Montag, 9. Juni 2014

Interview - World Wide Blog Hop

Sabine Remy, a German collage artist invited me to take part to a World Wide Blog Hop by answering 4 questions about my collage work and by inviting 3 other artists to take part. Thank you, Sabine! View Sabines blog Miriskum and her answers.
These are the collage artists which I invited to participate (they will post their answers to the same questions on Monday, June 16th):
Armand Brac (France)
Olga Lupi (France)
Sara Serna (

My answers:

What am I working on?

I cut the world into pieces and then I take these pieces and make something new that reflects the world. In other words: I am making collages and I am doing it in the “traditional way”: analogue, cut and paste. Sometimes I add some drawing. Recently I am in love with dots, especially black dots.

© Susanne Breuss

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’m not sure being able to answer this question myself, but I will try to describe some characteristics of my collage work.
A key aspect is that my several collage pieces are quite different, I’m experimenting a lot: my collages are colourful or black and white, light or dark, abstract or figurative, minimalist or opulent, stringent or dainty, bold or subtle, brash or delicate, serious or just for fun – it depends on my mood and I need variation. I like to work in series but I also make single items. Most of my collages are telling little stories, so giving them a title is very important.
I use a lot of vintage and antique paper because I like the old colours and textures and, not least, because I’m also working as a historian and museum curator. History, everyday life, popular culture and material culture are the main resources of my inspiration, and also the tragicomic sides of life. I like to visualize, comment, irritate and deconstruct proverbs and phrases, social conventions, gender roles, and typical scenes from everyday life. Some of my collages are dealing with the relationship between the past and the present and are focusing on cultural memory.
Many years ago I considered to study textile arts (but finally didn’t do so). Meanwhile I do not work with real fabrics and clothes anymore but I still love them printed on paper and I use a lot of such materials in my collages. 

© Susanne Breuss


Why do I create what I do?

I think making collages is much about collecting, and I’m a big collector since my childhood. Especially I always have been attracted to antique paper, magazines, sample books, catalogues, books and photographs, and I was making my first collages when I was a little child (by using mail-order catalogues from my grandmother and women magazines from my aunt). I also spent a lot of time in several attics and cellars where I found old things which were representing my parents and my relatives past – I was fascinated by the ability of things representing history and keeping some real particles of the past. I am also influenced by my mother who was a housewife with really a lot of skills in re-using and recycling old materials. She was sewing, knitting, stitching, crafting and painting all the time and it was just normal to save old fabrics, clothes, household stuff, magazines, papers and so on for making all these things.
Furthermore my collage work is heavily influenced by my background in history, ethnography and museology with a focus on everyday culture as well as in sociology and philosophy. Making art is another more playful and more autonomous way to reflect everyday life and to work with historic stuff. Working in a museum means to safe and to contextualize historic artefacts; making collages with vintage paper and ephemera means to safe, to de-contextualize and to transform throw-away materials that represent former everyday culture. 

© Susanne Breuss

How does my creating process work?
I am working very spontaneous and by intuition. Sometimes I start with a specific idea, but often at the beginning I am just attracted by something I have randomly found in my collection of books, magazines, photographs and ephemera. Then I am playing around with different elements, pieces of paper, shapes and colours. This process can last many hours and it is not sure if something will grow up. Very often the result has nothing to do with the first ideas. I love to create stories by accident and to develop stories from random finds. Sometimes, when I’m too tired to go through the materials, I’m just taking the scraps on my desktop – these collages are not the worst ones.
In general the process is similar to my way of cooking: usually I do not follow a recipe, I prefer to create something with the stuff I find in the fridge and in the pantry. It can be very surprising! Nevertheless the finished collage is telling a story that deals with my very own topics.
I think in the end the process is directed a little bit more by my subconscious than by my intellect – sometimes I have to wonder if it really was me who made my collages… 

© Susanne Breuss

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