Gert Germeraad

I wrote two more extensive texts about my work. One is published in the Journal for Artistic Research (JAR3) and one in an online publication forum associated with JAR, the Resaerch Catalogue.

"Rationality, Intuition and Emotion, exploring an artistic process" published june 2013 in the Journal for Artistic Research (JAR3)


This exploratory text communicates the relation between my figurative sculpture and abstract drawings in an attempt to find the deeper grounds in my artistic work. During this project writing has become a connecting element, both as a description of my artistic process and as an integrated part of my work. In this writing I have tried to be open to underlying motives and early in this project it became clear that memories of psychotic episodes that I experienced in my twenties would start to play a crucial part in the description of my process. The psychoses had a prodigious impact on the formation of the person I have become and still play an important role as an undercurrent of emotional energy in my daily life and in my art. However, since I don’t want my art to be perceived through the point of view that I was once a psychiatric patient, I hardly ever talk about it. In this exposition I explore how, if I want to explore deeper layers in my work, I can no longer avoid this part of my past.

"Rationality, Intuition and Emotion" as pdf.

"About Exchanging a Portrait"
published april 2016 in Research


This is a text concerning artistic processes. It has a starting point in a project where I am making a portrait of a colleague artist while he is making mine. During the making of this portrait and thereafter I question my ways of working in which I occasionally find myself confronted with artistic blocks. In a period of two and a half years I investigate and articulate my artistic process as it meanders and expends over the different attitudes and problems I encounter in my work. I give a critical analysis of my motives and working methods and try to extend the range of possible ways of working.

This text can be read as an extension of my previous text "Rationality, Intuition and Emotion, exploring an artistic process" that is published in the Journal for Artistic Research, JAR 3.

"About exchanging a Portrait" as pdf.

Texts on my work by:

Viveka Adelswärd

Thomas Kjellgren

Sofie Sweger

BACKGROUND (excerpt from "About Exchanging a Portrait")

I work with series of portrait sculptures and abstract drawings. My series of sculptures are most often based on photographs from archives and deal with human vulnerability. For example, I have worked with series of portraits on immigrants who during the Second World War where arrested by the Gestapo in Vienna on the accusation of being "lazy" or having "illegal relations". Another series are portraits of Jewish children who were deported to the concentration camps, "French Children of the Holocaust", life size portraits of children in a naturalistic style. For these series of portraits I make use of pictures from archives, books or internet and over the years I have become seasoned with the method that I apply.

I have taught myself portraiture and I want to make portraits that are credible and naturalistic in their appearance. These portraits are not isolated portraits, portraits at their own right or portraits an sich, but rather actors on a stage in a story I want to tell. It is a narrative portraiture. I want the attention of the spectator to be drawn to the story behind these portraits, not to the actual portraits, nor to my interpretation of the portrayed, nor to the particular technical details of how these portraits came about, as the subject matter of these sculptures is not how they came about. Even though the process of making is without any doubt present and can be read as a separate content layer, the subject matter lay outside the actual physical portrait. Yet, technically I try to get close to the people I portray and I pay a lot of attention making them. This seems to be contradictory, but the perception of these sculptures is influenced by the credibility of my interpretation, by the degree in which they appear to be realistic. The more the spectator accepts the portraits as actors in a story, instead of as portraits an sich, the more credible this story is.

In 'Gender is Burning, questions of appropriation and subversion', Judith Butler states that an artwork (in her text a performative act of drag) is successful only if it cannot be 'read'. This is, if the form, intention, content and execution are convincing to an extent that it is not questioned as a work of art, but "appears to be a kind of transparent seeing". (Butler, 1993, p129) In other words, if an artwork is questioned as work of art, it fails. In that sense, I would like my portraits to be convincing, both as portraits an sich, in the way they came about (the technical details) and in the narrative they represent.

With my portraits I would like to evoke an experience of what Emmanuel Levinas calls "the epiphany of the face", the intangible being of man that goes beyond its outer appearance. We have a moral obligation: If we reduce the Other to his or her outer appearance, we are unjust. "Ethics starts in resisting the temptation to diminish the Other to the image we have through our perception." (Guwy, 2008: p89-90). In my portraits I want to visualise the Other as a vulnerable human being, but as an artist/creator I don't want to appear in between the portrait and spectator, since that would evoke questions on the coming about of these sculptures–which would cause the artwork to fail. If I can make a portrait that is not reduced to outer form but calls forth an experience of something intangible behind, I think I can rightfully say that I have brought this portrait to life. In this setting a realistic portrait is the beginning of a story of human vulnerability.

Compared to my sculptures, I have both conceptual, formal and methodological a diametrically opposite approach to my drawings. The last years I have reestablished my relation to my drawings as a complement to my sculpture after many years of neglect. At one time I thought it was so problematic to contextualise my drawings that I stopped working with them. Now I realise that my sculptures refer to the outer world and my relation to the social context in that outer world and that my drawings are foremost introspective and contemplative by nature. Despite the fact that my drawings are non-figurative and abstract and hold a formal contrast to my sculptures, I feel that there is a strong connection on an emotional level between these two bodies of work.