1 by Nora Gantert (art historian and sinologist, Berlin/ Nuremberg), Excerpt from "ELUSION_Story of a smuggler” artist book, p.12ff
(…)Within the six principles of Chinese painting established by Xie He (active in the period between 500 and 535) the sixth element is: “approaching the masters by repeating/ copying them” (Susan Bush and Hsio-yen Shih, Early Chinese texts on Painting, Hong Kong University Press, 2012, p. 39–40).
In this way, an internalisation is sought, an ability to put the subject on paper emptily, that is, without the artists supplying any will of their own. The act of painting becomes “non-action”.
Paintings arise from the inner attitude of the Daoist “wuwei”, the free circulation of breath with emptiness breathing life into the painting.
François Billeter understands “wuwei” (François Billeter, Das Wirken in den Dingen, Matthes & Seitz, Berlin, 2015, p. 43) as unconscious, or rather non-targeted, action, in the way athletes, craftspeople or musicians experience the performance of actions that they have mastered to perfection.
The conscious thought of doing something interrupts the flow of action.
In my opinion, the two concepts overlap in the meditative function of Chinese landscape painting and in the sequence of the ornament.
Repeating a movement until you lose yourself completely in it is a performative quality that characterises both Chinese landscape painting and ornamentation.
In Chinese landscape painting, the principle of fullness and emptiness is considered the highest good. When the breath circulates and breezes through the landscape, the painting becomes accessible via its “empty” surfaces and the terrain opens up to the viewer as experienceable and alive.
The dynamic of a painting arises from the rhythmisation of filled and “empty” surfaces. Guo Xi (before 1020 to around 1090) describes the qualities of landscape painting as follows:
„It is [a] generally accepted opinion that in landscapes there are those through which you may travel, those in which you may sightsee, those through which you may wander, and those in which you may live.”(Susan Bush and Hsio-yen Shih, Early Chinese texts on Painting, Hong Kong University Press, 2012, p. 151)
Therefore, the highest form of land-scape painting is that in which the viewer can “live”…
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#2 by Michael Hauffen (artist and art critic, Berlin) Epilog of "ELUSION_Story of a smuggler” artist book, p.58ff
Alice Dittmar is familiar with the dark sides of national borders because she grew up in a border region.
Today she prefers to experience this dynamic – with its opportunities and risks – from the artistic perspective.
In avant-garde art, uncertainties, dynamics and frictions are valued. Transgression seems to be a condition of creativity even.
At the same time, however, there exists a need for an imaginary order that makes the unbearable bearable, that serves the anti-realism of feelings, and that stabilises the self no later than the point that lies just before its collapse.
Therefore, art is always about viable constructs, about identity, and about duration, too. All these aspects can be found in A.D.’s works.
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#3 Andreas Schmid on "Raumaspekte der installativen Arbeiten, Malereien und Objekte von Alice Dittmar” (2019)
Beim Betrachten der unterschiedlichen Installationen von Alice Dittmar fällt eine ganz besondere Art der Raumaneignung durch die Künstlerin ins Auge: Der gesamte Raum mit seinem Inventar, Türen, Steckdosen, wird zum Ausgangspunkt für eine vorsichtige Annäherung.Dabei werden den architektonischen Vorgaben generell ebenso große Aufmerksamkeit und gedankliche Arbeit gewidmet wie auch dem ornamentalen Charakter des jeweiligen Raumes. Dieser eingehenden Beschäftigung folgt das Hinzufügen ihrer Arbeit (Malereien auf Xuan-Papier, bearbeitete Fotografien, „Tapeten“, Fenster und anderes) in den Raum. Dies erfolgt vorsichtig, manchmal scheint dem Raum sogar etwas „untergeschoben“ zu werden. Die Arbeiten A.D.s werden dem Raum eingegliedert, fügen sich in ihn ein und werden so zum Teil der gesamten Raumerscheinung. Sie scheinen diese damit in einer Art Gleichgewicht zu halten.
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Alice Dittmar