How would you describe your art in three words?
Tactile, experimental, hand-made.
What inspires you to create?
Travel has always been an important part of my process. It allows you to step back and think of different ideas because you’re not caught up in the day-to-day minutiae of your life. During a residency in Berlin, I was drawn to following the entire path of the [Berlin] Wall. I was struck by how, even where there weren’t any visible traces, it still felt very psychologically present—almost like a ghost in the landscape.
Is there a through line or central message in your work?
A lot of my work deals with place and exploring the physical, social, and psychological qualities that characterize a specific place. I’ve also been interested in the relationship between photography and memory, and how photographs can ultimately replace or stand in for memory.
What drew you to the mediums you work in?
Although I was initially trained in photography, I became increasingly interested in the materiality of the photograph, as we mostly experience images fleetingly on screens. Photography is thought of as a mirror to the world, but a photo is never actually the truth. Incorporating a medium like embroidery into a photograph takes that idea one step further.
Embroidery was something my mom taught me when I was a child. Even though I was young, she would let me stay up late with her watching soap operas while we sewed. I always enjoyed it but initially saw it as separate from my artistic practice. It has been exciting to see mediums associated with traditional craft increasingly being used to express theoretical and conceptual ideas in contemporary art.
Diane Meyer began photographing the sites of the former Berlin Wall during a residency in 2012. Since then, she has developed a series totaling forty-three works that combine photography and embroidery, bringing attention to the invisible presence and legacy of the former wall in and around the outskirts of Berlin.
The images from her “Berlin” series illustrate the range of landscapes that the Wall ran through, as well as remnants of its history, from local guard towers to the more visible “Checkpoint Charlie” station in the city center.
Embroidery applied to the photographs matches the pixels within Meyer’s images and aligns with the scale and location of the former wall. By using both digital and analog processes to simultaneously distort and highlight the landscape, Meyer’s photographs call attention to photography and its role in maintaining and obscuring memory.