Six questions for
Mika Sperling

Tique asks six questions to an artist about their work and inspiration.
This week: Mika Sperling.

Artist Mika Sperling
Lives in Hamburg

How do you describe your own art practice?

I combine texts with photographs or videos to tell personal, intimate stories from my life. Often my images depict people or places that represent something in my life, self-portraits or family members I try to understand better or get closer to through a project. Most of my projects I see as books as well, because of my fascination for the magical relationship between images and text.

Which question or theme is central in your work?

Family relationships and stories. My themes include heritage, belief, language, womanhood, motherhood and abuse.
To face them often frightens me first, because of trauma and shame or because they are a taboo subject within the family.

What was your first experience with art?

Historical museums in my hometown. In kindergarten we went to a large museum to create drawings of late medieval panel paintings. I could never finish the drawings in time and was quite disappointed I couldn’t take a picture to take home but had to finish from memory. Later archeology became my childhood dream job and I taught myself egyptian hieroglyphs that I drew into my diaries.

What is your greatest source of inspiration?

Daily life with my family and memories and stories from my childhood and that of family members. I find myself asking the same questions over and over again, coming back to the same topics until I discover a way to solve them in an art piece (or don’t)

What do you need in order to create your work?

It varies. Most often family stories. Perhaps a family album. A lot happens in my head first. Then I need a pen and paper for notes and a studio with a wall to hang and leave them on. Later I will most likely use a camera, voice recorder, laptop and printer to produce the final pieces.

What work or artist has most recently surprised you?

Suse Itzel, There is no fever you cannot measure (Original: Es gibt kein Fieber das man nicht messen kann)
I saw it earlier this year in Hamburg and it made me cry throughout the entire 50 min. I had a conversation with her afterwards and it was inspiring to meet somebody else working through sexual child abuse with art right before I was going to publish my work ‘I Have Done Nothing Wrong’ at Rencontres d’Arles.

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