10 Oct 2019

Julie's Haircut interview 'In The Silence Electric' Sleeve Artist Annegret Soltau

With the release of the Julie's Haircut album 'In The Silence Electric' out last week, we are delighted to share a short interview with the amazing German artist Annegret Soltau, who's 1975/76 work 'Selbst (self)' features throughout the sleeve. We are huge fans of her amazing work so was delighted when the bands Nicola Caleffi managed to asked Annegret a few questions.

Here statement about the work:

Selbst (self) 1975-76
photo overstitchings
Self 1975-76

"These are my first projects using thread in the context of photography. Using gray silk thread, I overstitched self-portraits and created a filigree of threads over my own face. 

I started with a photograph taken during a performance piece, and stitched over the thread in the photo using real thread. The reverse side shows the traces of the work on the front side as a spontaneous haptic drawing, an unconscious by-product of the main piece."


Nicola Caleffi 
The Selbst series from 1975-76 is one of your early, and most powerful, work. Can you describe the genesis of it?

Annegret Soltau  
As a starting point for these photo-stitches, I took photographs of the documentation of my performance “Self” from 1975, in which I wrapped my head with black yarn. I sewed these self-portraits with gray silk thread.

Nicola Caleffi

The series comprises about 30 pictures of yourself with different grades of binding on your own head and body and etching on the printed photos. What is the relationship between the real wiring on the skin, mouth, eyes and hair and the subsequent sewing that you made on the printed work?

Annegret Soltau
The photographed thread served as a direction for my over-sewing. From the sensory organs of my eyes and mouth I let the threads flow over my face, extending my eyelashes into new formations that cover my face like a mask. There is a dialogue, an exhange, between the photographed thread of the performance and the real thread, they form a unity in the face, but also an irritation.

Nicola Caleffi
Your work, and Selbst in particular, seems to be constantly balanced between freedom and oppression, even self-coercion, just as, in its peculiar form, Julie's Haircut's music, in its never resolved relationship between looseness and restraint. Do you see art as a form of liberation of the self?

Annegret Soltau
For me, these representations are ambivalent. On the one hand they show through the fine threads a sensual touch on the skin, on the other hand also a constriction through the lacing over mouth and eyes up to the blindness and lack of communication. The liberation can only be done by oneself.

Nicola Caleffi
What is the role of art and the artist today? Do you see any difference between today and the past, in terms of artistic freedom?

Annegret Soltau
As an artist I do not play any role, I work authentically by “incorporating” myself and my body into my art. That's how I see myself and my work: as a symbiosis of life and art. During my studies in the 60s and 70s, we fought againts the traditional forms of society, it was a break from given expectations. Awareness is what we need now if we do not want to lose the achievements of our generation.

For further reading: Annegret Soltau
Julie's Haircut album 'In The Silence Electric' is out now on LP/CD/DL Available worldwide on Rocket Recordings: 

In The Silence Electric