Annegret Soltau: Schwanger sein [Being Pregnant], 1986

Women Video Work(s)

Women Video Work(s)
pregnant woman and a crescent
Annegret Soltau, »Schwanger sein« [Being Pregnant], 1986
© Annegret Soltau
Date: 1986
Material/Technique: Video, color, stereo, 4:3
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Copyright: © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015

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Annegret Soltau’s video work »Schwanger Sein« [Being Pregnant] depicts a woman lying prone, whose rounded stomach moves with the rhythmic up and down movement of her breathing. She repeatedly extends curved, protective hands over the rounded stomach. The rising and sinking of the abdominal wall can be seen for a while, until the unexpected appearance into the picture of a sickle. The rounded blade of a sickle curves over the pregnant woman’s stomach; the sickle then touches it with the rising breath. The pain-contorted face of the woman is now visible. This ambivalent video work establishes a macabre link between the pregnant woman and the symbol of death.
Her pregnancies in 1978 and 1980 inspired Annegret Soltau to create various photo and video works showing how women could join creativity and motherhood. At the same time she expresses her fear her role as a mother could endanger her existence as an artist.
Annegret Soltau
1946 born in Lüneburg, Germany; 1967-72 Studied painting and graphic arts at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste (University of Fine Arts) in Hamburg under Hans Thiemann, Kurt Kranz, Rudolf Hausner and David Hockney; 1972 Attended classes at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste Wien (Vienna Academy of Fine Arts)
1973 German Academic Exchange Service scholarship to study in Milan, Italy; since 1975 Performance, photography and videos (first photo overstichings in 1975, first photo etchings in 1976, first restitched photos in 1977); 1982 Fellowship from the Kunstfonds (Art Foundation), Bonn; 1984 Villa Massimo scholarship, Rome; 1986-87 Residence fellowship at Villa Massimo, Rome; 1989-90 Fellowship from the Kunstfonds (Art Foundation), Bonn; 1998 Maria Sibylla Merian Prize for women artists in the state of Hesse; 2000 Wilhelm Loth Prize (art prize awarded by the City of Darmstadt); 2011 Marielies Hess Art Prize, Frankfurt am Main; Teaching appointments and workshops a.o. at the Hochschule für Gestaltung (University of Design), Offenbach am Main; University of Cologne; International Summer Academy of the Fine Arts, Salzburg; University of Darmstadt; Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz; Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences; and the Nürtingen Academy of Art
Text and Biography: Claudia Gehrig