Kathrin Köster makes site-specific installations that combine painting with sculptural and architectural elements. Born in Aachen, Germany, her practise is now based in Berlin. We spoke to her in New York City where she was beginning a six-month residency at the Triangle Arts Association.
I applied directly for a studio at Triangle. I had ideas about what I wanted to do before I came here. I had questions about my project and I made notes of the most important ideas. That’s what is on the paper hanging above my desk. I write them down to keep them in mind. They were my ideas when I applied for the studio but time went by and the questions are at another point. The project changed but I want to keep in mind what was important from the beginning.
The entry point to my work is the painting, but it’s mostly shown in installation settings. My latest work was one exhibition in two gallery rooms. I made the catalogue to mimic how you walk through–there’s a certain rhythm to it. It’s important how people move through the installation and how they interact in a physical way.
I see the paintings as elements. They relate to each other. They can be part of another installation but this one, for example, is never on the wall. It’s always for the floor. For me, it’s not a painting on a wall in the normal way of presentation. I have questions about the ways of perception and traditional ways of thinking about painting. It’s “painting about painting”–something like this.
My studio in Berlin has one complete wall of windows. The sun comes through and it looks out on the big river. When I look down, I see the water change the whole day. It’s really nice–to be outside when you’re inside. I’m always looking outside with the windows open. I always have the feeling that I need air from outside or else my head will close.
When I come to this studio, in New York, it’s bright outside and when I go, it’s dark. You can’t see the whole in-between. It’s strange, but I like this space. I’ve never worked in a studio that’s only walls. It’s enclosed. I can concentrate. When I close the door, I can hear things from the hall but not really. I can concentrate and focus.
I can’t think about how I will bring my work back to Berlin. I don’t want to limit myself. I think it wouldn’t work if I was thinking about that. It wouldn’t make sense. I’ll wait to think about that in June. I’m sure I’ll think of a solution.
-Kathrin Köster, as told to Studio Beat.
Photos by Courtney Vokey
Visit Kathrin Köster’s website here.