Sonja Vietoris

MA Fine Art Interim Show

Contact student

NB. Views and opinions of students in the degree show are their own and do not represent the views of the University.


My work explores identity and vulnerability.  What is it to be defined by prescriptive, constructed notions of being, and what is it not to conform?  This concerns us all, and I’d like to think aspects of my art could be made by anyone.  It is about confinement and control, and about imagination and going beyond.  It is about resistance.

How can I use the agency of a thing (its material, acoustic, smell, shape, form, colour, contingency) to create a moment (a space and atmosphere) where free imagining and thinking can happen?

I am an interdisciplinary practitioner who explores through material.  I work with the material, and am respectful of the forms it may settle into of its own volition.  And I am receptive to ideas this material-form may itself suggest. But I use material to get what I want without knowing what it is I want.  I use matter I find around me, including objects (e.g. drawers), photographs and discarded material (e.g. wire from a bonfire).  They are all containers, traces of memory, history, idea, and energy too, and can be transformed… as can people.

This piece of work, “Before/After”, explores my family history in Germany during WW1 and WW2 from the female subjective.  I wrap up books about battles, strategy, lines on maps, generals and villains, and ask, what is missing?  How is it, for example, that something as important as women has so little presence in history?

But why explore through art?

“Material makes more than one language possible.”

– Cildo Meireles, conceptual artist, 1994

History is like lace, it veils and reveals.

“I tell stories in my pictures to show what’s behind the story.  I make a hole and go through.”

– Anselm Kiefer, artist, 2011