In her collages, Isabel Reitemeyer tries to express a feeling with as few elements as possible. Her recent work features several faceless animals, but the human body continues to be the most represented for its endless possibilities of expression: she deconstructs it, hides some parts and highlights others in order to create mysterious and captivating creatures. The Berlin-based collagist passionately admits to “like imperfect creatures”. Her artwork won’t hand dreams over to you; instead, it will make you dream, wonder and, using your imagination, create your own worlds from it.
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Besides being an artist, who is Isabel Reitemeyer?
I am a collage artist living in Berlin. I was born in 1966 and I grew up in the border with the Netherlands. After completing my training as a shop-window decorator, I studied Visual Communications at the University of Applied Sciences for Design in Münster. I worked as a freelance graphic designer, printer and as a set dresser and graphic artist for various film productions. Since 2012, I support disabled people. 
Having studied Visual Communications and worked in Graphic Design, what led you to collage? Why is it what you really enjoy doing?
I like doing collages because there are no limits, there are many possibilities and it’s always exciting because you never know what kind of material you’ll find that you can use later.
Do you feel that there is a big wall between art and graphic design? Or just a thin line that can easily be blurred?
There is not a wall but a big difference. In doing art you are much freer than in graphic design. While you can express yourself with art, design is always related to something or someone.
Could you tell us a bit about your working process?
After looking for new stuff on flea markets, bookshops and on the street, I start flipping through the pages and, if something speaks to me, I cut it out. Sometimes I use it immediately, others I collect all the new things and I start combining them afterwards. So I guess there isn’t a real conceptualization. It’s more of a coincidence. In doing collage, I work almost with no concept.
We see you’re an analogue lover. Have you ever tried experimenting with digital collages?
Not really. I like to feel the paper and work with my hands. Also, I like very much working without the computer. So digital collages aren’t really interesting to me. If I did them I would miss the fortune to find something accidentally and the good feeling when everything fits perfectly together. But maybe I should try it to know it exactly.
In a world in which technology is growing exponentially every day, do you think analogue will fall in disuse? Are you afraid of that? Or do you think it will always be used for its authenticity?
I think analogue work will last forever. To many people, or at least in some fields, the growth and advances in new technologies are enriching, an improvement. But in other fields, like art and collage, it isn’t necessarily so. Art isn’t really influenced by technological development. Those who like to work digitally will continue to do so, and those who love to work analogically will too.
The human body is often present in your work and we love that. What attracts you to use these elements in your art? What do you want to express through these collages?
Parts of the human body as hands, arms, legs and their positions often tell a lot more than words, clothes, etc. That’s what I also try to show in some of my collages: to express a feeling with as few elements as possible.
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Though in your latest series, the main subjects are animals. In most cases, you’re hiding parts of their bodies, especially faces. What’s the concept behind these decisions?
Eyes, faces and expressions often reveal emotions and drive the viewer into an emotional direction. That’s what I try to avoid. By hiding or covering them, it leaves the viewer more space for his own associations, ideas and imagination. And the other thing is, I like imperfect creatures.
It’s never easy to make it as an artist. Was your career littered with ups and downs? What has been the highlight of these last years?
Your career and your work are always accompanied by your life, with all its ups and downs. Currently, I feel up because more and more people are becoming interested in what I do. Last year, I was part of the exhibition Kiss. From Rodin to Bod Dylan, at the Bröhan Museum in Berlin. My artworks were among many famous artists of the 20th century like George Grosz, Edvard Much, Bob Dylan, Auguste Rodin, Timm Ulrichs, Jürgen Teller, and others. That was a big highlight for me.
Are there other collagists that you admire and could recommend us?
Thorsten Brinkmann is my all-time favourite. Also Philippe Jusforgues and my new discoveries on Instagram: K. Young and Jan Brokof.
What inspires your work?
I always get inspired by the material I am working with and, of course, my mood, experiences, the weather, music, people, other artists, etc.
Who’s your dream client? And your dream place to exhibit your work?
I have no special dream client. They are all people who feel touched by my work, and I’m always very happy when it is featured on an LP or book cover. I like the connection between music, poetry and my work. When it comes to dream places, they are those where I feel welcome and where people are interested in what I do.
How is living in Berlin like? Do you feel that you and your art fit in its experimental and international spirit?
Berlin is my favourite place to live in Germany. You are free and everything is possible. That’s why everybody fits in here. But I don’t know if my art and me especially fit in here.
Where are you going next? Any plans for the future that you would like to share?
I’ll start painting again.
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