Photomontages of her own body and face sewn over or collaged with black thread are the most well-known works of the German photographer and performer Annegret Soltau. It all started with a series of wrapping actions where she tied single people or whole groups with a strong black thread. In 1975 she began her "TimeExperiences" which became a "Female Genealogy" altogether.
Starting always with a private performance and photographing herself, her face or her body, she tears apart the pictures and creates a new composition by sewing them together. Front and back are equally important since they show the process of creation and become part of the new selfimage.
"My main interest is the integration of body processes in my work, in order to connect body and spirit as equal parts".
"For me it is important to gain more authenticity and directness through self-representation, but it is even more important, that I can go farthest with myself."
"When I tear out the face of my own portrait, it is not the aspect of destruction which interests me, but I want to find new meanings and significant connections." (A. Soltau)
Her first series of works using needle and thread is called "Self" (1975--76). The thread is sewn like filigran webs across her face and seems to symbolize the times of search for female identity. During her two pregnancies from 1978-80 she wanted to document the deep impact which carrying a child had on her body and life. Since 1980 she continued collaging the pictures of her children always incorporating her own image like in "Mother's Luck" (1980-86). Her masklike compositions with children and animals "Grima"(1987-89) were inspired by a stay in Rome at the Villa Massimo, where she draws from the mythological idea of the centaur. This was followed by a series of "Double Heads" (1991-92).
The most complex and elaborate series of works is "generative" (1994--99), where she composes photographs of the naked bodies of her "female chain": her grandmother, her mother, her daughter and herself. "Generative" shows the whole span of bodily change between young and old, between the fading body of age and the emerging body in puberty. It symbolizes the chain of female reproduction and livelong remembrance - being of the same flesh, the same gender, the same kind and belonging together.