Walk with Stefanie Schairer


“Intervention and performance in public space on the East Side Gallery.
The wall stands today as a symbol of international understanding, reunification and freedom. Over 28 years people have been separated from each other – until it finally fell down through the peaceful pressure and resistance of the East German people in 1989. This piece of the Berlin Wall is the longest remaining piece of the wall and serves as a memorial for this peaceful revolution. Artists from all around the world designed it and still do it and maintain the “feeling of freedom” and the “belief in change” alive. Many thousands of people visit this place every year. The wall has become a place of encounter and change.
This fact is the starting point of my intervention and Performance in this public space.

People who have never seen before, meet for the first time in their life. They follow here the invitation of the artist to interact and to leave their “scent marks”.
The place is known and the meeting takes place on a 4 x 1.50 m white canvas on the ground. As means colors and brushes are available. The goal is the illustration of the meeting experience on this canvas.
As in other interactive projects, the artist leaves the artistic process deliberately open. She only indicates the frame by setting place, time and resources. Through the active participation of the people involved, the performance will find its final form and expression”. Stefanie Schairer


AT: How do you build a connection between your art and Berlin?
SS: I think Berlin generally stands for art life. That’s why I like this city. Indeed, it is the only big German city where I’d like to live. Here everything seems possible. Berlin consists of numerous “gaps” which people use for themselves , which they fill with their creativity and imagination. The multicultural society I experience is very inspiring and exciting. Berlin is colorful and alive. I like it like this, that’s why I work here.

AT: You started as a painter, from your experimental painting full of intensive colors what led you to get closer to a performative discipline?
SS: Good question – this is for me a phenomenon as well. In my painting, the starting point is the color. Layer by layer, until it shows itself.  At first everything seems chaotic but an order has actually been built. I created some objects of different types, which, however, appear to be related. The distances are different. Some are similar, some are opposite. I am concerned about finding  the relationship between form and interaction.
Since I can remember I’m interested on how people interact and communicate. What do they do and why they do what they do? When do they meet and how? My curiosity and the chance led me to develop participatory projects and to this new art dimension, where I open new space of actions to the people and let them actively influence the artistic process. New spaces for meetings and experiences. I find this very exciting, because people respond to that impulse, either positively or negatively. Some people find this type of art as an asset, others reject it vehemently.

AT: In one of your project “What to do with pink bags?” you expand a process of connections between old and new. What intrigues you in this kind of investigation?
SS: I think that without the old anything new can’t emerge, even if this “old thing” is common as a pink bag. This has always fascinated me about this story. A banal question to pursue in a different context, seemed very tempting. It was the title of two exhibitions at first, in Germany and in the USA. In America, I began to interview the visitors about this matter. Back in Germany I produced pink bags and took a series of photos in the great outdoors in the Swabian Alps. I wanted to use objects to get more answers to the question without thereby reach a select audience. The idea came to 48h Neukölln as an interaction in public spaces and in the form of an installation at Tempelhof airport. It’s a living process and makes connections to individual actions. Step by step I have continued to pursue ideas without having a master plan as a starting point!

Stefanie Schairer (1965 Albstadt-Truchtelfingen)
Lives and works in Berlin.

“Art touches people, art reaches people. I make art because I want to play and engage people. I can communicate without words. This is an advantage”. (Stefanie Schairer)
Stefanie began as a painter, her paintings of intense colors on canvas or hardboard, reflect the artist’s desire to experiment.
Her works use different means: photography, video art, installations and performance.
She achieved the Social Studies at the Berufsakademie Villingen in 1989. In 2006 four months of residency in Social Services in Scranton, USA, and in 2009 a month in residence on the Campus of the Arts in Bushwick Studios, New York, USA.
In 2012, in New York for a residence of two months in Art and Art Therapy.
Numerous exhibitions and performances, including the latest in 2013 “Zeitfenster” performance of Mahela Rostek, “Frühlingserwachen”, Neukölln in Berlin and the exhibition “Home” at Nothaft und Seidel in Berlin. In 2012, “Transitions” thesis of the course of Art Therapy in Weissensee, Germany; “JJ & SS”, Gallery Ken Marquis in Scranton in the U.S. A. In 2011, “SNOWBALL” Kaleidoskop Galerie in Berlin, “Review of performance”, at the Kunsthalle Hamburger Platz in Berlin.

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Photos: Art & Tours,  Walk with Stefanie Schairer, 29 June 2013, Berlin