An Interview with Miriam Toelke

Collage artist and creator, Miriam Toelke, creates stunning collage pieces that appear to uncover the inner depth of the female subconscious. Through these masterful artworks that are comprised of a collection of found images of women and the landscape and often pieced together in a jarring yet peaceful way, we are able to get a look into Toelke's relationship to her identity as a woman, and as a human. 

"Please start by telling us about you?"

I see myself as a collector, a flaneur. Everything seems connected to me. My works are impressions which fall into a collage, showing a web of incidents.

I use left overs, the discarded and irrelevant. I love life compressed and I stand up to the city’s pace.

I don't want to be distracted and I feel the urge need to take a closer look at life.

"I found my material on the street."

"How has living in Germany influenced your work as an artist?"

At the end of the nineties, during my study period (University of state of fine arts in Stuttgart), I used to go to a collection station regularly. After some time, I knew when new goods were being delivered and I hardly missed a week, in order to find new, or rather old material. For me, that was an amazing treasure hunt. They had everything. Magazines, misprints, papers, ads. Material was infinite. Bulky waste was just put in front of the door at certain days, then. What a magnificent rich source! I found my material on the street.

 take these existing images and create new arrangements. New worlds appear and things fall together in a, so far, unforeseen way. 

"Tell us about the representation of women in your work."

Women fascinate me, I love to let them shine. Forward into the light, into their inner power and beauty. I try to capture their essence, not their appearance.

I want women to take more space in society’s perception.

"My way of working is a kind of shutdown, meditative maybe. This is how I process events and experiences."

What are your influences?

The city and nature are my masters, they energise me. Whilst I live as well in Berlin, I also find myself at home in the countryside.

Nature follows an aesthetic perfectionism but the city is dense, full of snapshots and volatilities.

Another inspiration for me, Moods as well as words or places, are everyday occurrences. My way of working is a kind of shutdown, meditative maybe. This is how I process events and experiences.

Tell us about your new book? How did you come to feature in this project?

Rebekka Elizegi asked, if I wanted to join in her new book "Collage by Women“. I want to thank her for her effort to bring this book to life, by finding all these incredible artists.

"Are you a political artist?" 

I guess, giving women a presence, still is political, unfortunately.

Since we women are still much less present in the male-dominated art world any art made by a woman, is always political. For me, it is a reflection on society and not the potential of women.

"Thank you, Miriam."

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