About My Work

Artist Statement

My themes and visual researches deal with powerful symbols, myths and signs from architecture, society, politics, movies and religions. My artworks are explorations of their meanings, a questioning, reevaluation, and creations of new associations. 

Photo: @ Karsten Mühlhaus, muehlhausetc, Troisdorf, 2012

In order to undermine entrenched representations, I work directly with them, contradict or re-interpret them with visual means, or focus on their hidden aspects. Using video, animation, collage, abstraction, and found footage, well-known figures undergo transformations, start to communicate and build new relations. Symbols of identities turn into elements of dialogues. 

My works are conceptual and visually sensual at the same time. Although they look different in style, they all have something in common: Constructive and deconstructive visual composition, as well as a content that doesn’t tell stories but rather comments society, (art) history and philosophy.

Myriam Thyes

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Mark Gisbourne

Caputh 2019 – Galerie der Starken Frauen
Photo: © Jörg Weule, 2019

(…) To speak of avatars is also central to our understanding of the works of Myriam Thyes, whose video art and photographic installation draw directly upon recurrent themes of female superheroes, warriors, huntresses, and women of power. Thyes’s intervention takes the form of two videos and a photographic installation. Having trained as a painter the artist’s practice operates as a re-visioning interface between photography and film as it relates to her background in painting. In the Electress sleeping room she has installed a video entitled After Tiepolo (2013) refering to the Venetian master’s famous allegorical Four Continents fresco at the Würzburg Residence. Shown in the form of an edited and animated ceiling projection, the Tiepolo frescoes are image overlays wrought into a time-based cosmological phantasmagoria. A synaesthesia takes place as the frescoes become fused with a virtual visualisation of the universe, leading to a psychological reworking of the idea of collage and/or image montage.

The video should be read as a palimpsest of layered unfolding as the planets, constellations, nebulae and galaxies emerge and colour meld into elliptical symbolic orbits of cosmological presence. The frescoes represent the scope of the human world, while pictured heavens encompass the universe bringing it into the present. In its denouement numerous famous buildings, structures of the modern world enter in, pervade, and obliterate the cosmos and Tiepolo fresco beyond, and in turn also become lost in a dissolving cloud. The mythical fuses with science and natural history, the planets and constellations are after all named from mythical deities as the astronomical blends with the allegorical. In divergent ways the video generates a differential sense of truth between mind and imagination, transcendence and immanence, and the empirical and the symbolic.

The second video projection called Graceful Allegories is taken from the science fantasy movie Avatar in 2009, where the female superhero Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver) and her avatar are presented in an oval projection on the ceiling of the Electress antechamber room of the Schloss. The transmutation and monomyth journey of the hero in pursuit of self-discovery are central to the work. In the film Avatar powerful huntresses like the lead female Neytiri are integral characters that help drive the film. And it is a similar idea of the “avatar” (incarnation, embodiment, or manifestation of a person or idea) that is carried forward into the photograph installation of the artist’s female superheroes situated in a nearby Elector’s antechamber. In this case we find vertical and rectangular portrait images of the twelve Caesars and the Emperors of the Flavian Dynasty finishing with Domitian. Above each painted image Thyes has placed an oval cutout of one or two edited video stills, showing famous film actresses, superheroes or women of power, from fictional action heroines to anti-heroes. The chosen comparison is largely formal and the two are simply contrasted, the male Romans emperors we might read as reflective of vice and little virtue, while the female superheroes present a counterforce of creative intelligence. (…)

Mark Gisbourne, 2019, in: B.A.R.O.C.K. Artistic Interventions in Caputh Palace, edited by the Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Berlin-Brandenburg, published by Edition Cantz, Esslingen 2019. ISBN 978-3-947563-31-9