Tanja Heuchele: Can you describe yourself in 5 sentences?
Enne Haehnle: I am a sculptor, I like to work in groups and collectives. In the meantime I’m no longer the youngest, which is cool on the one hand – for example, my sons are grown up – but on the other hand, it sometimes makes me restless, especially in art, where I definitely still want to do a lot. My times abroad have shaped me a lot, not only the travelling, but living there for long periods. It’s great that art made that possible. Let’s see what happens next, and I’ll stay curious and try to get through life with a sense of humour…
TH: Your life without art would be…
EH: Probably less exciting and challenging. On the other hand, maybe with a little more security.
TH: What material inspires you the most? And which materials are you working with the most at the moment?
EH: Materials that are recyclable, that can be fed into cycles. And I like materials that are somehow changeable, not smooth, like the steel wire here. At the moment I’m working most with steel, clay, wax, flax, wood wool, neon and found materials.
TH: Are there also materials that you would never use again?
EH: Never say never…But probably all kinds of plastics. Anything that would produce toxic rubbish…What I definitely can’t stand is polystyrene, it makes me physically uncomfortable. I also find the smell of some materials unbearable… smell is important, so I would avoid them too…
TH: What literature did you study for preparing your art piece(s)?
EH: Donna Haraway: Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Experimental Futures… I tried to read Haraway again and again, already in the 90s, e.g. “Primate Visions”. More recent interests in the context of WAOR are the connections between the thinking of Rosa Luxemburg and Donna Haraway: e.g. their embrace of plants, animals and other living beings. And also their unconditional freedom of thought. And their rejection of purely utilitarian thinking and acting.
TH: What is your work about? What is your intention with it? What should it evoke in the viewer’s emotion?
EH: I develop my works from explorations of materials, space and language. The exploration often leads to a reduced formal language that refers directly to the materials used. In both the material and language-based works, I am interested in ambivalences, also in states of uncertainty or ephemeral conditions. My intention is to create a physical presence that confronts the viewers, that challenges them.
TH: When did the journey with Who’s afraid of_Rosa begin for you, and what keeps you involved?
EH: The first discussions and concepts for WAOR emerged as early as the beginning of 2019, which then led to the 2019 exhibition at four locations in Leipzig. It was very challenging work in the run-up. I had put a lot of time and energy into the applications for funding, and we all had many organizational hurdles to overcome. What still interests me two years later is the composition of the group and the solidarity, and I am still curious about how everything will develop.
TH: How is the collective Who’s afraid of_Rosa organized? So far, I’ve only met female Rosa’s… can men also be part of it?
EH: The initial group of WAOR emerged from the Künstlerinnen Netzwerk Leipzig (Women Artists Network Leipzig, KNW), so they were all women. From my point of view, what is definitively special about the group is its intergenerational makeup. Moreover, it is intersectional feminism that interests us. And yes, I don’t see any gender restrictions at all; anyway, it’s not interesting to think in narrow or prescribed categories.
TH: What does Rosa Luxemburg mean to you?
EH: A lot! I like her humanity and emotionality combined with her intellectual sharpness. Great! And it’s remarkable how much of what she was thinking and writing 100 years ago still affects us…
TH: The subline of the exhibition is public space – private space – political space. What space do you (not) feel comfortable in? Where would you like to make a difference? What is your perception of space? Is it even the case that the above-mentioned spaces do not exist without each other?
EH: Yes, exactly, the spheres overlap. Retreat into the private sphere is thus not possible, given the growth in nationalist and chauvinist mindsets in many places.
TH: How do you react to people who are not familiar with art, and how do you think they can be made to understand better?
EH: I join in their happiness if they step over a threshold and discover something new….
TH: What do you enjoy about your life as an artist?
EH: My curiosity. And my art has taken me to places and people I probably would not have had access to otherwise. I am grateful for that, and it remains exciting!
TH: What is great art for you?
EH: Good art touches me, moves me or drives me. This can have very different origins: extraordinary beauty, or pain; hard moments, tender moments; actually, everything that makes up life. In art, what is exciting is the simultaneous closeness to life, the sense of connection with the world, and the detachment from it, the autonomy…
TH: What about your next projects, exhibitions? Where can you be seen next?
EH: Currently: “a little piece of”, Galerie Intershop Leipzig. Upcoming: Kunstforum Rottweil with the group “materialistin”.
Photography by Gustav Franz
Portrait (c) Enne Haehnle