A successful working artist, Rita Ackermann claims herself an obsessed perfectionist. This, playing a finical role in her work today which is forever evolving and growing alongside her ample imagination. With a history of oil paintings and solo shows behind her such as ‘’Corvette’’ 2000 Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York and “Jump On Me” 2005 Bonner Kunstverein, she is a perfect balance of chaos and harmony. Much like her lifestyle. And as life would have it, she may be tilting toward the chaos side of things within the next year coming!! With a fully packed programme for 2010, I can only think Rita, please breathe…..
Being now a residing New Yorker, you are originally from Hungary, and are visiting there at the moment. Tell us about growing up there and what your family was like. What were you motivations for moving to New York City? How are you spending your time back there now?
Opposite to Michael Jackson, I had a childhood. The best childhood that one could have. Communism was good on us children, it worked out pretty well with maximum freedom to play and learn to compete only through sports. There was no difficulty in making choices or being distracted from our imagination by over consumption. Historical culture was left open for us kids but the secrets of the western culture was always leaking in. I spent a lot of time in my summer breaks reading Western and Hungarian magazines in my grandma dumpster attic, I now blame those times for being totally hooked on magazines! I had a fantasy life that was living inside me until I was 15, an almost translucent person, so light, so pure and so naive. All of those attributes, one needs to fight for in order to keep hold of in later life. Theatre was also a really big part of my knowledge and everything classical or even classical modern, like Alfred Jerry or Beckett. We could go to see an amazing theatre production for free! That was how I almost memorized the King Ubu (as I went to see it about 7 times), or Raymond Quenaeu’s styled exercises for about a 100 times. My parents were very kind and humble people and let me be a kid but also payed attention to my thoughts. They let me be obssesive with things. My passion, I could always live out, as I said it was theatre and art which was easily accessible. There was always enough time to do anything, there was no rush. I only met with the idea and the fact of ‘rush’ when I moved to New York…and it absolutely excited me.
Tell us about your background as an artist.
My background as an artist did not have much to do with art schools. I have had traditional training that I obtained between the age of 15 and 19 in a hyper academic evening art school where kids and adults went to prepare for auditioning for a fine art academy. I was very lucky that i gained entry into the academy but shortly after I left for a grant offering at the New York Studio School of drawing painting and sculpture. This school was a hard headed and conservative institution teaching only about modern art and as a pop-crazed Eastern European kid I didn’t want to spend too much time listening to lectures that hated on pop art! I eventually left the school and turned my interests to the social/street/party life, letting the city to be my teacher. Books, films and museums were my sanctuary. The streets were my school and waitressing was my alternative form of education. I don’t believe in education for arts in which you start and finish, I believe when you are an artist you never stop learning. It is the death of an artist when he/she thinks that they have obtained all the knowledge they need to make art. Art is an absolute freedom with the discipline of consistency. That discipline, you can learn in sports, you dont need to take overestimated art classes to be a fanatic or an excentric, that is always the very attractive nature of an artist and that nobody can teach in school.