Sara Dittrich creates objects, installations, and performances using the forms of musical instruments and interactive electronic technologies to investigate the dynamic acts of listening, communicating and moving. She received her BFA in interdisciplinary sculpture from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), and has exhibited her work in numerous shows including a solo exhibition at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She has also exhibited her work internationally in the Czech Republic where she studied at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague with the sculpture studio headed by Dominik Lang. She received the 2013 Beers Contemporary Award for Emerging Art and has been awarded residencies at Sculpture Space, Vermont Studio Center, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. She is currently a 2018-19 fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center.
I was originally introduced into the arts from a traditional painting/drawing background. When I entered art school, I surprised myself by quickly transitioning from painting, to sculpture, to performance, to video, etc. In hindsight, there was a real natural and logical progression that led me to where I am today. I can see now making exaggerated instrument objects led to creating performances to use those objects, which led to using video to document the performances. My interest in the way sound and music relate to the body ties this diverse group of mediums together for me. I gravitate towards using so many mediums because there is a certain creative freedom that comes with being naive about a particular medium. You do not become weighed down by what previous artists in that field have done, or get caught up in having correct technique, or discard ideas because you think it's not possible/feasible.
Using so many mediums also leads to many opportunities for collaboration. In past projects I have collaborated with everyone from programmers to musicians, luthiers, composers, and other visual artists. Many times I find the act of collaboration to be the most rewarding part of my practice. It's exciting to have an exchange of knowledge between people from different fields and to inspire each other in new ways.
Statement: I often take a multimedia approach, using sculptural objects, musical performance, video, and interactive electronic technologies to create immersive environments. These works investigate communal aspects of music creation, and give a renewed awareness of the body to the viewer. Musical thinking, which is at the same time gestural and architectonic, often holds a strong presence in my work. I use devices such as repetition, absurdity, and collaboration to filter in the physical rhythms and movements of the body created by the accumulation of footsteps, breaths, and heartbeats. These tools work together to place the viewer in the here and now, and create spaces to “just be”.