Michael Loderstedt

Schiff Geschicte, Silkscreen, 2010.

Michael Loderstedt is a Cleveland-based artist whose print work covers a broad range of subject and process. Schiff Geschicte, a recent sculptural printwork, is a screenprint dealing with the American artist’s ancestral connection to Germany. The form represents the ship that carried Loderstedt’s pregnant mother to the United States. The piece starts out as a flat, double-sided screenprint that is then cut and assembled to render a three-dimensional finished product. The exterior of the ship is adorned in German national colors overlayed with German text and the interior of the ship is overlayed with English text.

More pictures of the ship as well as Loderstedt’s own words on the piece after the jump.

Inside-out version Schiff Geschicte.

Loderstedt writes…

This project was inspired by a recent story my mother told me, one I had never heard before (I’m now 51, she’s 75). It went like this; we were talking about various neighborhoods in Berlin that I had recently visited and I had known she had lived there in 1957 with my German-born father. He was completing part of an exchange program where he worked in the US for a year (he was at the time a young doctor), followed by year in Germany. My parents had met at Jersey City Hospital, where my mother was an x-ray technician. This much I had known.

She goes on to describe the ship passage back to the states. The seas were unusually rough, and it took longer than expected, about 2 weeks. And that she remembers entering New York harbor on her birthday, August 28th and being quite emotional about being home and steaming past the Statue of Liberty. Then she says, “I was pregnant with you”.

Realizing that I could have been born in Germany, and that early on I’d been rocking around inside her womb over the Atlantic began me to think of a number of different possibilities and actual propensities. I thought encapsulating these potentialities might best take the form of a ship-shaped, sculptural print, with text on the inside and outside of deck, printed both in German and English, and using the colors of the German flag. Some aspects of my life and identity (as much as perhaps interesting, or printeresting perhaps, to others) were addressed in the story provided on the paper ship as follows:

I am an American I suppose by birth, but have a German name. I have only recently learned much about German culture and language (with much more to learn). I know now all this could have easily been quite different.

I am a lifelong sailor and have a deep love for being on water, and have since I’ve been quite young. A prenatally developed instinct or coincidence?

I’ve recently been able to travel through Germany over the past several years. I met many German artists, collaborated with several both there and here in the US. I have hosted many German artists at my home and studio, curated exhibitions of printmaking by German artists, and have exhibited my own work often in Germany. For whatever reasons, these connections have been valuable and engaging for me, and I hope for my fellow Deutchlanders as well. Perhaps this simple paper ship is an homage to my not so distant, but obscured heritage, and my recent activity to recapture some aspects of it.

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Categories: Artists


2 Responses to “Michael Loderstedt”

  1. Jodi says:

    Very cool. the idea of combining 2-D, 3-D, printing, design, origami/pop-up, sculpture, storytelling all in one. Excellent.

  2. Barbara BVB says:

    I love the details of this – – very exact construction, yet reversible – – and then to find the image of your parents printed inside and the story in both languages. Quite profound and exquisite. Fully multidimensional. Lovely. Will forward on to others –