Schleime has developed a recognizable, autonomous vocabulary with which she depicts the universe according to her own insights and standards.
In 1984, five years before the fall of the Berlin wall, Cornelia Schleime came to the West. This move meant, however, that she had to leave all her work behind in East Germany. During her first year in West Berlin she did not follow the international trends, such as performance or video, but did series of water colors, intuitive drawings and paintings – initially only for herself. Later came small installations with over painted photos or postcards and monumental canvases. Cornelia Schleime has a preference for manipulating forms and playing with formats. At the end of the 1980s she enlarged the object itself in the manner of Pop Art. Now she zooms in on her models, like a television director. This approach produces monumental half- totals and close-ups, so that the viewers are extremely close to the subject. Through an innovative combination of acrylic and oils with other paints she also sometimes obtains remarkable clotting effects; some works look as if they are already suffering from the ravages of time and are in ‘old age’.