Sculptures-shaped-by-language create situations of uncanny normality.
Dietmann’s current artistic practice began when she moved away from the canvasses of art school to work with different media and explore collaboration. During this shift, Dietmann and collaborators started Pfeil Magazine, a printed exhibition in the format of a magazine which invites around 25 artists to contribute to the theme of the issue. They established the publishing house Montez Press also serving as a platform for artists. Dietmann’s artistic approach is echoed in the practice of Pfeil Magazine as her works see to occupy formats that reach their audiences beyond the context of contemporary art. Her works employ a clever and inviting mix of play and tension where sculptures-shaped-by-language create situations of uncanny normality, building manifold narrative layers that delight and confuse.
Dietmann’s perception of reality draws out the bizarre as one with the mundane.
Anja Dietmann’s works stem from her subtle perception of the bizarre and mundane everyday events. Her work with the magazine enabled her to interact sculpturally with language and her sculptures reflect that, becoming word games such as in Regenmacherbaguettes im Schirmständer or loosely translated ‘rain-making baguettes in an umbrella stand.’ Similarly clever and amusing is her work Wash and Grow a sculpture consisting of a medicinal shampoo bottle resting on a bath shelf atop a brown herringbone fabric. The label reads: «a shampoo especially formulated for Gilbert and George». It is in fact a handmade hair growth shampoo, created from two hairs from the artist collective, that were obtained in exchange for another artwork from the artist collective Fort. Perhaps a commentary on the ‘art is life, life is art’ take on the iconoclastic duo, Dietmann’s works embrace humorous contradictions. It is unsurprising then that an important inspiration for Dietmann is the music of Prince. Prince excelled in creating surprising structural arrangements which nonetheless followed a narrative arch and dramaturgy. He was not an artist who felt the need to stick to one style and neither is Dietmann. Dietmann allows her ideas to guide her works, their medium only becoming apparent when the idea has been worked to completion.
Text by Constance Chester
Portraits by Volker Renner
Among the representatives of Dada, I appreciate the writer and poet Daniil Charms. His stories take unpredictable turns and are at the same time humorously paradoxical.
During my studies I spent almost 10 hours a day in front of the canvas. When I started to question this time alone in the studio, I would say that I then came to art.
Biography Anja Dietmann
born 1982 in Münsingen, Germany
2013 Diploma at Hochschule für Bildende Künste Hamburg, Germany
Exhibitions/Performances/Magazine launches (selection)
Aus Rotwein Mach Weißwein, Easterfield Festival, Kunstverein in Hamburg, Germany
Magazine, Montez Press Radio, Kunstverein in Hamburg, Germany
Nicorette, performance as part of Acts of Potentiality, Kunstverein Bielefeld, Germany
Montez Press Radio, Printed Matter, Los Angeles, United States
Pfeil Magazine Launch #10, Pogo Bar, Berlin, Germany
Nicorette, performance as part of Staging Realities, Kunstverein in Hamburg, Germany
Pfeil Magazine Launch #9, VIS, Hamburg, Germany
Pfeil Magazine Launch #8, Kunstverein Salzburg, Vienna
Musikinstrumentenausstellung, Il Caminetto, Hamburg, Germany
Pfeil Magazine Launch #7, Mathew Gallery, New York, United States
Along Those Lines, Hansa Rowing-Club, Hamburg, Germany
Pfeil Magazine Launch #6, Harlekin Bar, Berlin, Germany
Barsoi, concert at Golem, Hamburg, Germany
Incertitudes, Goethe Institute, Marseille, France
Sequenzen aus 50 Millionen Konstellationen, Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof, Hamburg, Germany
2021 Zukunftsstipendium, Behörde für Kultur und Medien, Hamburg, Germany
2020 ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius, Hamburg, Germany
2016 Kunstbeutel, Kulturbehörde Hamburg, Germany
2015 Hamburger Arbeitsstipendium, Kulturbehörde Hamburg, Germany
Works by Anja Dietmann
Sich Selbst Bewässernde Gießkanne (Self Watering Watering Can)
2022 / Plastic / 46 x 27 x 18 cm / 18.1 x 10.6 x 7.1 in / €1,200
2022 / Shoe, leather, telephone lane / 30 x 19 x 14 cm / 11.8 x 7.5 x 5.5 in / €1,200
Dauerbrot (Permanent Bread)
2014 / Porcelain, oil color, shellack / 53 x 6 x 4 cm / 20.9 x 2.4 x 1.6 in / €500
Mix the Matching Shade Directly on the Shoe
2016 / Shoe creme, wooden box, shoe brushes and spoon / 40 x 37 x 20 cm / 15.7 x 14.6 x 7.9 in / €1,200
2022 / Whiskers, paper, glass frame / 30 x 20 cm / 11.8 x 7.9 in (framed) / €800
Wash and Grow
2014 / Hair, shampoo, soap stand, tweed fabric installed on the wall / Dimensions variable / €800
Regenmacherbaguettes im Schirmständer (Rainmakerbaguettes in an Umbrella Stand)
2014 / Porcelain, rice, nails, brass, bamboo / 70 x 36 x 36 cm / 27.6 x 14.2 x 14.2 in / €1,400
ongoing / Paper / 33 x 23.3 cm / 13.0 x 9.2 in / €15
Wind of Change
2015 / Glas, drum stand, rehearsal pad / Dimensions variable / €1,200