Miriam Vlaming

On the Uncommon

Miriam Vlaming / Künstlerin im Interview auf I DECLARE COLORS / Evas Blog für zeitgenössische Kunst

Gigantic canvases, worked primarily with the velvety colorfulness of egg tempera, and splendid ornamental textures between man and nature, between the past and the fleeting moments of the present – all this can only approximately describe the work of Miriam Vlaming. She is not only one of the most important representatives of the New Leipzig School and master pupil of Prof. Arno Rink – this well-established artist is also a mother, a partner and a college lecturer.

Date07. November 2017 /

Miriam Vlaming / Künstlerin im Interview auf I DECLARE COLORS / Evas Blog für zeitgenössische Kunst

With the publication of her comprehensive catalog HUMAN NATURE by Kerber Verlag, the publication of the extensive article LEIPZIGER LÖWINNEN in art Kunstmagazin and various exhibitions at galleries as well as institutions, this has certainly been anything but an ordinary year for the artist Miriam Vlaming.

Miriam Vlaming / Künstlerin im Interview auf I DECLARE COLORS / Evas Blog für zeitgenössische Kunst

How do you as an artist maintain an undisturbed environment amidst all this activity?
It doesn’t always work, but during the times I am painting I try to switch off everything around me. This also includes not having telephones ringing in the background or emails coming through. I set up fixed times to paint and at these times I am simply not reachable.

Recently I was invited to your studio in Berlin for a coffee party together with five other female artists. I noticed how open you are – also in conjunction with your initiative FIRSTDATETHEARTIST – to an exchange with other people, which is not a given for every artist. How is it then that you find an open dialog on art so important and actively facilitate it?
Art is life, of course. The exchange with other people about my art or art that gives me something can be very inspiring, and for that reason, I show it in my private rooms. I discover over and over again that many people have a very great yearning for an exchange in a protected, i.e. private space.

What constitutes for you the character of your depicted persons? How do you create this depth in the facial expressions of the respective figures – are they real persons or mythical creatures drawn from your imagination?
Both. I treat photographic templates, once I have decided to work with them, as stimulants. I like using photofragments, to order them in a new and for me larger constellation.

The exciting aspect for me is actually the timelessness behind the events.

A question about your new series of works on paper called This is No Ordinary Love: With this fine line between yearning and suffering, is your aim to shock people, make them remember or empathize? 
You only see what you are.

It is a game played with our own dreams and expectations.


Miriam Vlaming, “Romance 1”, 30 x 42 cm, Mixed Techniques on Paper, 2017

How would you describe the state of the respective persons (or their relationships to each other) in the pictures?
In emotional terms they are deliberately exaggerated, perhaps they also remind us of the miming found in silent movies. It is also the school of seeing: to guess what the other person means who are not using words. An appealing topic, I think.

What is fundamental for you personally in an extraordinary relationship?
That it is extraordinary 😉


Miriam Vlaming, “Waiting For James”, 110 x 170 cm, Mixed Techniques on Paper, 2017

Who the … is James? 😉
Playing with a cliché, but perhaps somewhat more than that.

What does paper offer you as an artist that canvas cannot/does not have? 

Paper doesn’t forgive. Canvas is more patient.

Working on paper is essentially more direct and also lives from these dynamics. It sometimes has something fleeting about it. That inspired me to tackle those works with romantic subjects.

Duden defines passion as follows: “an emotional state expressing itself in behaviour very difficult to govern by reason”. How would you describe your creative process – do you work analytically and deliberately or spontaneously and unrestrained? 

I would describe my work as controlled dreaming.

What influence has Berlin had on your new series on paper? Do you think you might have already been painting like this during your time in Düsseldorf or Leipzig – or does your new series, in fact, contain personal, melancholic elements precisely from this past?
I could only have made these pictures here. Also, nothing can be repeated. The pictures correspond to my current portfolio of experience, both in content and in form.

Describe in one sentence what color means for you, how you choose colors and what you would like to express with them.

Color is Material.

It is the bridge to sensual experience and can take on all forms. I work with the essence of the color, the pure pigment.

Photo credits in the order in which they appear:

  • Black-and-white portrait of Miriam Vlaming: A.K. Schaffner
  • Close-ups in the studio: Miriam Vlaming and Eva Karl
  • Photographs from the coffee party: Eva Karl
  • Remaining portraits: Angelika Platen
  • Portrait in the studio: art Kunstmagazin as agreed upon with the artist

Reproduction or publication of the article – even in parts – allowed only after written agreement.

Translation: Karen Christenson

Thank you for your poetic, touching insights on those things that make people what they are, Miriam: their ability to form relationships and their role in an increasingly complex environment, which you distill with your own very personal aesthetics.

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