Exhibition - Miriam Schwamm


an exhibition by New Caledonia based artist,
Miriam Schwamm
01 to 16 August 2012
Official Opening in presence of the artist on Wed 01 Aug, 6.30pm to 8.00pm.

Miriam Schwamm is a French visual artist who has been living in New Caledonia for the past twenty years. Art has had a big influence in her life since childhood, with both her parents working at the cinema school in Munich. It will eventually be towards visual arts that Miriam turned to, “a solitary activity that suited me better” she confides.

Miriam practices various visual art forms from drawing to carving through to digital art. “Each thing to express, each idea to materialise, requires a particular savoir-faire and the use of specific and various mediums. Unlike other art forms, visual art has the big advantage of utilising a wide range of tools…So why should one deprive oneself?”

The exhibition will present about thirty drawings inspired by Kanak cultural heritage and traditional art.

“I have taken up my drawing tools again to go in search of functional and symbolic Kanak objects, to explore their outlines, textures and proportions by using the complementary characteristics of coloured pencils, graphite, charcoal, ink and felt-tip pens.”

“Drawing turns out to be the best way to achieve these representations: when focusing for a few hours on the depicted object, it captures its presence. Furthermore, because drawing is a creation by hand, it enjoys a special dialogue with the portrayed object which is also a handmade creation: the care given to both creations generates a flow, a dynamics that only asks to live on.

The project ‘Representations’ was launched in mid-2007 in Berlin and in Bremen in Germany.   It was continued in Sydney and in Noumea in 2008, then in Rome at the beginning of 2011.  This project, which today comprises of around eighty dozen  original works of art, is constantly evolving and aims to be, at the same time, a survey, a means of dissemination and a development, through the artistic work, of the heritage of New Caledonia.

This collection is primarily the result of a trip I made in 2007 to Germany; the journey of a Caledonian at heart in her country of origin.  However, it is also the continuation of an artistic work which is still trying to generate ties.

Entry is free – All welcome.
And until 16 August: Mon-Thu: 9.00am to 8.30pm, Fri & Sat: 9.00am to 6.00pm. Sun: 1.00pm to 6.00pm


In a few words, who is Miriam Schwamm?

Born in 1971 in Munich, I am a visual artist who has been living and working in New Caledonia for about twenty years. It was love that brought me to this country and I’ve never wanted to leave since.


What was the trigger that steered your life towards visual arts?

My parents came from the Munich school of cinema and I grew up in this world… therefore a creative activity came naturally to me and I found that I wasn’t bad at drawing. Also, visual arts, unlike cinema, is a solitary activity which suited me better, so I followed that road.

You were born and raised in Germany. Were this country and its culture a source of inspiration for the creation of your works?

The country of origin, with its influences on culture and ways of thinking, never truly goes away. Even if, now, after having spent more than half my life in New Caledonia, in a French and therefore French-speaking country, I dream and think in this language. But a part of me is always deeply rooted in German expression and ways of thinking.

We notice that your works are very eclectic, from engraving to drawing, to digital art. Why such a large range of mediums and such artistic diversity?

Because for each thing to be expressed, for each idea to give form to, the subject matter and the means of expression which need to be used are different. Unlike other arts, visual arts have the big advantage of being able to use a large range of tools… So why deprive oneself of them?

How was the plan to exhibit in Australia born?

The project was originally initiated by Mr Jean-Jacques Garnier, who is cultural attaché at the French embassy in Sydney and who was previously the director of the Mission of Cultural Affairs at the High Commission in New Caledonia. In his role as such, he has always supported me in my work as a visual artist representing the diversity of New Caledonian origins and as the initiator of collective artistic projects in the country. The work of representing Kanak objects in their diversity and through artistic drawing piqued his interest since the beginning and all the more after having seen everything that I was able to create in Sydney, at the Australian Museum thanks to the support of Mrs Yvonne Carillo-Huffman, who is responsible for the Oceania collection there.

Brièvement, qui est Miriam Schwamm?

Née en 1971 à Munich, je suis artiste plasticienne vivant et travaillant en Nouvelle-Calédonie depuis une vingtaine d’années environ. C’est l’amour qui m’a emmené dans ce pays que je n’ai plus jamais désiré quitter depuis.

Quel élément déclencheur a dirigé votre vie vers celle d’artiste plasticienne?

Mes parents sont issus de l’école de cinéma de Munich et j’ai grandi dans cet univers… ainsi, une activité créative s’est imposée à moi naturellement et il s’est trouvé que je n’étais pas mauvaise en dessin. Par ailleurs, les arts plastiques sont, au contraire du cinéma, une activité solitaire qui me convenait mieux, j’ai donc poursuivi dans cette voie.

Vous êtes née et avez grandi en Allemagne. Ce pays et sa culture ont-ils été source d’inspiration pour la création de vos œuvres?

Le pays d’origine avec ses influences en matière de culture et de manières de penser, ne s’efface jamais vraiment. Même si maintenant, après avoir passé plus de la moitié de ma vie en Nouvelle-Calédonie, dans un pays Français et donc francophone, je rêve et réfléchis dans cette langue. Mais une partie de moi est toujours profondément ancrée dans l’expression et la façon de penser Allemande.

On remarque que vos travaux sont très éclectiques, de la gravure au dessin en passant par la création numérique. Pourquoi une si large palette de supports et une telle diversité artistique?

Parce que pour chaque chose à exprimer, pour chaque idée à faire prendre corps, la matière et la manière d’exprimer qui s’imposent sont différents. A contrario des autres arts, l’art plastique a le grand avantage de pouvoir utiliser un large champ d’outils… Alors pourquoi s’en priver ?

Comment le projet d’exposer en Australie est-il né?

Le projet a été initié au début par M. Jean-Jacques Garnier, attaché culturel auprès de l’ambassade de France à Sydney et qui a été auparavant directeur de la Mission des affaires culturelles du Haut-Commissariat en Nouvelle-Calédonie. En tant que tel, il m’a toujours soutenu dans mon travail d’artiste plasticienne représentant la diversité des origines Néo-Calédoniennes et comme initiatrice de projets artistiques collectifs dans le pays. Le travail de représentation des objets kanaks dans leur diversité et par le dessin artistique ont suscité son intérêt depuis le début et à fortiori après avoir vu l’ensemble que j’ai pu créer à Sydney, à L’Australian Museum grâce au soutien de Mme Yvonne Carillo-Huffman, chargée de la collection d’Océanie là-bas.


More info on Miriam Schwamm artactuelmiriamschwamm


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