Edith Altman’s life, and with it her work, describes a circle beginning here in the German town of Altenburg, where the artist was born, and eventually finding its way back to this town. And her work culminates here in a workshop with young people to whom she conveys her wisdom, her knowledge and her message, and with whom she finds a community even though she no longer has command of the German language.
Language is essential for Edith Altman’s experience, her self-discovery, and her art. She experienced losing her own language and having no choice but to find her way around in the obscurities of a strange one. The path was marked by images, and images have remained the foundation of her thought and her means of artistic expression, while writing also occasionally plays a role. The artist describes herself as someone who thinks visually; images, she says, are her language, the medium by which she communicates with the viewer, her fellow human being. They are both the point of departure and the result of her work.
But Edith Altman would not be the multifaceted personality she is if she did not avail herself of many other media in order to arrive at her artistic statement, which is always imbued with content: her belief, her experience, her message. She can realize this aim most comprehensively in her installations and actions, in which image, drawing, photo, object, body, light, sound, language and text unite in a Gesamtkunstwerk to which one finds access not via the intellect alone but, to a much greater extent, through meditative and intuitive consciousness.
By Ursula Prinz
Curator of the Berlin Gallery Museum