I remember it so well. It was 1974 and our neighbour’s child was born. We all lived on the edge of a small village, individual families but more like a collective community, and this was our first home birth. All went well and Christiane was welcomed with a big celebration: We had our apple cider, home made saugage and other food we from the collective farm;, we played our music and danced for joy.
We were part of the larger alternative scene, a remnant of the Hippy generation, supplementing out craft work sales with the odd jobs we found in the village. As she grew up Christiane’s approach to life showed the influence of the people in our group, and particularly of her parents. She used disgarded objects and material to create sculptures, clothes, jewellery and her own add-on room to their house. We were all proud of the way she was seeing, and living and expressing herself differently to the materialistic, consumerist, conformist society that we were making a stand against. She seemed fully integrated into our alternative society.
Christiane herself posed quite a challenge to the local school that followed the ideal of strict conformity to society. Her art work, songs, dancing and writing were generally regarded as outlandish but she since she was very open and friendly she was liked by all. We all could envisage her developing into a future creative artist in some, or even many, fields.
Her higher education choices put an end to our hopes. Christiane excelled in math, IT, and the sciences and became fascinated by them. She gained top grades in these fields, was accepted into university, graduated and we feared she had now adopted society’s values and goals as her own.
Whenever Christiane returned to our community she fitted back in well, joining in with our creative activities and efforts for self-sufficiency but deep down we now saw her as different from us.
It was bewildering to receive an invitation to “Christiane's First Solo Exhibition”. We went there, not knowing what we would encounter. The Gallery was very modern, in an upmarket area, which made us feel very uncomfortable. Christiane gave us a warm welcome but she had to leave us to engage in intensive discussions with other groups. It took us some time to “see” what she had produced and what this exhibition was saying. Christiane’s art made great use of technology, computer programs, physics and math concepts. Her art came from a place in her mind that brought our free, non-conformist imaginings together with science, math and technology. This was something that took us into new territory.
To say that we were amazed, provoked, and challenged by the person she had developed into would be an understatement. Many long sessions together followed where Christiane became the teacher and we her pupils. She talked of the inexplicable sense of beauty and how the laws of maths, wave theory, and chemical equations all added up to give her amazing images and how computer technology enabled her to realize what she had imagined. She had embraced something that we had rejected and in so doing she had gone to heights of creativity that we would never reach. We were proud of our input into her life and awed that she took on areas that we had rejected. A true nonconformist.
Christiane is now married. She has married an engineer, again bringing together science and technology and the arts. She travels extensively and sees creation through her expanded lenses. In her workshops and residencies she brings these two often diametrically opposed views of reality into harmony, as those who see her work recognize.
Christiane could put many letters after her name, titles that are evidence of her achievements in math, sciences, and IT. I feel so proud that instead Christiane has chosen ‚ARTIST‘.
Text by Colin Clarke
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