Within a few minutes of the start of my video interview with Sabine Dächert, it was clear to me that she’s a fully committed artist. Straight away, she told me about an interesting broadcast she’d recently watched on “arte”, and thanks to video conferencing, I saw how her eyes lit up when she talked about Michaelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam” and how more animated still she became when she talked about implied movement between the mural’s main figures. Would they recoil their hands or would their fingers and hands actually touch? And if they did, what would happen in that next moment? She mused about the tension accumulated, and the uncertainty of what might transpire in the future. I began thinking about how this one image of two bodies floating in the heavens might sum up her artistic raison d’être and the fundamental issues she seeks to explore: encounters, interactions, and parting of ways. Read on to learn what I learned about this fascinating and surprising Frankfurt-based visual artist.
Looking back, what do you wish you’d known about “an artist’s life”?
It is pretty tough, if not complicated, being a professional artist. In hindsight, I see how important education and training as well as having the right contacts is to being successful in this field. These restrictions can sometimes be a bit frustrating. Luckily, I learned all this retrospectively after I was already somewhat established. So, it didn’t deter or demotivate me.
How do you know when a piece is finished?
That is constant struggle for an artist, or at least for me. It’s always best to give yourself a few days between the works. I always ask myself, have I missed something? And if the answer is yes, then suddenly I have a series of work. And that’s also positive. Collages are in that way more difficult. At some point, you just have to hang it up and try to live with it. After a few weeks, I decide if a particular work actually ends up in my exhibit. or if it lands in a bin.
What’s the biggest compliment you’ve received about your work?
At my last exhibit, a music professor approached me and asked for a catalog. He said he very much wanted to work with his students to create compositions based on my work. He mentioned the working idea of “abstract, musical sheets”. It made me very happy because I am already wholeheartedly convinced there’s a strong reciprocal relationship between visual art and music. Also, I love it when visitors explain what it is they see in my abstract work. Regardless of the words they use, they almost always convey the same feelings I had when I created it. But in the end, I think the art should be strong enough to speak for itself.
How do you approach a new work?
Photography is more than a quick click of the shutter. The photo is actually created during the manipulation of the materials, through the illumination and combination of using a transparent background. Though my collages and cynotypes I am seeking to demonstrate the boundlessness that photography makes possible. So how I approach work depends on many factors. Currently, I have a goal set to create a number of pieces for an exhibit dealing with light. I am exploring the color yellow, and the moment when white transitions to yellow. I like to work within a theme for a while before I move on to something else. And in the end, the object I photograph is not the real work of art.
On how you developed your style?
I would say I always start from an intuitive standpoint. But it is always a point of abstraction, whether painted or photographed. I focus on proximity to my subject, structure, and depth. And of course, time and experience play a significant role in my development as an artist.
Describe your creative process.
The act of photographing the subject is just a part of the process. Another key part includes collecting various and sundry objects, which I have been doing since 2011. I work with glass materials, like bottles and vases, and juxtapose plastics and various types of foils in front of and behind them. I am also intrigued by the brightly luminescent colors I use. They create an entirely different feeling. But going back to the foils, I purchase new ones as well as gather other types, even through recycled sources. I use a heating element to make them more pliable. I shape the materials, creating chains and links.
How do you spend a typical work day?
It can be different from week to week. Intuitively, I decide if today’s the day that I create and develop photographs, or if I produce actual cynotypes or collage. and I generally like to engage in other non-art activities after an intense working session. But maybe, in my studio in the afternoon for 3-4 hours of highly-concentrated work, then another 2-3 hours to develop the photographs myself. And then I need a bit a time for myself, without my work and my artistic thoughts. It helps me to re-energize for another intense time in the studio.
How does nature influence your work?
I have an intense fascination with nature. I’m preoccupied with trying to transfer the strong feelings and emotions that nature conveys into my artwork. For example, fog – peace/tranquility, or glass – desert/clouds/wind. I try to bring my personal fascination with the things I see. So, the photo becomes in effect a sketch, inspired by natures, which I manipulate in my studio.
What is the relationship between artist and collector?
Ideally we should share a very deep and mutual understanding. There should be a natural exchange, asking questions, and so on. And then, intuition and trust are vital, sensing something from each other.
Yves Klein and Rothko but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Matisse, Miro and the Impressionists. They are the roots which originally inspired me and many others I presume.
Mountains or Sea? Sea, it’s always the sea!
By hand or by phone? I love writing, letters, postcards, I always have some type of note pad with me.
iPhone oder Android? My Android phone is a platform for my sketchpad
PC or Mac? My iMac is my favorite piece of equipment! Since 2009, I’ve been using it to produce and modify my work. Mine even has a pet name.
Wine or beer? Wine: in summer, white; Winter, red
Beginning or end? Always the beginning. The way I see it, whenever something ends, it automatically leads to a new, fresh beginning.
Favorite children’s book? Any of the Grimm’s fairy tales, and also Hans Christiann Andersen.
Early riser or sleepyhead? Early riser
Books or Films? Both, first I read, then try to see it in the theater.
Spirit Animal? Whale
I’d like to visit several countries, and of course staying current with loads of technical methods, equipment and even software I’d like to learn about and incorporate this know-how into my work.