Two hundred words about Petra Nimm
I’ll be honest, Petra Nimm is a complete mystery to me.
I know almost nothing about her other than her name.
And that she is she.
And that she is left handed.
Melusine told me this.
I haven’t even met Petra.
Melusine told me about her and said she is very shy.
Petra lives alone.
Supposedly she makes art.
She listens to the music of David Byrne.
And Cole Porter.
Melusine encouraged Petra to open her own Facebook account in hopes it would make her more social, more connected.
Mel and I are her only friends.
How do I know that Petra isn’t a figment of Melusine’s imagination?
She could possibly be.
But I suspect she is not.
I want to believe Petra is as real as Franz.
As real as Melusine.
As real as me.
Petra has an email account. She had to in order to open the Facebook account.
Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve never written to her and she has never written to me.
I doubt she has ever written to anyone.
This is the first I’ve written about Petra.
Aside from notes in my notebook.
Who is Petra Nimm?
[Almost] another two hundred words about Petra Nimm
Petra Nimm is the second alter ego, the focal point of the second Double Portrait collage, but she is the last alter ego I am writing about. I know the least about her. Unlike Melusine and Franz she is not wordy. She is quiet, and maybe only expresses herself through making images? Is Petra a mirror or a sieve?
Because I considered the ‘handedness’ of the other two, based on what I have read, Petra strikes me as possibly being left handed. But I don’t know this because we have not yet really met.
I learned Petra’s name last July in Berlin. While trying to explain the term heteronym I was misheard by a colleague, who thought I was talking about a person named ‘Petra Nimm’. It stuck. In that moment Petra Nimm was born in a miscommunication between two artists. She has not gone away.
Melusine reminds me of Petra; I think because they are opposites. They seem to be friends of some sort. I would like to introduce Petra to Franz; maybe her quiet nature would appeal to that part of him, provide him something he is missing?
I made this collage with the intention of learning more about someone I know so little about, Petra Nimm.
Beyond her name I had almost nothing to work with, just what is written above which came from a few quick notes.
She seems to be an observer.
I approached the collage using the same materials and methods as I did for the first.
The images come from a variety of magazines, not a single type or subject. I did find in one an ad for house paint by Valspar. It featured their color ‘Island Orange’ painted on a house door. The color appealed to me, and on the door it reminded me of Petra. A closed door? Is it the orange, bright, noticeable, definitely catched my attention...but remains closed. Or is it the color orange? Is Petra Dutch? What does orange tell me about Petra? In the same add there was text that said It’s Time To Redefine What Paint Can Do. This is what I am trying to do. Is this what Petra is doing?
The image of myself in Look In Glass is positioned perpendicular to the bottom right corner of the collage. My dark brown eye is surrounded by a splash of aqua blue paint, the tip of spilled paint from the Valspar ad. Diagonally across the composition, in the upper left corner two blue eyes stare straight out at the viewer. In front of the eyes stands an Indian Yellow silhouetted figure, cut across by red squiggles on the edge of a circle. Below, in the left corner, also positioned on the perpendicular are two figures...Hillary Clinton and Kate McKinnon from SNL as Hillary Clinton wearing a pair of bright red boxing gloves. The two Hillarys glance sideways across at each other. The ‘real’ Hillary obscured by washes of opaque gouache, her double, Kate/Hillary slightly more visible. The rest of the collage consists of remnants from paintings, coats of clear acrylic medium, watercolor and gouache to produce an abstract, painterly space.
This collage I scanned like the others at its actual size and saved it as a jpeg [300 dpi]. Then I printed an edition of 12 prints.
In this edition I did not preserved the orientation of the scanned collage in all prints of the edition. Some I ‘flipped’ the orientation so that the pre-existing text becomes more readable and the scanned image less. Still, the image and text that existed on the paper prior to being printed on vary in their orientation and the time to produce this piece was the same as the other two, approximately 5 hours.
Rrose Sélavy and The Large Glass make appearances in this edition, as does Sam Taylor-Wood and her self portrait Single Breasted Suit with Hare. In that print I intentionally flipped the orientation of the print so that both the pre-existing image and the scanned collage which lined up in their original orientation are both inverted. The prints containing pre-existing prints of the paintings add another layer to the obscuring of the text and images in the collage, and what can be known about Petra Nimm.