16.10.18  /ERFURT
17.10.18 /WIEN
18.10.18  /INNSBRUCK
19.10.18 /STUTTGART
20.10.18 /OLTEN

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With her exclusive exhibition ''MIRRORS' exceptional artist LAETITIA MANTIS will invite you into another world. Your own. This assemblage of her works will make you look into the black mirror of your soul, will reflect your own self. Her art is known to speak for itself, to open a door to an inner world not made for words but to be experienced, seen, and felt. Hence, more words are futile. Come along, and open the door if you dare. Experience for your-self.






How did it all start? Was there a significant event or was it more a continuous progress that brought you to what you are doing today?


I have created things as long as I remember. Nevertheless I studied something completely different in the Nineties, only to find out that it makes me very unhappy to swim with the “mainstream tide”. While the artistic path allowed me to grow, swimming with the tide of social expectations always made me feel like I was wasting my life. There was a time, when I hardly got any sleep at all, because I had to live with one foot in each of those worlds, but only one of those worlds kept growing and evolving, while the other one seemed to restrain me. More and more I became the adversary, not in a meaning of rebellion for the sake of rebellion, but for the sake of becoming and growing. The decision to leave a “normal life” behind became inevitable for me, so I decided one day to jump into the river and swim against the (main)stream.


Where does your Artist name come from?


The name Laetitia derives from the Latin term laetus, meaning happy. I did not choose the name for myself, it was given to me 18 years ago, under circumstances that I rather wish not to reveal to a broader audience. Mantis is often confused with the insect by those who do not know me well, but actually refers to the old Greek version μαντικὴ of the Latin word divinare (divination). Ritual, vision, creation, all that is connected for me, so the name seems quite suitable.


A few years back, I also used my birth name, which is Melanie, from the Greek μελανία (melania), meaning blackness and from μέλας (melas), meaning dark, because it suits my ongoing relationship with darkness quite well. You can still find it on my older works, but I truly prefer it if you call me Laetitia, so I stopped using it.


What does it mean to you to create your art?


It means the world to me. At the same time, I want to set the world on fire.



What would happen if one would prevent you from doing art?


You know, the freedom of someone doing what I do is only fascinating for others as long as it does not reveal their own cage too much. Over the years I stepped into that trap a few times. In the beginning it's always admiration, but once someone can not overlook his/her own cage anymore in my presence, the process starts of wishing to change me, domesticate me more, give me a cage, too, because that is the way the world works from their point of view. Once I was actually stuck in such a situation and caught a serious depression, but finally the warrior inside of me woke up again and marched on. I am, who I am. Anyone who wants to change that, finds himself left at the roadside at some point of the story.

Where are you drawing inspiration from?


Nature, visions & dreams, introspection. Humans who inspire me are rather rare, but they do exist. But I don't make a good “fan girl”, so I will not reveal their names here. Actually, one or the other of them will read these words - and I hope they will make them smile, because I know the feeling is mutual.


Are there some certain principles or guidelines you apply when creating a new piece? Not only with regards to your art itself but also to the environment you create in, your surroundings, the atmosphere?


I do not control or limit my visions. Sometimes I even create something that I do not like, because it has to be done.


I often work in the context of personal rituals. My surroundings and the atmosphere are definitely important for me and usually people are very aware that they step into my lair, as my environment always bears my visual signatures and smells of herbs & incense. But sometimes that is not important at all, as the process of creation starts with a thought that can hit you anywhere. While music is an important work soundtrack for me, I need a lot of silence as well. I have my troubles to create in the presence of other humans, unless we share some principles and ideas. The average human reminds me of the tv set that I threw out more than twenty years ago – for a good reason. Specially when it comes to ritual I prefer to work alone, rare exceptions granted.

What do you feel when you create?

During the process I mostly forget time, sleep, food... even myself.



Why are you doing what you are doing? What is the purpose behind? Is there a grand philosophy behind your art?


Well. I am doing what I do because I feel I have to. It is an inner need to “translate” those visions into imagery. Of course, my personal philosophy plays a role here as well. As far as I know, I only have one life in this body that I inhabit right now. I want this to be a wild ride, full of experiences and everything but boring. The mind will not develop in a tame body with a fixed schedule. I want to feel the wind on my face, I want to be shaken by the storm, I want to jump into rivers and burn fires. Because it's my nature. All those things I cannot do while sitting in a laboratory, watching the world pass by.


Maybe I sound like an egocentric child when I write this, saying “I want, I..., I...” - but actually I am just an animal with a highly functional brain, who also wants to experience animal stuff. This is not about feeding the ego, but to transcendent, to go beyond. Anyone who presumes my ego must be huge the way I live (I hear that once in a while), I recommend climbing an active volcano. Burn your soles, feel it. We can discuss my ego once you make it back.


If I could, I would want to change the world. I would love to see more humans to create their own path and follow it. Almost every problem on this planet is based on greed. People define themselves over what they own, while living empty lives. But sadly, changing the world is not in my power, all I can do, is change MY world and keep the banner up, to show it's possible. Maybe I can at least make a mess of someones convictions once in a while and maybe be the butterfly that sparks a change here or there.



What drives you creating?

You can call it an inner fire.




What did you always wanted to tell about your art but nobody asked the right question?


It is absolutely not important what I have to say about my art. I have read a lot of artist statements in my time, I ran a gallery for two years. And frankly, I am not interested in pretentious text modules. My work should speak for itself. If you can't hear it, I am not here to forcefeed you words. See me as a tool, translating visions into images. What you really see in my images, will always tell you more about yourself than about my work or me, make use of it.