In spring the German artist Özlem Altin spent two weeks in Merano and developed her exhibition at KUNST MERAN MERANO ARTE based on the legend of the Lago di Carezza.

A beautiful mermaid once lived at the Lago di Carezza – a small mountain lake in the western Dolomites – with whom a wizard fell in love. But because the mermaid didn’t want anything to do with him, the wizard created a rainbow from all the jewels of the Latemar massif, which he wanted to give the nymph. When the mermaid found the wizard out, however, she forever vanished in the lake. In his fury, the wizard hacked the rainbow to pieces and threw it into the water. That’ where the Lago di Carezza has its unique shimmering colour from and presumably its still magical allure.     

Inspired by the story, Özlem Altin stages an atmospheric sequence of images on the first floor of the exhibition space: drawings, paintings and photographs that the artist created partly in Merano. She investigates the primordially human desire to explain one’s surrounding environment and to give it – also by means of stories and legends – a meaning. For the artist the lake is a metaphor for the permeable border between reality and imagination, between external world and psyche. For her the water surface is like a membrane – a “lens” – offering insights into the other world or mirroring it.      

Özlem Altin works with her extensive collection of self-made and found images, photographs and texts, which she reworks, paints over, cuts up, rearranges and assembles in the exhibition space following an intuitive narrative. In her works the body, its gestures and postures, is a central subject. For the artist “the body is a vehicle for the transmission of knowledge, experience, a vehicle for communication and exchange” (Reinhard Braun, camera austria, 2017). Hence, in Merano she shows the lake as a biotope in which living beings form, develop, newly emerge and transform, in which mermaids and other hybrid creatures can be found – similar to the human psyche that is constantly creating new forms and images.   

Özlem Altin makes body fragments, water animals and mermaids appear in her paintings in ever new arrangements, in connection with rhythmic wave-like brush strokes, and from the smooth and clear surface of the lake she lets the public dive into its unfathomable depths.