Meet the artist Naomi Middelmann

Short summary about you?

I was born in Switzerland and moved to New York when I was 16. After getting a Bachelor’s in International Relations and Writing from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland (USA), I went to work in publishing in New York. I then decided to return to Switzerland as I have family here. I now work as a full time professional artist.

What is your art about?

My work explores the permeability of the individual’s sense of memory. We often think we remember but science has shown that our memories are actually untrustworthy and can be assembled, dissassembled and reassembled.
Not wanting to limit myself to one medium, I draw, paint, sculpt and assemble as an expression of the disparate nature of what we remember or think we remember, our changing identity and the societal roles we play. I use the permeability of the paper I work on, the unprimed canvas to, or mixed media to express this sense of permeability and transience.
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© Naomi Middelmann

How did you come to art, or how did art come to you?

I have always liked to draw and have tried a variety of different artistic techniques from writing, to theater, to art. But going to art school was not what I planned to do.When I decided to move back to Switzerland. my first intent was to write, but instead began taking classes in glasswork. After two years working with Glass, I moved to Basel to study art in a postgraduate 4 year full-time programme. I am currently based and work out of Lausanne, Switzerland.
© Naomi Middelmann

Has anything changed about your working processes during your artistic career?

At art school, I played around with 2d mediums: drawing, painting, printmaking. But a few years ago, I was handed all my schoolbooks and notebooks from kindergarden to age 16. I decided to play around with sculpture and made giant seed like structures out of the books. This changed my process of painting and drawing. Instead of starting out with pre-decided formats, I now play with dissassembling, reassembling, formats and structures. I am also more interested in the process itself expressing the theme as opposed to depending on the finished piece. This has made my work far more experimental than at the start.
For example I have currently been working on the theme of memory and how what we think we remember is actually most probably not the full truth. What interested me is the permeability of memory, how it can be transformed, changed and influenced. Working with paper and natural canvas, I have both disassembled old pieces and then reassembled them. In other cases I have drawn actual maps of places I have visited, cut them apart and then randomly reassembled them.
© Naomi Middelmann

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