Katharina Arndt (b.1981) is a Contemporary artist from Germany who lives and works between Berlin and Barcelona. She studied Fine Arts at Braunschweig school of art and later on obtained her Master of Fine Arts by John Armleder.
Her fast and colorful paintings ironizes the contemporary mass consumerist aesthetic of a decadent, abundant society in picturing her everyday life in the digital age.
Additionally, her work has been shown in several galleries and museums in Europe. Some examples include the Saatchi Gallery (London), Museum Villa Rot (Burgrieden), Kunstverein (Hannover).
We asked the artist to tell us a bit about herself, we asked questions.
This is what she told us.
ABOUT my work
The focus of my artistic work (painting, drawing) is the observation of digital communication behavior and the visualization of aesthetics of mass consumption in the digital age.
Symbol for this is the topic 'surface' - social, cultural, material.
In the hyperreal and at the same time immaterial online world, only the visual appearance dominates - of ourselves and the products we are supposed to buy.
We stroke the glossy screen of our smartphone countless times a day, the bodies are hairless, the corners round, the sunglasses mirrored.
The smooth appears as a metaphor for resistance, eternal youth, as artificial, uncritical, superficial, conformist.
I transfer this topic material and content wise into painting.
I work on artificial media such as PVC film, lacquer paper and Plexiglas with glossy acrylic paint and lacquer markers.
Fast, reduced, almost childlike, motifs and medium function as an artistic mirror of the quantity and speed of perceived scenes.
The figures in my paintings often wear sunglasses, stick to their mobile phones, have headphones on.
They are socially highly active and at the same time socially isolated.
I see my work as a psychogram of a positivist consumer society that tries to escape its own mortality.
Or a Story:
The 1st artworks I remember are not from big art world Heroes like Picasso or so, I remember the aquarelles of my mom, she has done when she was a teenage girl.
She water colored her fav movie stars, like Alan Delon, wild horses, fast cars, actually pretty cool stuff.
I still have one of her aquarelle hanging in my kitchen looking at it every day.
It is a naively painted Mercedes SL in the Mountains. She was my first big impact to art.
So, I never really questioned to study art to continue painting. I studied Fine Arts at the Braunschweig University of Art and completed my master’s degree in 2006 under the guidance of the Swiss artist John Armleder.
Strong influence, as well, with his focus on ready mades and aesthetics of consumerism.
4 years ago we started to spend the winter in Barcelona and the city and the beach became my second home.
It is so inspiring, I love to watch people, what they are wearing, how they are wearing it, how they behave, which products they use.
I think, clothes and accessories give a perfect impression of the spirit of the age we are living in.
But of course, I also love to hear music and watch movies, listen to podcasts and use quotes for light works and the text I use on the drawings.
That’s why I admire a lot Rose Wylie, her work, her age and the motifs she is painting.
My paintings are fast and almost childlike, acrylic paint on glossy fabric.
All the material I work with are artificial, plastic like, glossy, smooth for example latex, acrylic glass or rhinestones.
This topic of the smooth surface appears as a metaphor for resistance, eternal youth, as superficial and conformist.
At the moment I am working on sketches for 2 shows in Barcelona.
In July is a group show about the topic still-life “needful things” and in September during the BCN gallery weekend I have a solo-show with the title “forever young” both at Uxval Gochez Gallery.
when/ how did you find out you are an artist, was your family supportive?
My mom was a creative influence, but making this a serious job was a big step.
My unsafe freelancer life still feels insecure to her.
what is your relationship to Instagram?
Thanks god, saved me financially during this Covid-times.
I appreciate my own visibility and the one of the other artists.
I explored so many great artists through it.
But I am aware of the superficialness and non-binding nature of social media.
how important has digitalization become for you in connection with your art practice.
There are 2 aspects: I use it for marketing and networking, so I have to admit, I spend less time in the studio.
And content wise, digitalization is part of our everyday life, we communicate, shop online, work online, all these motifs enter my paintings.
Do you find that the pandemic has left a mark on your work?
Not yet really. It exists one mask drawing. I am painfully aware of being a social being.
Missed that, crowded openings, traveling.
where, when, how do you work best?
Schedule a date, give me a space and I will develop a concept! I like to work for an exhibition.
The really, really best thing is the moment an idea pops up, during jogging through the park or while having a bath (my two favorites).
The most exciting thing is the beginning, the first idea, the imagination how it should feel.
where, how do you usually get inspired?
Actually everywhere, when I do things, I like, for example sunbathing at the beach, watching movies, buying ridiculous products in the supermarket, drinking too much beer while drawing and then question it.
What does success mean to you?
Success means to me, acceptance of my oeuvre, having the possibility to work with art world professional I admire, earning money with what I have studied. Doing the whole day what I love.
what are you working on currently?
I am really excited about my upcoming solo-show in September during Barcelona gallery weekend.
I already have the title “forever young”. About the title I like the absurd content.
It pretends to be a common sentence, but it is the most stupid wish you can have, nobody, really nobody will be forever young.
You can only fail.
I will start sketching these days and based on this I will decide which paintings and light-works I want to realize.
Share a favorite quote:
“Never try to fuck a fucker”
Katharina Arndt lives and works as artist in Berlin and Barcelona.
The art association ROTOR in Graz shares with us to share with you the exhibition “Between the found and the constructed”. The show is the third part of the series titled “Beings and Creatures” which consists of four chapters.