Nadine Hottenrott

Posted by Fabio 9 November 2009

Artist Nadine Hottenrott graduated in 2009 from the Dutch Sandeberg Institute. My eyes were immediately arrested by the bold statements ‘woven’ into her work.

“With respect to twentieth-century history, it has been drummed into every post-war German that he or she should exhibit a permanent sense of guilt. The question is for how many generations one nation is bound to public humility regarding historical crimes against humanity. As a German in the Netherlands, Nadine Hottenrott has had this dilemma brought home to her every day.

Whenever she is in a pub with friends and leaves a bit earlier than the others, oddly enough she is still tackled on the supposed German ‘gründlichkeit’. Apparently, she cannot be just tired, or tired of the situation. She is aware of the fact that you can never ever use the word ‘German’ together with the word ‘pride’ in one sentence.

In order to come to terms with her identity – another phrase that may be doubtful in a German sense – she does everything except the obvious. Her chosen form of self-castigation consists of crocheting an endless penitential garment with extra fine wool. Time and again she crochets the swastika into an ever-stretching ‘lace’ curtain. Quite often people ask her what it is supposed to be, instead of what it is. It is never enough and she keeps crocheting, getting  hooked.

In the course of time she has come to express herself ever more sharply. In a Turkish bazar she found a T-shirt printed with the word ‘Deutschland’ in capital letters. She asked an androgynous-looking girl to put on the T-shirt  and took a photograph of her. She made a work entitled ‘I’m quilting my German Flag’. She had the word ‘Deutsch’ tattooed on her upper arm, in Helvetica type. She sets herself on edge. She embroiders Angela Merkel’s portrait.

She paddles around in a lake of potato soup – ‘Kartoffelsuppe’.  She’s completely fed up”.
Written by Alex de Vries