sollfrank - schiessuebung

Cornelia Sollfrank: "Schießübung im Garten der Künstlerin, Celle August 2008".
image copyright Tranquillium Photography

Cornelia Sollfrank (Germany *1960)

Cornelia Sollfrank, who became known as a pioneer of Internet art, studied at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts and the Hamburg University of Fine Arts. Since the mid-1990s, Sollfrank has been examining the world-wide communication networks and transferring the traditional artistic and subversive strategies of the avant-garde to digital media. Another central theme of her work is an examination of various forms of collaboration, networking and communication as art forms. Many of her works explicitly or implicitly deal with issues of gender.

"I have been working on a series since 2006 in which I refer to works of art that can be seen as ‘feminist’. It is an experiment in which I approach the works through reenactment. The selection is intuitive. They are artworks which I feel a special connection to, which I value, and which have made an impact on me as an artist and as a feminist.

The process of reenactment is limited to the artworks’ central idea; the choice of media and design is left open. The lapse in time of several decades allows me to test the artworks’ claim to truth. How does the knowledge gained from the original works’ relate to today’s world? I am interested in what they have to say about the different historical situations; I analyze whether or not the original aesthetic practices can still be applied today as contemporary methods of acquiring knowledge.

The series "Re-visiting Feminist Art" currently consists of the following works: ‘Aus der Mappe der Hundigkeit’ by VALIE EXPORT, ‘Mes Approches’ by Annette Messager, Schießbilder by Niki de Saint Phalle, and ‘SCUM Manifesto’ by Valerie Solanas." (Cornelia Sollfrank, November 2008)

Since 2006, Cornelia Sollfrank has been working on her series "Re-visiting Feminist Art', in which she examines artworks which are relevant to her. In "Le chien ne va plus', she walks around a shopping mall in Hamburg-Harburg with a man on all fours on a leash, like VALIE EXPORT did with Peter Weibel in the streets of Vienna for her work "Aus der Mappe der Hundigkeit'. While this goes on, the camera watches the reactions of passers-by. Especially children and teenagers are very amused by the display.

sollfrank - le chien

Cornelia Sollfrank: "Le chien ne va plus" (2006). image copyright Tranquillium Photography

Cornelia Sollfrank: TroubleShooting
Performance, Akademie der Kuenste, Berlin, 2008
In 1961/62 Niki de Saint Phalle's shooting performances caused a stir worldwide. She arranged containers of paint on a wooden base board and covered them with plaster. Shooting at the board with a .22 caliber rifle made the paint spill all over the painting. And it was not only the bleeding paintings (and later assemblages) which bothered the critics and the audience, but the image of the armed woman as well as Saint Phalle's open aggressivity and thrill while shooting: "I had become addicted to shooting, like one becomes addicted to a drug." One of many possible interpretations of this work was offered by the artist herself: "I was shooting at myself, society with its injustices, I was shooting at my own violence, and the violences of the time."

In her action TroubleShooting, the German artist Cornelia Sollfrank took up this almost forgotten work by Saint Phalle -- who is known today mainly for her Nanas -- and repeated it. Sollfrank who has had an interest in firearms for many years, and who has gleaned a vast collection of images of women with guns, used the repetition of the performance as an opportunity to learn how to shoot and to face the question: who or what she would point her gun at?

In the end, Sollfrank's most important concern is to find an answer --with the help of this experiment-- to the question: do contemporary concepts of femininity include openly expressed aggressivity?

sollfrank - schiessuebung

Cornelia Sollfrank: "Schießübung im Garten der Künstlerin, Celle August 2008".
image copyright Tranquillium Photography


In the Exhibition:

"Trouble Shooting", 2008. Performance and six shooting paintings after Niki de Saint Phalle, Akademie der Künste, Dezember 2008. From the series "Re-visiting Feminist Art".

In the Video Archive:

"Le chien ne va plus" (from "Re-visiting Feminist Art"), 2006, 13:27min.

In the Performance Programme:

"Trouble Shooting", 2008.


Cornelia Sollfrank Website