthei

Nora believes there are two kind of artists. There are the ones whom always knew they wanted to be an artist and the ones who had experiences which gradually revealed an artistic pathway. Her mother is an art teacher so she had a mix of the two above. She was always looking at coffee table books of important artists and wanted to become a painter because it was easy for her to understand what a painter does. Slowly she understood that for her there was more to working in art. It could be a form of language.

After finishing high school, she had the idea that one should already be a big artist. Obviously that was not the case, so then she supported this idea by studying art history in Leipzig. This too was not highly satisfying either so she started studying in Weimar Bauhaus University in the field of art. This was much closer to what she was seeking as she had the mind space to concentrate on her projects regarding the city and the lessons.

After Weimar, she continued studying in Halle, and from there she did an Erasmus exchange in Vienna. This was a turning point for me,” Nora says. Up to this point she was working with every type of materials and the centre of the works were all political subjects and always about moral issues. Vienna helped her to stop packing her idea and giving it to people to unpack it.  She started telling stories and writing down. She decided that she didn’t want to work with the topics that are chosen, rather the things that she had experienced herself.

The matters that you are confronted with in daily routine is Nora’s focus. She prefers to work with topics that are familiar to viewers so there is a common theme to connect with. She doesn’t think it is reasonable to make art for a small group of people who are highly educated and reference it in a way that is not readable for everyone.

Nora has her studio in an old factory. It’s a shared art space in the east of Leipzig. It’s like a collective but everyone works independently. It is the conversations, events and shared space that makes it feel like a collective.

At the moment she is working a lot with texts and typography. She has made several books. However sometimes she goes back to conceptual work like the works she displayed in the first show of the PK RD41, including writing sentences and crossing them out again.

photos by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program

In addition, she does lots of photography. “Most probably every photographer experiences that moment when she blames herself for not carrying the camera with herself and loses a great shot, but when you are working with text, you have your mind always with you, You just need a pen and a piece of paper,” Nora says. Nora believes you shouldn’t put your emphasis on working with a certain media. You have to stay open to change.

“it is the most important thing for an artist not to keep repeating herself just because it’s going well and selling well.”

Artist Statement: Doubting and transforming is my process. My way of working is constantly complemented by various techniques and media, which are based on the content and emerging of piece. Since 2017 I have been working mostly with text and its interaction with pictures. These works are beginnings or fragments that can be described as a kind of everyday archeology. Out of overcoming distance and immersion into a matter, an alienation irrevocably follows. The constant back and forth is essential to be able to look from the self to the subject. For me, a work of art really only exists when it has entered the world of images of the beholder. Art is for me a connecting and supportive element to make the complexity of the present tangible. Art challenges, questions and does not give in.


written by Elnaz Mostaan

you can look at Nora’s website for more of her work

And come see her work in the following show

Reset unsettling flesh layers / vernissage / PK at AHS

Friday, 15. November 2019
19:00 bis 22:00

Alte Handelsschule, Gießerstraße 75, Kleinzschocher, 04229 Leipzig, Deutschland

Overwhelmed incorporeal happiness / vernissage / PK RD41

Saturday, 14. December 2019
19:00 – 22:00

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