From: São Paulo, SP, Brasil.
Much of Madeleine Altmann’s work is meant to be immersive and transport you through a familiar world that is made to look otherworldly. The process of moving through the landscapes is integral to making the art and being the artist. The affinity with the beauty and magic in nature is a spiritual connection. Both Personal and universal - self reflective and ethereal. That is how Altmann navigates stylized environments with her videos. In “Walking on Ice” the reflective surfaces allowed her to “see right through the deepest part of myself while simultaneously reflecting back the different facets of my exterior self”.
Walking or traversing time and space allows for an emotional journey that grapples with issues of life, death and rebirth. In ‘Black Ice” the video shows faces emerge softly in the depth of the shifting surface. Like lost memories or ghosts trapped deep in the recesses of the ice and of the mind.
After traveling the surreal landscapes with Altmann, everyday life will be altered in the same way walking on land feels different after being on a boat. It heightens the awareness of the surfaces and depths of the path ahead.
“Because I love art and I love being creative in my life. My art is very personal to me. My life is part of the process. My process is part of my life. Making art and thinking creatively enriches everything I do. “
The videos ‘Walking on Ice’ “ CT River’ and ‘Cove Reflections’ are all strongly influenced by Rebecca Solnit’s book ‘ Wanderlust – A History of Walking’. Much of Altmann’s current work aestheticizes the simple act of walking, of the movement of sights that go by. Traveling at a pace slow enough for thoughts to breathe becomes a means of traversing the landscape of the mind. Using the human body for this action enables the continuity of self amid the flux of a world that changes and a further understanding of their relationship.
In all her work Altmann is always dressed in red alluding to biblical symbols of life and power. Additionally it’s visually striking (Nancy Reagan used it as her signature color during her years at the White House). Altmann’s videos ‘Cove Reflections’ and ‘Walking on Ice’ were shot at the exact same location of the Concord River where Thoreau wrote “A Week on the Concord and Merrimack River”. There he developed his philosophies based around natural observation and personal experience amid the technological changes of the world around him. The 4 monitor installation ‘Temple Rock’ which took over two years of recorded footage, has the view of the Concord River in the background where Thoreau did his writings. This book is a tribute to his dead brother and 'black ice' also shot at that same location as Thoreau’s book is a tribute to Altmann’s brother who just died this past May 2015.
Much of the footage is either recorded with the Sony 4K camera or the Gopro 4 K with an underwater housing. Being a fish is part of the experience Altmann wants to convey, a new way of experiencing underwater from a new angle and perception.
Altmann’s partner, Andreas Uthoff devises the installations that are purposefully made from recycled materials. Uthoff uses old monitors discarded in the march of ever changing standards and Altmann infuses them with timeless life by adding imagery that is in itself timeless such as beasches and waterfalls.
Viewers are invited to immerse themselves in underwater videos on a pyramid of 36 monitors or dive with the kids into the golden lake. The artist’s intention is to create conditions that enable viewers to lose themselves in the image. Using old and new techniques as well innovative forms of presentation devised by Uthoff, this exhibition fully utilizes the space at Gallery 555
Altmann has been active in visual arts for most of her life. Starting in photography she moved on to television, interactive telecommunications and video art. Along the way she has exhibited her work around the world and accumulated a variety of accolades including awards from the American Film Institute and Sony Pictures.
Born and raised in Brazil and England, she moved to the USA to attend Hampshire College for undergraduate studies in film and video. She went on to receive a Masters of Fine Arts Degree from The San Francisco Art Institute and a Masters in Professional Studies Degree from New York University, where she received the "Interactive Media Pioneer Award." Currently she represented by Petra Rietz Galerie in Berlin, Germany
Along with her single channel installations Altmann works with Uthoff to create the sculptural elements of the monitors on display. She now resides with her family in the Greater Boston area.
about The CRT Monitors (Cathode Ray Monitors)
These monitors were acquired from old television stations as they convert from analog to digital technology. In TV control rooms, they replaced the racks of small monitors with touch screen computers, making these old cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors obsolete. Over the recent years, Andreas Uthoff, sculptural collaborator with Madeleine Altmann, has been saving some of these castaway monitors from the junk heap. The intention is to refashion them into something modern and elegant.