Stefanie SL Exhibition

An Exhibition example from 2018

A big thank you to Lucie Weideman and her student Stefanie O at the International School of Augsburg.

This Standard Level exhibtion takes a more experimental symbolic approach and it is important to read the accompanying texts and rationale whilst looking at the work. She recieved 30 points =7.

You can see Stefanie's Process Portfolio SL in the gallery too.

Curatorial Rationale

         I am intrigued by the impermanence of our lives; the inevitability that everything will eventually fade. That is why my works aim to explore the transience of life, reminding us, that life itself is finite.

Through presenting the piece of embroidery I hope to capture the value behind the contributions of my grandma.  In "The Needles Still Move" the threats represent the flow of stitch that I fascinated observed when my grandma knitted: it is an up and down, a push and pull, a back and forth, in its own rhythm.

To express emotions in "Decomposed" I used earth tones in contrast with expressive brush stokes of bold colors, together with striking red thread for the fungi structures, emphasizing the significance of these worn & decaying structures, intending to add further layers. Placing the painting at the end of the narrow room, underlines the expression of ultimate termination: death. Together with "Temporality of Life", the pieces embody abstract decay in contrast to the controlled fashion of embroidery. I find it necessary to engage with the motif of ageing & decay and their tactile qualities, hence why the surface plays an important role for me and I want to represent the decomposing nature of life- the inevitability. Inspired by the surrealist concept of Dali, time is running, literally represented through the clock. Overall, the subjects featured are impacted by cultural metaphors relating to time, decay and impermanence.

All my works feature the inevitable element of decay; it cannot be stopped. The emphasis is on time & its role in the decay of objects and memories. We want to preserve the moment, the memories, the stories shared with one another. However, we are part of a cycle we cannot escape. A cycle of forgetting captured in "Seared Stories". Memories may be faded- only traces of a remembered moment in our past left. Also in "Inevitability of Life", I intended to craft something physical- through merging a 2D piece with the tactility of thread, in a world dominated by photography. Life is fragile in all its aspects, which can be expressed through delicate ornamental embroidery. Working across a wide range of media and processes reflects the metamorphosis of subject matter. As a stand, I used tree stump as a foot for the piece, which provides it with a personal history, embodying fabricated nostalgia.

By using hand-embroidery and stitching, I intended to add further layers to textually enrich my pieces. Oil pastel is embellished with delicate stitched embroidery to celebrate death, which is usually seen as something sad. However, through portraying death as beautiful, Mexican artists create a dialogue with death.  The way they portray and cope with death reflects their culture's tradition of honoring the dead, instead of dreading the end of the life, like our society.

         The process of life & how it is evolving, can be visible in many areas- through different means, we want to preserve moments, to work against the ultimate transience of life, which is unavoidable.

Exhibition Overview

Exhibition pieces and texts

As a Standard Level student she submitted 5 pieces. In this case the large scale of the work or the composite nature of some of the pieces means that much of the detail and texture is not visible in a single photo, so I have included some of the additional supporting photos.


Acrylic paint, chalk on canvas and hand-embroidery ornamented with gold trim

210 x  110 cm

Decay is all around us, while usually only beauty depicted. The stages one goes through start from birth over growth, fruition and ultimately terminate in death. Morality thus is an inevitable element of decay. Inspired by decomposing fruit, the piece is blossoming with structures of fungi, falling victim to the relentless cycle of life and death, ultimately reminding me of my own morality - and the cyclical process of transformation through the idea of impermanence.

detail of Decomposed ( supporting photo)

Temporality of Life

Acrylic paint, pigments, print transfer, textile and embroidery on canvas

190 x 90 cm

Photos capture and freeze a moment in time. However, time continues- leaving marks behind.  Experiences shape and leave traces on us, evoking memories of another time. Flashes of memory lingering in & out of consciousness; past & present combined in my painting. The clock symbolizes the transient nature of our human existence. We try to work against, to counteract & prevent decay and ageing; try to fill holes, stitch over them. But with time, memories are fading- just like the photos and stories. I want to make people aware of the impermanence of life in memory of what has already be forgotten.

detail of Temporality

Inevitability of Life (above)

Oil pastels, hand- embroidery and photography

85 x 40 cm & 20 x 30 cm

I created the 2 pieces in response to the Mexican Day of Dead, as part of paying homage to death- paying tribute to the departed, celebrating with lush and vibrant flowers. In Mexico, death is free of constraints imposed on it by western culture: death is inevitable and must always be integrated as part of life and you cannot celebrate life without death. The human body as a metaphor for delinquency of life, overlaid with embroidery, shows how life and death are intervened. Death should not be something to be feared or dreaded but part of our life and celebrated and embellished.

The Needles still move (tryptich)

Sewing and embroidery on fabric

60 x 25 cm  (120 x 60 cm)

The piece asks us to consider the way elderly are treated in our society, how our perceptions of individuals are changed by the process of ageing. My grandma practices knitting with the goal to remain useful & a productive member of society.  We often feel that her actions are unnecessary, though she continues in a determination, deeply rooted, despite limitations of physical abilities due to ageing. Despite the changing role of her life, her hands have remained in a perpetual motion, "the needles still move" - easily remembering their own pattern and rhythm, forgetting how to stop- against the natural & unavoidable cycle of life.

supporting photo of The Needles still move, to show scale of tryptich

Seared Stories

oil pastel & watercolor on vintage books

170 x 150 cm

Photography enables one the unique ability to capture a fleeting moment- creating a narrative. Arranged into an irregular grid, the old books resemble pieces of a puzzle that are reliant on one another- that collectively piece together a lifetime. As time evolves, it is more and more wearing away expressed through the burned books. In evocative intensity and simplicity through juxtaposing realistic flesh like faces rich in color with minimalist plain black lines, as well as monochrome books, synthesis is placed on my grandparents and I, reviving long lost memories.

detail of Seared Stories

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