ANNA BU KLIEWER
Anna was born in 1987 in Saporoshje, Ukraine, and grew up in Germany. She’s a mixed media artist working in both analogue and digital collage.
Aged 19, Anna began travelling the world, living in seven countries, including a couple of years in Cape Town. During that time, she studied Fine Art at Emily Carr University, Vancouver, Canada, and at Central Saint Martins in London.
Driven by her curiosity about other realities, time and space, she challenges our perceptions of identity and nature by transforming found imagery into a new, surreal context.
THE CURIOUS CURVE Q & A
So Anna, what’s your story?
I was born in Ukraine and grew up in Germany. I consider myself „Gerkrainian“ - an odd mix of German efficiency, directness and rationality with a Ukrainian melancholy and love for dill. After graduating I studied Fine Art in Vancouver, Canada and London, UK. In the last 10 years I lived in 7 different countries, but can now call London my home again.
When did you start focusing on the technique of collage? And where did your fascination for „cut and paste“ derive from?
Honestly I was forced to do collage in high-school and then really enjoyed it. Collage has been in my creative process ever since. I exhibited and sold my first collage in 2012. I am to this day fascinated that two simple tools, scissors and glue, are able to create a whole new visual reality. This is wonderful.
Tell a little bit about your love for books and for paper as a medium?
I just love reading. Reading books makes me more creative as my brain has to focus and not get distracted by the buzzing phone. Also I need my imagination to picture the story. It is quite meditative. Last year I read about 23 books, this year I am trying to get to 50.
I don’t really have that ONE favourite book, but I recommend all by Deborah Levy.
I’ve loved paper since I was little. I smell books and magazines, I like the touch of the pages and the fragility of paper.
What do you think is the significance or status of collage in contemporary art?
I remember that when I was in art school I wanted to paint although I was more into collage and video. The reason to make paintings was that people ‘would take it/me seriously’. Some people still do not see the value in paper, but the amount of collage artists nowadays shows that it is now back in contemporary art.
When making collage, how do you select your source material? Is there any special era that you like to work with?
For smaller pieces I prefer the hues from the 1970s and 1980s, for backgrounds it can be anything.
I have a lot of thrift shops in my area and love to go for walks, it feels like a treasure hunt, you do not know what you find. I now have a collection of about 15000 cut out pieces which are neatly organised by colour or topic. I guess I remained German at heart.
If you could grab a coffee with five people (dead or alive) in your favourite coffeeshop in Hackney, who would you invite?
Marina Abramovic, Rebecca Solnit, Deborah Levy, Vivienne Westwood, Meryl Streep.
Who is your role model? And why?
My female friends have all one or many characteristics that I admire and want me to become a better person. I am very grateful to have them in my life.
What’s your personal mantra?
Trust your instinct and take life with humour.
What music do you listen to (if) when working in your studio? Any Spotify Playlist you would like to share?
I would recommend Haruki Murakami Day on NTS, seven hours of music: