‘It is difficult to know oneself, but it is not easy to paint oneself’, Vincent van Gogh once quoted. The famous Dutch painter (1853-1890 Auvers d'Oise) not only left behind an impressive artistic legacy, but also a large number of self-portraits that capture his unmistakable style and personal development.

The search for the self: A personal view

Van Gogh used his self-portraits not only as a means of external representation, but rather as a mirror of his own soul. Each painting became a canvas for his inner feelings and thoughts, and in this way he moulded himself before the eyes of the viewer.

Famille 2 44x60cm (2022)

The art of self-portraiture is not a new phenomenon. Numerous artists before him have embarked on a journey of self-reflection by painting their own likenesses. I too follow this path, trying to express my story, my emotions and my personality through the canvas.

Karin II b 30x21cm (2022)

Unlike van Gogh, my self-portraits are not characterised by easily recognisable features. Rather, I draw on old photographs, especially children's photos, to explore my past and my roots. For me, these images are windows into my own history, and through them I explore how my past has shaped me and made me the person I am today.

Self-portraits as a mirror of the soul

My self-portraits are not classic depictions of my outer appearance, but rather a representation of my inner landscape. They are an ode to my origins, my family and the environment that has shaped me. In delicate watercolours, I immerse myself in the sheltered world of my childhood and explore the feelings and emotions that still accompany me today.

Why self-portraits? This question drives me, because for me they are more than just visual representations of my outward appearance. They are a mirror of my soul, a window to my inner world that I open up to the viewer to let them share in my journey.

Self-portrait in five senses: A multidimensional experience

According to Wikipedia, a self-portrait is the self-portrayal of an artist's physiognomy or self-portrait. It is usually a painted, drawn, printed, photographed or sculpted likeness. But who says that a self-portrait should be limited to the visual representation of a person?

We perceive our surroundings and our fellow human beings with our five senses. This means that we see faces and bodies, hear voices, can touch and feel them and, in very intimate relationships, even smell and taste them.

With my work ‘Self-portrait in five senses’, I would like to invite you to experience me better, with all your senses. 

1) SEE: You can explore the topography of my body on a fanfold with 18 drawings in 10x10cm format.

2) HEARING: In an ‘audio book’ with old and new voice recordings, I try to narrate myself and make myself audible.

3) SMELLING: I have collected and concentrated my sweat and my pheromones in order to make them olfactorily tangible on the surface of a book.

Selbstporträt in fünf Sinnen - Sehen (2024) 42x42cm

4) TOUCH: I try to translate the softness and roughness of my body into a fabric figure (including fabric sample pages) to be touched and felt.

5) TASTING: Finally, I scraped and cut pieces of skin to offer on hosts for tasting.

This multidimensional experience (to be experienced in the AR(T)REST exhibition) is meant to allow you to experience the sense of me not only as a visual image, but as a living presence that engages all the senses and allows for a deeper connection.

Selbstporträt in fünf Sinnen - Schmecken (2024) 20x14x4cm

The art of self-portraiture in the present

Engaging with the self is not an isolated exercise, but a gateway to a deeper understanding of the world around us. For in our individual stories and experiences, we often find surprising commonalities that connect us to one another. In this way, my self-portraits become not only my personal journey of self-knowledge, but also a bridge that invites viewers to explore their own memories, feelings and connections.