This is a new series on the blog in which I show you my private collection of art and tell you a bit about the artists.
5 years ago I started to collect art. I loved art all my life and I am absolutly crazy about it. Even before I started to study art history I decided I want to be surrounded by it. That’s also the reason I work in the art business today. Art collectiong doesn’t mean you have to be rich. Don’t misunderstand me. I collect art from young emerging artists I like. Mostly art of female artists but that’s not really on purpose it just happend. Collecting is not that difficult to be honest. If you like art and you go to museums and art galleries a lot you will certainly come across affordable art. The only thing you need is your personal taste and some good galleries. My favourite gallery I usually by art at is FB69 in Münster and Cologne (GER). It’s a really cool gallery which supports young artists from all over the world. I also buy art via 1xrun in the States. They have an awesome concept to make art affordable for everyone. They do small editions. I bought a few of those in the last years too. Editions are a good way to start collecting. Editions aren’t as expensive as originals but of course also of value. And to be honest buying art is not about money. Of course we all know the insane industry around auctions and famous artists but that’s not how collecting normally works for most people. So the first peace I ever bought was a drawing from an irish artist. I will write about her another time. Today I want to tell you about an artist and friend I collect. I am pretty happy to own three works of her already. Some more are on my wishlist.
Katharina Arndt | Berlin
I met Katharina 4 years ago at FB69 Gallery when she had an exhibition with danish artist Kristian Hornsleth. They did an edition for the exhibition too. A print of two of Katharinas drawings which Kristians coloured on. That’s his technique. Check his page out he does pretty cool stuff too. His works are just too expensive for me.
Katharina and I immedeatly became friends that night by the way. I visit her in Berlin a couple of times a year and we usually stay up all night and talk about art and stuff. When she made a catalogue edition about her work I wrote her a text for it and got and art work. You can see it below in this post. That’s also a way to get art for your collection. As I pretty much said it all in that text I will give you an abstract now:
My first encounter with the works of Katharina Arndt were her embroideries on canvas that were part of her series “Art comes from Ability” in 2008/2009. These pieces combine traditional patterns, which possess an old-fashioned shapeliness, with modern swear words. This connection is at first sight irritatingly decorative, then bewildering as the aggressive message reaches the brain. This ancient textile technique thus achieves in the works a completely different use than is normally the case. In the Middle Ages, embroidery was primarily used to decorate liturgical garments; later it served as an activity to keep young women from good homes occupied. Katharina Arndt transforms these historical aspects of embroidery for her work.
This strategy also forms the basis of her colored pencil drawings. We see manipulated color portraits of celebrities, icons of our time. Upon closer inspection, however, changes become visible, alterations which spur one to reflection. In the series “Pam” (Pamela Anderson), for example, there are no tattoos to be seen on the body of the former Baywatch star – they didn’t make the cut, as it were. The famous actress appears strangely naked, robbed of her preferred form of expression.
This manipulation of color permits, indeed encourages, a reinterpretation of generally accepted celebrity advertising messages. A beautiful example of this is the portrayal of the American porno star Sasha Grey. Seeking direct eye contact she radiates knowledge. After five years in the American porno industry, one most likely knows quite a bit about the abysmal dephts of humanity, about desire and craving. But what did Sasha Grey know before she began her career? What’s immediately evident in Katharina’s series is that Grey had that knowing look even as a teenager. More importantly, she appears aloof and strong. Those who know nothing of her professional background will perceive her as a self-confident woman. From a technical standpoint, the portrayal of Sasha Grey resembles the nude photographs of Helmut Newton: perfection and strength are to be found in nudity.
What Katharina achives in her works is a transformation, turning the passive consumption of advertising messages into the active process of critical observation. In so doing she offers us a new, unfamiliar way of seeing our everyday media landscape, so overflowing with its competing messages and seductions, and invites us to bring a higher degree of sophistication to our analysis of this world and the way we interact with it. Her decision to work with colored pencils in a time of digital photography and Photoshop at first appears strangely bizarre. The coloring is reminiscent of Andy Warhol. But whereas Warhol used a technical innovation – the screen printing process – for his repeated colorful manipulations, Katharina Arndt draws on a classical medium. And in contrast to Warhol, who blazed hie own revolutionary trail at the Factory in the 1960’s and turned away from the ideas of uniqueness and artistic authorship, Katharina devotes her full and undivided attention to precisly these concepts. Unique, singular representations have become rare; images today are reproduced ad infinitum (many would say nauseam) and known around the world. Contemporary celebrities are recognized in equal measure in Germany, America and Japan. The people who stare out at us from billboards have been dehumanized and are interchangeable. Katharina Arndt depicts personalities, each work unique, one of a kind. She takes used up, worn-out images and turns them into works of art, thereby putting a stop once and for all to image inflation.
After all, what makes the works so extraordinary, so sublime? In my opinion it’s the combination of strong women, eroticism, a hidden visual lexicon, the world of media, the childlike approach and above all the unadorned beauty inherent in the pieces. Images which possess value above and beyond the theoretical are no longer the norm in art, and there is a perfect justification for this. First-rate art need not be beautiful, and we shouldn’t let ourselves be fooled into believing that less attractive portrayals are less deserving of our praise. I, personally, hold Katharina’s works in high regard, but I also value them for their clear beauty.
(you’ll find the whole text in the catalogue)
The catalogue “ADORE”
Catalogue, 76 Pages
Edition of 69 copies
Each signed and numbered by the artist
Available for 69,–€ – you can order your copy here
#artwork | Viagra from the series “Artwork’s hard work”, 2008/09, 12-part, embroidery on canvas, different sizes
the print edition of Katharina Arndt and Kristian Hornsleth. Signed by the artists and Kitty Core (the drawn porn star in the picture)
And I also own an artist proof of the print edition of this
#artwork |Katharina Arndt, “Sasha 5” (Grey), drawing, 2011
Some more works of her
Katharina Arndt, “Kate 1” (Moss), drawing, 2011