Sugar & Spice: The Reflections Of Cornelia Renz

Gazing around at Cornelia Renz's work, one is shocked by the pop colors, vibrant lines and fairy tale imagery. Upon closer inspection, however, that girl is wearing a leather mask, that guy is in full bondage and those seemingly cute candy colored pigs are holding machine guns. It’s a tale of good and bad and Renz leads us down the path to where they meet.

Where The Fairy Tale Becomes A Horror Story

Artparasites: Do you believe in love at first sight?

Cornelia Renz: Not to a person, but to art? Oh Yes.

APs: Does your art love you back?

CR: I often feel like I have an ongoing dialog with my work. I like to sleep here, waking up fresh to my work like a lover in a precious state. I can notice faults which I can re-work; I get more sure about my path. In this way they speak to me.

DIE, 2011 pigment marker on two layers of acrylic glass,100 x 100 x 6 cm. Photo: Chris Phillips

APs: An important question – who or what was your first love?

CRMy first love was so girlish. My first love was a horse. In a way, horses speak a lot about young girls' sexuality: they are big creatures, they make you feel more important than you are on earth; you feel protected.

APs: You say that feeling protected is what made you feel loved. Is there a clear rational role between man and woman—does one hold more of this power than the other?

CR: I don’t think it’s about men and women; it’s about society. That's who defines the role. People who question gender question society. Does that make life easier, not defining something? No. We all face the same problems; I refer to Judith Butler on this. I make the characters wear masks. In this way, I am able to change the roles and whether I give power or take it away.

A peculiar mask found in the studio of Cornelia Renz. Photo: Chris Phillips

APs: What is the hardest aspect about love?

CR: Hurting people where there is no reason to hurt them. My characters are being hurt, but it’s not my doing. It’s all very sadistic fantasy material found on the internet. I’m astounded how cruel these drawing are. We can’t deny our fantasies, but I question if there is  a reason bringing up something this twisted.

APs: Your work in some way deals with people and animals—are we really so different?

CR: Some say rationalism is what separates us, yet that doesn’t stop us from committing crimes – rationalism brought the French to use the guillotine. Emotions also follow a parallel path making us do things we never wanted to do. I believe where these roads of rationalism and emotions meet is what makes us human. One is not possible without the other.

In conversation at the studio of Cornelia Renz. Photo: Chris Phillips

APs: We know by now that your work is not all sugar and candy. Besides the master/slave bondage aspect, why are there very strong tones of violence?

CR:  In our society, most emotions are restricted. You can’t show aggression; you're not allowed to show if you're afraid. My work is violent but It’s something I hate – I can’t watch it. The aggressiveness in my work is in reaction to the amount of violence found in society and the lack of sexuality. I try to ban violence by doing it again. I play with what is good and what is bad in society. People ask me to ban sexuality – they can’t buy my work because it offends them. My question: why doesn’t violence offend you?

The sadistic outcome of a "bad' girl. Photo: Chris Phillips

APs: Love is fleeting and love is cruel; if love were the wind, how would you catch it?

CR: How can you catch wind? I wouldn’t want to catch but only enjoy it. It’s the same with love, you never ever can catch it and you can never keep it. Love is something that comes and goes; you have to enjoy it while it’s there.

Cornelia Renz  [Price range of works: 500 – 20,000 Euros]

Article by Tristan Boisvert