Photograph: © 2017 Fredrik Nilsen
During lockdown, the artist made this dirty postcard and little else. Now back on track, she talks about her upcoming shows – and feeling baffled by this new ‘we’re all in it together’ BritainCharlotte Higgins
Thursday 27 May 2021
|Photograph: Courtesy the artist|
She did make one other thing: a postcard. The main image was taken from an old book on alchemy, also from the Getty archive. It looks like a turd falling out of the sky. She added joke words and phrases – “Shite zeit”, “anus horribilis” – as a scatological cry of despair against the pandemic. Then she mailed copies out to her friends. “That was my single project of 2020,” she says, ruefully.
They had to move back to Berlin in summer 2019 to deal with Brexit-related bureaucracy. It was a jolt. “My son and Matthew hated it at first, we couldn’t remember who our friends were.” She bought a new studio in a “Nazi-built spy sort of place”. Beg pardon? She explains that it is a former radio amplification station in West Berlin, once disguised as a house, but very undomestic inside, and with concrete bunkers underneath, now a car park.
Except: chance is never quite just chance. As an artist, once you’re in a particular frame of mind, the right things can flow your way as if you’ve ordered them from the universe. Like the way she can find four-leaf clovers, just like that. She doesn’t do that for good luck, she says, she can do it because she’s open to it, she’s ready for it. “I have a quick eye. I can walk across a field and notice an anomaly.” This is why, I think, she’s had a tricky pandemic year: she needs to be in the world, making her way across that field, senses ready for four-leaf clovers, waiting to see where the universe will lead her, playing with chance and making it her own.