Regina Frank, The Artist is Present
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Berlin, January 25, 1996

The following letter is my response to an on-line interview with art-critic Silvia Grandi for the Art Faire in Bologna, which began January 25th, 1996.

Dear Silvia and others,

Thank you for your long letter and for taking all this time to put the questions together. You must be pretty exhausted by the time of the opening. This is something I have all the time: The moment that I am starting to perform I am already so exhausted from all the preparations, that in the actual show I push my limits which leads into another stage of consciousness. I hope you can relax a little bit after this. Please say hello to your team for me and I wish I could be there with one of my big dresses.

Now I have a little problem:
I have an interview and photo shoot with "Cosmopolitan" at 8:00 PM today in Linienstrasse in Berlin Mitte. The photographer came from New York and I didn't know that these two appointments would overlap but could not reschedule. In case we are not able to establish a connection at 6:30 PM you will find the answers to your questions and images here. Unfortunately I couldn't answer all your questions immediately but in case we will not be able to speak with each other on line, I put "Hermes' Mistress" up especially for you. You can get into my past.

But lets hold on to our appointment on Sunday. You can check out this site meanwhile and I will upload more as we continue. Good Luck and a lot of success to all of you at the Art-faire in Bologna :-)

1. How do you usually work?

I work within a thought-pattern, a patchwork of ideas that I've collected and sewn together with the intangible threads of my mind. There are Ideas about clothing as empty vessels for inner developments, as carriers of energy or thoughts or data, clothing as time documents or as homes, ideas about the dress as an ad-dress, as a container for information or shelter to protect from information. Often the ends of those thought-threads that I am weaving my patterns with, might get lost as they are woven into the fabric of my life and these layers are all connected, some of them can't be taken apart anymore and should not be distorted for better clarity. I work with ideas about beads and pearls as carriers of information, thoughts about text and electronic data, reflections about computer networks and spider webs. I work with the meditation about the two poles, that we create the tension to live in between, poles like high-tech and low-tech, history and future, past and present, roots and homelessness, fashion and art and in some ways we put bridges and knots in between. Things, the media that I use are not simply things they are more abstract. In German I would say "Gegenstände sind Begriffe".

2. Your name is usually followed by the artist is present, what does this mean?

I started to use the "artist is present" "Die KünstlerIn ist anwesend" as a title for all my work in 1990. Presence is always referring to absence. When I am there you think when is she leaving and when I am gone, you might think, when was she here or when does she return. Presence also refers to mental presence and/or absence and is, in a philosophical sense, a question of self-reflection and recognition, a definition of yourself in your environment. Presence, according to Heidegger, is synonymous with being and is a function of temporality. So can we still discuss "To be or not to be" or has the question ultimately shifted to "To be present or not to be present." In this context I wonder what this changes in terms of our definition "being." How much is the fashion of presenting oneself a mode of "Being present".

To me, by now, the idea of "being present" has become an existence in my dresses. Being I relate very closely to the creation of a mental and intellectual fundament that could also be called home. My dresses have become a home in this sense. I subtilized my form of identification with those ideas of clothing as a tool to identify myself. In a way this happens to a lot of women who are depending on what's en vogue. For me my dresses are custom-made snail shells, a second skin to protect me from being completely perforated by the moths of the modern media.

Fortsetzung folgt...to be continued tomorrow