BERLIN.- The works of Australian artist Natascha Stellmach are emotional investigations into the dark worlds of memory, the unconscious and the unspoken. Her installations, photographs and videos are thought-provoking and compelling.
In Guatemala, children who are scared of going to sleep are given tiny handmade dolls (worry dolls) for underneath their pillow. By passing on their fears to the doll they can then sleep peacefully. In Stellmachs ongoing series Worry Dolls, she creates unique works that embody the secrets and nightmares of adults and take on monstrous forms. With titles like Nazi Girl, Killer or Fuckhead, these worry dolls reveal personal stories whose biographical core represents collective experiences and thus becomes universal.
In the series Blood, Stellmach uses photographs as mementos in combination with her own text, bringing forth new associations and alternative narratives.
This formal approach of juxtaposing text and image enables Stellmach to link reality with fiction. She brings into play documentary or staged, biographical or found material in order to tell powerful narratives about the transience and darkness of the human condition.
Like French artist Sophie Calle, Natascha Stellmach is a storyteller who harnesses words and images in order to analyse, fictionalise and reassess. She successfully tackles challenging topics through her sense of the poetic paired with intelligence and black humour. With Come Live in my Head Stellmach invites the visitor in a very personal way to explore the self. In the end there is indeed hope for fantastical dreams.
Natascha Stellmach was born in 1970 to German parents who immigrated to Australia. She works across photography and video and resides in Berlin and Melbourne.
Recurrent themes in her practice are tabooed aspects of identity, childhood memories, love and death. Her mode of working is to combine images and text, consciously blurring biographical facts with fictional storytelling. This approach manifests in her artist books, The Book of Back (2007) und It is Black in Here (2010).
From the canon of these artist books, she develops striking installations that are exhibited internationally. In 2008, WAGNER + PARTNER exhibited her project, Set me free, a complex exploration of the myth of immortality, characterized in the form of a Joint containing the ashes of Kurt Cobain. In 2010, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts will exhibit the development of this project where Stellmach has created works that interrogate and reflect upon the intense public and mass media response.