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lartiste close-up-1

Sunday is a special day in the Dede world. Miss Viwi is having a series of interviews about the Dedes on her blog ||::VEGGIETORIA:||. We will be really sad when the co-operation comes to an end soon, as Miss Viwi has done a wonderful job finding out about the background of the Dedes and sharing it with her audience.  L’Artiste in particular loves having this exposure and he joined me again yesterday to answer Miss Viwi’s questions about art history and how the Dedes got their name. (Read the original interview in German here.)

miss viwi: Is there a particular work/genre/era in art history that has impressed or even influenced you?

L’Artiste:I think I can answer for both of us here… definitely the twenties of last century in Europe… the Bauhaus, de Stijl and of course Dada.”

dietlind:But we should also point out, that puppetry was an important part of entertainment throughout the centuries. The majority of people didn’t read Shakespeare or Goethe. Instead they went to the fair ground and spend a couple of pennies to watch the puppet show.
Puppets spoke the language of the folk. They could make fun of the authorities as they weren’t dependent on them

miss viwi: What does DADA mean to you?

dietlind:Dada is an allround art concept of  visual, perfomance and language with a good lacing of silliness. This is the reason why I refer to my Dedes as dada inspired hand puppets.”

L’Artiste:I have to disagree with you on one point here, Dietlind. The Dedes take themselves very seriously.
If they hear you call them silly you’ll be throwing fat on the fire!

dietlind:Come on, they know very well how silly they are”

L’Artiste:Yes, but there is a serious component to every silliness”

miss viwi: L’Artiste, do you enjoy being a part of the Dede community?

L’Artiste: “Mostly yes, but I have a very strong desire for quiet times and I like to keep my distance. Fortunately the other Dedes are very understanding”

miss viwi: I would like to come full circle now, Dietlind, how did you conceive the name DEDE?

dietlind:The name Dede has it’s roots in DADA.
The face collages remind me of works by Hannah Höch und Raoul Hausmann.
By the way,
Hausmann (an important figure of the Berlin Dada scene) was Austrian.
For me the hand puppets are well-rounded artworks in the spirit of DADA. Since the name was already taken, I took the next vowel ‘e’ and voila, my puppets ended up with the name DEDE puppets Read the rest of this entry »

L’Artiste was terribly excited as he had been invited to join me for this part of the interview with Miss Viwi at ||::VEGGIETORIA::||. He constantly dropped hints throughout the day and wanted everybody to be around when the interview was finally published at 8 pm New Zealand time. Most of the Dedes were too tired from the day’s hard work and couldn’t follow what was said – they would rather have liked to watch a brainless murder story on TV – but they were respectful enough to pretend to be interested.

L’Artiste volunteered to translate this week’s installment of the interview and went straight into it:

miss viwi: What is art?

L’Artiste:Phew. Bigger heads than I have failed to answer this question comprehensively. What do you think, Dietlind?”

dietlind: “Right.. there is no way to answer this question completely and thoroughly. In my opinion art has to be moving. What I mean is, a work has to evoke emotions in the viewer. Whether negative or positive doesn’t really matter.

What’s important for me are the thoughts, the recognition, the prompting of action or even the agitation”

l'artiste and Pania

Dietlind Wagner, Pania, Acrylic on paper, 2008.

miss viwi: Why do you do art?

L’Artiste:I was born an artist. It is just in me, I really can’t do anything about it!”

dietlind: “Primarily I do art to work through personal impressions.
The extensive engagement with an object intensifies my thinking. Even my painted works, as simple as they might appear, are applied layer over layer. For me the process is more important than the end result.”

L’Artiste:I don’t believe you here … if it were true, you would have made the Dedes and chucked them in the corner or sold them.”

dietlind: “No L’Artiste, this is absolutely no contradiction. The Dede puppets are a ‘Work in Progress’. Here the making is only the beginning…
I have referred to the Dedes as “Vodoo dolls gone mellow” before. Instead of attacking a body with needles to cause injury, I give my puppets character traits to gain an understanding.”

miss viwi: L‘ Artiste Dede, how do you see your relationship with Dietlind?

L’Artiste:Do I have to say this publicly? To be honest, I am a real artist. Dietlind still has to work on it!
For the time being I need her as a muse, but it can be difficult working with her.”

l'artiste und Dietlind

Dietlind Wagner, Portrait of Dietlind, Acrylic on canvas, 2010.

miss viwi: Could you imagine working without Dietlind?

L’Artiste:Yes, sometimes I wish I could do without her, but I know her value. If she wasn’t around, who knows what would happen.
You only recognise paradise when you have been evicted, don’t you?  I certainly don’t want to test this one out.”

miss viwi: For whom do you make your art?

L’Artiste:First and foremost for myself. It is my way of expression, I can’t help it.”

dietlind:In this regard we are similar, but for me it is a form of processing rather than expression.

I should add that what I have done so far was either too personal or too mediocre to hang publicly on the wall .
The Dedes changed this entirely! They – and L´Artiste will certainly agree – want to be seen. They forge ahead into the public view. I think it is because they don’t need me as an artist. They can exist very well without me.”

l'artiste and full  triptych

Dietlind Wagner, Where am I, Acrylic on canvas, 2012.

miss viwi: Do you want to say anything with your art?

L’Artiste:I have to come back here to the question “What is art?” Of course I hope the viewer will gain some insight when looking at my work.”

dietlind:I agree. I hope the reader will find something for themselves and will recognise characters or situations.
Without recognition understanding is hampered. The Dedes are of course reflecting my world view, but I don’t want to preach! I leave it entirely up to the reader what to think.”

(Fotos: © 2012 Dietlind Wagner)

The interview will continue next Sunday, 3/2/13, at 8 am CET in |:::VEGGIETORIA:::|.

“So, what do you think?” L’Artiste wanted to know immediately after he had finished the translation. But nobody was as excited as he was. “C’mon guys, say something!”

“You come across as a bit of a waffler!” Smuggy said.

“What?!” L’Artiste could barely hide his disappointment.

“You wanted to know!” Smuggy shrugged his shoulders and left the room.


Mouse and Devil had asked me to set up the laptop on the living room floor last night so that all the Dedes could see what Miss Viwi had written about them in ||:::VEGGIETORIA:::||. There is certainly more space in the living room than on the kitchen table, never mind that I wanted to watch a film on TV…

It was just like a premiere for a big screen film, bar the red carpet. They all gathered around the laptop and Mouse had brought up the Word Press Reader so they wouldn’t miss when Miss Viwi published her post. Then it appeared – just as promised – at 8pm our time: The first thing they saw was a picture of Devil in the hammock. The Dedes burst out laughing and Devil was quite embarrassed to be shown in this laid back position. He immediately said it sends the wrong signal. He is not usually that idle.

“There is no pleasing some” Witch said “At least there is a picture of you, so be happy for a change.” Secretly, I was quite grateful for this remark.

“So what does the post say?” Socialite called out, the poor thing was standing in the fourth row and couldn’t see a thing. “Read it out to us Mouse!”

Mouse started to read it out, but in German. “Hang on,” Foxy Lady said “I’ll read it out and translate it as I go for our English spreaking friends. Mouse, would you be so kind and take notes?”

And so Foxy Lady started again:

{dedepuppets | first Act}

A rainy day in December + a pile of old newspapers + a childhood memory = an art project (with heaps of art terms)

Today |:::  VEGGIETORIA:::| welcomes venerable guests from New Zealand. Miss Viwi is conducting an interview with the artist Dietlind Wagner and a second artist who is one of her works. One artist is prerequisite for the other artist’s work – ??? In several acts I will entice you away into the world of Dede puppets.

[The idea]

It was Christmas 2011 and on a rainy day the artist wanted to tidy up her studio when she came across a pile of old newspapers. “All of a sudden this idea of hand puppets sprung back to mind” tells Dietlind Wagner about an idea planted by her mother in childhood. “Mum spoke often and lovingly about a devil hand puppet she had created once. So  the idea of giving hand puppets a go was with me pretty much all my life.”

[The first puppet – Devil]

dietlind: „Of course the first one had to be a devil. He turned out beautifully, despite I had  hardly any experience with the medium. And as it didn’t stop raining, I just continued.”

miss viwi: In the meantime there are 40 puppets, do you have a favourite?

dietlind: „I can’t tell, but Devil being the first puppet, will always have a special place.“


40 characters have been created to date. These are real hand puppets made from papier mache and the heads are between twelve and eighteen centimetres high, with a weight of around 30 grams, but they are extremely strong and won’t break. Special features are build around a cardboard skeleton.  The faces are collages from magazines.

[The tonuge-in-cheek before and after picture]

The artist photographed the first puppets to send an image to the newspaper they were made of. Transformation is a very interesting aspect of the work. Made from newspapers which convey news and stories, emerge new characters which tell their own stories. Stories the artist writes. “You know how it goes: even great stories become old news as one makes new friends with new stories and new insights.” (From the preface of the Dede puppet book ‘Hermit’s Web’).

Originally the plan was to sell the puppets in a local art shop, but when the artist’s friends said how much they liked them, and Dietlind discovered how photogenic they are, she started to write a story, a story in which the Dede puppets are the protagonists…

—– The visit to ||:::VEGGIETORIA:::|| and the interview were a talking point in the Dede World today.
The interview will continue next Sunday in ||:::VEGGIETORIA:::|| at 8 am Central European Time.

“I am very happy” Devil said, visibly chuffed about being mentioned.

“There is nothing new in this interview” Smuggy said, disappointed. “You can read all this on the blog here as well.”

“Shut up you silly thing!” Mouse said. “Miss Viwi has done wonderful job and I am certainly looking forward to next week.” All the other Dedes clapped and cheered.