Leon Joskowitz: The conversation with Emilia Neumann takes place in her studio in Frankfurt's Ostend. In front of the entrance are large concrete sculptures. Some are covered, others lie around openly. The eye searches for shape and forms, but the works appear uninvolved. In the studio, open staircases connect several rooms into an ensemble of production and exhibition space. and exhibition space. Downstairs a small kitchen like a galley on a ship, upstairs a large desk, lots of books and a couch. books and a couch. In between, brightly colored plaster and concrete sculptures stand, lie and hang. In the central workroom stands a very large vessel that Emilia has put together from all kinds of found objects. It is held by a It is held by a sturdy wooden frame and will soon be filled with 11 tons of concrete for a new exhibition. While I look around, Emilia Neumann disappears into her galley. Her works irritate the eye. They shine, are large, heavy and colorful, and yet they remain strangely restrained. One wants to touch the surfaces with one's hand and find out, how these unknown things feel. Emilia returns with a large pot of coffee. We sit down Emilia Neumann begins to talk about art, her work with the materials concrete and plaster, about life as an artist. about life as an artist.
Emilia Neumann: I build the plaster or concrete a shell and give the material a shape. In advance I have a color idea of the object, but chance is an irreducible part of my production. The material comes as powder and I change the aggregate states: first powder, then hot, steaming and liquid, later mushy and finally hard. In the course of the process, it becomes something completely different than it was at the beginning. it was at the beginning. The material itself is merely what it is. At the beginning and at the end, it is immobile and inorganic. Only and contextualization, it emerges from itself, it changes and transforms its characteristics; in this properties; in this it is alive and yet always remains a fragment. Nevertheless, something continues to grow continues to grow, even when the concrete has dried and the object is finished.
Each of my objects has an outer and an inner form. The inside is unfinished, rough and raw, but it always remains visible. Sometimes it is broken edges and inclusions in the works, often the finished work itself, which refers to the ever-becoming. For me, creating art is like moving in a stagnant time. My work stands between me and the general. And at the same time connects me with the out there. It has something to do with me, but it stands as what it is and I do not know more about it. I have been working with plaster and concrete for a long time. The tactile nature of the materials connects me to experiences from my childhood. Playing in the sand and mud, traveling to other places. I believe that everyone inherits a
inherited talent and that the sensitization for it is set in the early years. I spent the whole
Summer at the beach, digging, building and gaining a lot of knowledge with my hands. Until today
I can describe my practice this way: thinking with my hands. We visited numerous excavation sites and
the amphorae, the columns, the ruins, the fossils and these architectural elements excited me as much as the mountains.
excited as the mountain ranges and shaped natural landscapes.
Leon Joskowitz: Emilia has just returned from a trip to Italy. She visited Carrara to perceive the marble there as a mass. She wanted to see how it is quarried, cut and transported, to see how the light refracts in the rocks at different times of the day. refracts in the rocks at different times of day. In a few side sentences, she outlines how the use of stucco, natural and artificial stone has changed over time. Thinking with her hands has left its mark; she knows her subject matter.
Emilia Neumann: I became an artist through making. I have an intangible will for self-determination and self-efficacy. I determine my day, what I do or don't do. Only after that come concrete questions about job, career or success. Recognition and props are uplifting, but the activity itself is not not motivated. Of course, in our system everyone has to make a living, and I can't be free of that, but the logic of exploitation but the logic of exploitation and money are in the background. Look at this: my studio is full of works and I'm making the next 11-ton sculpture. That's completely crazy.
Leon Joskowitz: Emilia Neumann laughs. She sits in her chair, interested and amused. In her studio. Everything here has its place and in the middle stands and works Emilia Neumann. It is her realm.
Emilia Neumann: Someday I'll build a highway bridge. One drives past it much too fast to be able to take a photo. The highway has to go under it. The bridge connects something. Of course it is made of concrete and colored, but I'm fascinated by the idea that of all the weight, all the material and the function. only this impression remains, only the moment that you can't photograph the bridge, because you're always already is already over when you want to take the photo. In a way, all my sculptures are such snapshots. They freeze in a random moment as a finished fragment. Everything that was before and what will be after must now pass through this moment. through this moment. For each exhibition I develop new objects. I want to add something to the spaces and I'm excited to see where "Koi_Pond" will eventually take place. Over time, I have learned to follow the first impulses, and to bring their spontaneous power into the work. If you don't follow the impulses, the work loses its power and it becomes arbitrary."
Leon Joskowitz: As we leave the studio after our conversation, Emilia looks skeptically at the frame around her new work. It is the heaviest sculpture she has ever created. She is slightly worried that the sculpture will lose its balance. But she won't let that stop her. She'll figure it out.
Text: Leon Joskowitz
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