The Heroine’s Journey of Eva Mühlendyck

What is the best thing that I love about my work? My studio is my sanctuary: a space, that when I enter it, surrounds me with its instant seclusion from the outer world. The best part of my work lies in the beginning. In front of me there is a lump of clay, which transforms into a face and challenges me to give it a body and expressions. This demands all my concentration, every intention is offline and the work begins. In between the process it can be quite difficult. Towards the end a different bliss occurs, I caress and smooth out the sculpture with a wet brush to accentuate the fine details, turn it around from time to time, the plasticity builds up and suddenly the sculpture is finished. It is a very sensual and fascinating process.

What is my idea of happiness? My idea of happiness is getting lost. For example walking through deep fresh snow and being surrounded by a flurry of snowflakes. The white, swirling world around me sets me free from the ordinary and problematic world, and opens me up to an wider and deeper existence. A deep love embraces me and gives me the most unbelievable ideas. Or I vanish into the green water of a lake, surrounded by green landscapes and the blue sky above me. I am being embraced by the quiet and the beauty of a bigger world than mine.

What is my greatest fear? I am getting old and my energy as well as my strength is declining. This situation will force me to stop creating art. One of my most feared thoughts is about what to do with all my sculptures which are still in my studio.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? I think there are quite a few things I deplore in myself. For instance I am a very impractical and technically untalented person. There are quite a
lot of skills I don’t have. Therefore I have to ask my friends and neighbors for help. Fortunately they are by my side to support me.

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire. The installation artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov with their narrative “Total Installations” are two artists I admire. Especially impressive -in her magic and enigmaticness- are the sculptures and installations by Louise Bourgois and the precious and sensitive installations of Rebecca Horn.The painters Ruth Spahr-Mühlendyck – her pictures have been always present in my childhood -, Maria Lassnig with her self-portraits that are idiosyncratic and without embellishment, or Cornelia Schleime, who brings drama to life on paper with ease.

What is my greatest extravagance? I love earrings, red lipstick and I smoke my cigarettes with a cigarette holder.

On what occasion would I lie? Lies are like prisons, that’s why I am trying to avoid them. On occasions , where it’s impossible to interrupt my work process – but know that my declination of someone’s invitation would create a conflict – I would consider a little indisposition.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? I can feel depressed when my work stagnates and I can’t find a solution to it. This state of mind can take a few days.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? When the viewer looks at my work intensively and connects with it, which causes them to come closer to themselves.

If I could, what would I change about myself? I would love to be smarter and more capable in day to day life.

What is my greatest achievement in work? A few years ago I worked in a jail. The prisoners painted, wrote and talked to me about their lives. A friend of mine photographed them in their cells. I used the prisoner’s experiences to create an installation. The day of the exhibition was a big event, for me as an artist and for the prisoners, who exposed themselves. I was worried, if my installation would be liked and if I really understood their fates. It went well. They walked through the installation, like walking through their inner self. This was more than I hoped for and I was very touched.

Where would I most like to live? Berlin has been my home for a few years now. I like to live in this vivacious city which provides languages and people from all over the world. There’s always things to see and to listen to.

What is my most treasured possession? My sculptures are among my most treasured possessions, because they carry a fingerprint of myself and my own life’s stories in them. Also my library is very valuable to me, since I love to read and expand my horizon, which also finds its way into my art.

What is my most marked characteristic? I hope, I have an open ear and mind for the people, who cross my path.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? One of my most favorite spots in the city is the Brandenburger Tor. It’s a very exciting site because it’s a melting pot of all kinds of people. You can find tourists from all around the world, street artists, protesters who are collecting signatures for their causes and Berlin inhabitants. The protesters are especially interesting to me, since they are educating the people about all kinds of dictatorships around the world and people deprived of their rights. Of cause you can also find protests about matters I do not agree with. Afterwards I like to walk to the Lustgarten, a big green space in front of the Berliner Dom. Most of the time it’s a very atmospheric place. Here you can observe lovers, tourists, old people holding hands, parents with
nicely dressed little children, Manga fans who are cosplaying as their idols, musicians, Turkish newly weds, brides who are wrapped in white clouds and guests who are dancing and cheering to them. This place is a colorful panopticon.

What is my favorite place to eat and drink in my city? I love to eat at and with my friends. Some of them are truly skilled in cooking and create the most incredible menus. The spices of these glorious foods tell something of their preferences and skills, which are traveling to my stomach.

What books influenced my life and how? A lot of books reinforced and influenced my thinking. Here are some books, I read in the last few years. Else Lasker-Schüler’s poetry touched me deeply when beloved people leave me. I appreciate Siri Hustvedt’s essays and novels because of their vitality, thirst for knowledge and sharp observations. One of her agendas is to build a relationship
between art, literature, psychology, psychoanalysis, neuroscience and medicine. Peter Sloterdjyk’s Sphären is a source of inspiration. A philosopher who combines art, philosophy, history, culture and science. He masters the transfer of the language of images into new dimensions. His thinking inspires a new look at the development of the world’s contemplations. The philosopher Levinas uses the word “endearment” to describe the importance of being aware of your counterparts fragility. One of my earliest occurrences that impressed me deeply was Stevenson’s “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, which took its place in my life in different ways. It inspired my last installation titled “Die Wunderkammer des Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, a project about the myth of cloning in the context of science and alchemy. The project is accessible by a video filmed by Juliane Dyroff-Tüblukkan under following link:

You only die once. What music would I listen on my last day? I have the choice between Schubert’s string quartet “Death and the Maiden” or Chopin’s “Nocturnes”. The first one is about a maid that escapes death several times until there’s no way to avoid her fate anymore. The second, “Nocturnes” is music which my friend Christa used to play on the piano, when we both were very young.

Who is my hero and heroine in fiction? I am not drawn to fictional hero and heroines stories, but like to dive into biographical stories of our times.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? We live in turbulent times. Recently there are a lot of heroes I admire. Foremost a lot of women. There are brave women and men who are protesting against the Mullahs in Iran; women in Afghanistan who are trying to gain their freedom back from the Taliban. In Belarus, women are trying to break the oppression of Lukashenko; brave women and men are trying to protect their country – Ukraine – from Putin’s attacks. Including their president, Selenskyj, and all the people who dare to stand against the Russian government. Also the people who fight for the protection of the climate as well as the environment. The list is very long.

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime? I like to look at things and events from different perspectives, because I am interested in their ambivalence. That’s the reason why I like the old movie “Rashomon” by Akira Kurosawa, a story about a crime described by all who are involved. Every one of them is telling a different story.

What role play stories in my life and work? Listening to the stories of other people is something I enjoy. Especially if they experienced a lot and faced interesting situations, as well as when the storyteller has an unconventional way of thinking. I come across stories , when walking the streets, sitting in a café, traveling and so on. Interesting stories educate me and give me the inspirations and ideas for my work. They give me the opportunity to connect with my counterpart’s fate.

What do the words ‘You are the storyteller of your own life’ to me? We are born into a life we did not choose. If we are lucky, we can navigate parts of our lives freely, and some parts of our lives encounter different kind of circumstances which force us to fight for our path.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? In the past my greatest fans and sponsors have been my mother -also an artist- and my husband. Today there are my friends.

Which people or companies would I like to work with? I would like to continue our work with Juliane Dyroff-Tüblukkan and Victoria Sepulveda in creating little video installations. We create
installations and combine these with movement, as well as filming them.

What project am I looking forward to work on? Since I have to end my sculptural work in the next few years because of age and physical reasons, I am looking for places like social facilities (elderly homes, hospitals, schools, public facilities) to give my sculptures a new home. Also I am planning a celebration in summer where other artists are invited to show their work. Additionally, I would like to have musicians and people who do literature readings. Also I would like to continue to work with Victoria Sepulveda and Juliane Dyroff-Tüblukkan to create more installation videos. With Matilde Canepa Gonzáles I would like to do an exhibition about dream images.

Where can you see me or my work? My atelier’s door in Berlin is always open for visitors. Also I am
presenting my work on my website, youtube and Instagram pages.,,

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? Passion is a powerful drive like love. Passion can be lasting, exuberant as well as disappointing. Passion can change. It can have crises and from time to time you have to invent it new. Therefore, you have to feed it constantly with new impressions, which forces you to stay awake and alert for new inspirations. This is essential for passion to spark again and to unfold. Possibly there is also some luck involved, fate and the nature
of our experiences which either accelerate or slow our passion down. Unfortunately, the passion can vanish or suddenly thrive for new goals. But if you experience the intensity which is gifted from your passion, it is quite easy to become avid to it and seek it again and again. Then the passion will never leave us.

Which creative professionals should Peter invite to tell their story?
Dongwhan Kang, Matilde Cánepa González

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