The Event of a Thread | Das Ereignis eines Fadens

Christa Jeitner

Christa Jeitner (b. 1935) lives and works in Blumberg, near Berlin. In 1954, she began her studies at the College of Fine and Applied Arts in East Berlin. Having been ex-matriculated from that institution, she then studied at the College of Fine Arts in West Berlin. As part of government rehabilitation measures, she finally received her diploma in art and painting in 1996. She has exhibited widely since 1961 and her work has been acquired by museums in Germany and overseas. Fritz Kämpfer, the director of the Grassi Museum in Leipzig, described her time between 1965 and 1973 thus: 'It was like being banned from exhibiting'. Jeitner became a regular visitor to Poland, immersing herself in its history and culture. The experimental Polish art scene became her window on the world. She lived for a time in Warsaw on a fellowship. Since 1965, she has also been restorer of textiles, and has published and taught both on testiles and restoration. She has worked with the German peace group Action Reconciliation Service for Peace since 1969. After giving up artistic work in 1990, she restarted in 2006 with a body of work entitled 'Objects and Surfaces'. In 2007, a selection of her works was included in the archive of the Academy of the Arts in Berlin.

Christa Jeitner: Memories of Bedouin encounters, 2009, hosepipe snippets with reconstructed covering, photo: Uwe Walther, © (Christa Jeitner) VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2017
Christa Jeitner: Memories of Bedouin encounters, 2009, seames of a camel bag ('my mother do it for me'); photo: Uwe Walther, © (Christa Jeitner) VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2017
Memories of Bedouin encounters, 2009
Christa Jeitner: Wire and Denim. Compacted Landfil, 2016; photo: Uwe Walther, © (Christa Jeitner) VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2017
Wire and Denim. Compacted Landfil, 2016

Various materials; photos: Uwe Walther, © (Christa Jeitner) VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2017

Christa Jeitner works with hemp, ropes, linen fabrics, silk, and cloth, with natural things and existing materials. Since the 1960s, she has met the needs and responsibilities of textile material: it is not about violating or dominating the material, but preserving its distinct and untouched character. On a foundation of integrity and conservation, she deploys a variety of old techniques in order to develop structures and unlock the inherent potential of the material. It is no wonder that she also works as a textile restorer. Jeitner has undergone a life-long process of coming to terms with the past, including her engagement with the reconciliation with Poland, and the church movement in former East Germany. Her memorial cloths seem to commemorate and transgress human efforts and failures.