Berenike Wasserthal-Zuccari: Surreal Interaction

ArtClue had the occasion to meet Berenike Wasserthal-Zuccari at the Berliner Liste Art Fair. With a rich experience in Cultural Management, Stage Design, Restoration and Conservation, but also Illustration, the artist recreates a connection between unanimated objects and the energy that surrounds them throw the presence of the human factor. They mutual conditioned themselves in a perennial game between light and shadow. With a close attention for details and endue with a joyful spirit, Berenike is capable to give her works the scenic vision of the theatre plays.   

The themes you approach are close related to creating a theatrical atmosphere. What does this deeper aspect you explore symbolizes for you?

The stage – room, interpreted in fine art and painted manner, is very close to the princely respectively patrician art collections of the Renaissance time, the so-called Kunst und Wunderkammern where a certain playing ground was given for state rulers or high graded priests and bishops, who created their own universe, like Rudolf the II.
The main focus in the picture is put on the acting protagonists, in a dark room, which is representing the back of every stage without any set.
Only the depicted person is emerging out of the set-light. The represented toys, in the design from the early 20ties to the 60ties are the contemporary interpretations of the so-called Kunst und Wunderkammern. Often those toys are constructed in a mechanical manner, which can remind of the early mechanical androids of the Renaissance time. 
So the mechanical toy starts to live its own life and a surreal interaction between the protagonist and the living toy begins. There is always an open end to this interaction.

The interpretation of your projects is a realistic one, sometimes close to photorealism. These detailed descriptions conceal a larger perspective of things?

I would rather talk about hyperrealism than realism. The hyperrealism is always representing reality in an exaggerated, surrealistic form.
The realism which you find in mere photorealism, the exact reproduction would not inspire me artistically.
Why I choose a realistic access for my art is because I regard the realism as the highest discipline of fine art. This form depicts the chosen subjects very close to reality, actually exaggerated. The realistic manner forces the recipient to concentrate on a succinct subject that is polarizing by nature.

Katalogbild Petzgirl B Wasserthal Zuccari, Acrylic on canvas, 120×120 cm, 2011

We can see in your works objects that are related to the feminine imagery. In what way do you think this fact affects the way your works are perceived?

A variety of people spoke to me about that fact. I myself cannot confirm a gender-polarized access and I am not really conscious about it. The last period I engaged myself as a fact with female protagonists and self-portraits. Probably for that reason that the female depiction bears more aspects and is the more exiting one. Female erotic can be interpreted with more playing aspects then the male one. The female body is for me the more beautiful, mysterious and ambiguous one… therefore the more polarizing one.
In the dialog with the recipient the doll fragments evolve strong emotions. The fragmentary dolls are always compared with embryos in an early state. As I am myself a female protagonist in that works, often an active abortion was interpreted in my life. Would it like be as it, I would theme it in the public space. The fact is, that I never had one. Much more, the doll in my work is the synonym for the personal creations, for creativity and the growing process. 

Bearing in mind your artistic and conceptual universe, what do you think a women artist needs at the present day?

From my point of view the female artist is still regarded as less and not taken serious, especially when they are not caring male attributes. Quality is not so seen as the show. I think that the international art – market is still dominated by male hype and connection. As a female artist, it demands to be on the top by certain more quality, action and duration.

Throw what other methods of artistic statement (engraving, sculpture, photography, installation, performance, video etc.) do you express your interior experiences?

Since I can remember I was engaged with photography and the sculptural form was always tempting me, so I come from the stage – design as well. Both of them, the focused concentrated seeing processes through a frame, as the haptic form-sensation are essential for my demand of perfection.

What are your sources of inspiration?

On the one hand my inspiration lays on the stage and theater, as former stage- designer my observing capacity, the love to play as the Studies with the so-called Kunst und Wunderkammern of Renaissance and Mannerism time.

If you were to chose a few contemporary artists alongside you can exhibit with, ho were they be? 

Not an easy question. I wouldn’t decide for a realist or a surreal hyperrealist, nor a natural realist. Even I really appreciate Helmut Helnwein’s work, where I would find it interesting to portraits each other, I don’t know if it would be interesting in an exhibition context. I even cannot fix myself on a certain person. Tempting it would be to exhibit with an international architect, Sculptor, Designer or Photograph. Why the architect, because he also works with constructions of rooms and illusion.

Interview: Elena Andrei