Katharina

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past work

I made glossy, black ceramic vases that sort of collapsed into themselves. They’re quite big, maybe the volume of a toddler or a small dog, while some expand more vertically, and some more horizontally. [why such a small body if later you are referring to the human body?] The vases were thought to be carriers for sandals made from wax, potatoes, felt, and debris. They are built up using the coil technique, which means I rolled clay sausages for a few weeks, every day for several hours, while chatting with whoever was around, listening to music, or watching shows. At some point being there in the room for an extended period of time seemed as much part of the process as did the clay, or any other material. [did this experience have an effect on the final formal qualities of the clay or vases?]I kept on rolling, and stacking sausages on top of each other until the clay body started to become unstable and I had to stop. [in what way is food playing a role in your work? for me i see many links to the human being and food, even in the way you describe forming the coils.]


relationship between the above work and other past work (this paragraph refers to the potato sandals that came with the vases)

At the time I think I thought about the feeling when one wants to escape mostly their own body, but also danger, and how the two relate or they’re different. [can you expand on how they relate or differ?] Leaving one’s own body seems like an impossible movement, but there are things like dancing and trance, or drugs I suppose, like a state of a mild loss of self. I thought there was a relation to the feet, as the parts of the body that, through connection to the ground, I suppose, have this function of moving a body, but then in dancing you don’t really cover any distance, so the moving away from, or towards something happens in a different way. [in what way does this happen?] I thought of bodies unraveling, and the friction and sweat, of multiple bodies against each other but in a sort of lonely way. There is also this legend of a christian martyr fleeing from prosecution, and stuffing his sandals with sheep wool and through his sweat and the rubbing of the feet against the leather, the wool turned into felt. I also had sprouted potatoes that I found in my kitchen at the end of the winter, and then it made sense to me to make these heavy, club shoe, creeper soles from wax that are filled with the potatoes and debri from the studio and felted strings of wool and to put them and to make the undulating body vases to go with them. [do you mean that the vases are dancing as well?]

what situation did these works emerge from?

I was at the academy at the time, so on a technical level I had easy access to the facilities and workshops, if that hadnt’t been the case the vases might have not been made in such a “classical” way, but I probably still would have made some sort of body container, just maybe from paper maché. [is the material of clay not vital in the concept of the work?] With the sandals it was different, I tried making them without molds but they were just such a mess. Maybe wax was the wrong material, but I was really into the idea that one could actually burn the felt strings protruding from the soles and then the whole thing would melt and consume itself. I hated making the molds, though, and the outcome was way too neat for what I had wanted, so I ended up melting them down again to erode the shape.[why the dissatisfaction with “neatness”?] I think on a very basic material level, I’m always trying to navigate how to use resources and facilities, because I enjoy the skill, and doing things properly, but at the same time I’m not satisfied by a sleek, conceptual product, or something that is too well done or something. [the question above relates to this as well]It’s like I want different things from the making than from the actual product.

s this in opposition in how others were working in the academy?]

current work

I’m building stages that are made from cardboard boxes and have mostly photos of instances that depict some technical, or translational issue, like too little screws for an IKEA bed, or something, as a background. [could you expand you IKEA bed example slightly?] Sometimes several photos are layered on top of each other. [what does this mode of working produce for the whole?] The stages are small enough to fit on my lap, so the objects that came in the boxes weren’t too big either. Several books, cosmetics etc. They function as structural support system for a performance I’m planning. Their scale is important; a miniature space to house individual units of language, mostly english, single words, or short phrases. It’s supposed to be like a stage for the words to communicate with each other. The words themselves come from this list I’m working on that consists of things I write down while reading. It started with words I had to look up, but has extended to words that seem useful, or nicely specific. In some way I think words and organs are related, as a collection (of tissues) joined in a structural unit to serve a common function. I also started to embroider the words onto a piece of fabric by hand. [how do the objects come back in to “perform’ with the words, or what function do they serve?]

how is the current work different from the past work?

It’s similar in the way that it seems pretty straight forward to me, in it’s approach of dealing with quotidian issues and materials I have easy access to/ that begin to interest me through repeated encounter. My body as a technology? Trying to figure basic stuff out? [could you connect this thought/expand on the interest in quotidian issues?] They are also similar in how I try to use material as an intelligent capacity that can figure things out besides a more lingual, or research based approach. [how does this happen?]

how is it different?

It’s different because I question the position and power of my own body differently, when I use it in my own work. In the past it this choice was mostly informed by it’s availability as a technology, and I didn’t necessarily think about it’s normalized relationship of dominance towards a lot of other bodies, so I try to be more mindful of that. [can you elaborate on how the work does this?] I’m also trying to figure out language, as in how my use of material and the decisions I make are connected to my language and how I actually DO use language as a material not so different from a camera, or a piece of fabric. [how do you use it as a material?] I suppose some like, basic parameters of my practice have shifted, and I’m in the midst of exploring that.

who/what can help me?

Apart from peers who actively figure out their own work and through whose learning process I can learn something about of my own methods, what probably helps me the most is more knowledge of myself and/in the world… Like I would love to have a more comfortable knowledge of my practice and a body of work that reflects this. So I have something like a library of my artist self that I can return to in times of DESPAIR. Not quite there yet. [do you have a plan on how to get there?]

future work

what could it be? A beautiful summer wardrobe for myself, that consists of two dresses, a pair of long, flowy pants, a really nice shirt, a jacket with buttons, and a few t-shirts with the perfect arm length, all of which I’ll sew. Oh, and a woven scarf/universal piece of fabric to wrap around differing parts of my body. In the process I’ll get better at sewing, which is the skill that I desire to master most, but I’ll also naturally come across something that advances my art practice. [is it something that just comes to you through your use of material or does it also come another way?] A patchy duvet with lots of loose hanging threads, that is made from scraps of the wardrobe fabric, onto which I will embroider exiting words, and under which I can perform dances in privacy but not seclusion. [what does it mean privacy but not seclusion?]

what makes it neccessary? This is the question that hinders me the most when I want to make art - I know it’s a fair question, but I’m very good at keeping myself from doing the things I want to do or make so I’d rather just make things when I can, and maybe that in itself is what makes it necessary or something. [meaning that the art serves primarily as a function to fulfill a basic need which you find in yourself rather than having a conversation outside of that self?]