East German female artist illustrates her thoughts on the absurdity of modern filters and how consumerism fits in our society
First Asian Solo Exhibition at Ting Ting Art Space
Katharina Arndt was born in 1981 East Germany right before the two sides united. Even though from her birth till the unification in 1990, Katharina only experienced about ten years of communist society. This childhood life experience shaped her values and perspective, making her sojourn in Barcelona, Spain quite a culture shock and making her reflect on the different social culture.
For years, Katharina lived between Berlin and Barcelona. The two places are entirely different in national spirit, artistic cycle, and cultural sentiments. All of these factors and perspectives from the past communist East Germany made Katharina’s artistic perception, source of inspiration and her chosen media each possess their unique meaning and depth.
She grew up in a system and environment that did not have the concept of consumerism and a consumerist system but only consisted of people’s communes; years later, when Katharina was freely enjoying the Western consumerist products, such as beaches, sunshine, shopping etc., she could not help but start to reflect on this crossover of her social experiences from two opposite societies. She then took a step further and discussed the shallowness of human nature, and the behaviors and living attitude limited by all sorts of restrictions created by social media.
Showering under sunlight in Barcelona, lazily drinking iced alcohol or beverages on the beach, smoking from time to time… people are always taking pictures: of the sky, of the light, of the beach, of the food and alcohol, of themselves or each other… nonstop. After taking the pictures, people add on filters to embellish. Yet this heavenly sight, a series of filtered and perfect behavior and photos, yet when we put down our phones and look around, it is then when we discover the beaches covered in all kinds of leftovers, cigarette butts, and trash created by our behaviors.
Katharina ARNDT, Barceloneta Beach, 450 x 190 cm, acrylic on canvas, 2023
Katharina consciously chose to use a more childlike brush stroke, meant to remain a distance from the real world; therefore presenting things as they genuinely are.
Lines seemingly simple and rough are actually well thought out and designed. Katharina’s personalized artistic interpretation abandons complicated figurative description and depicts the objects through focused and conceptual strokes.
Katharina uses lots of manmade materials (e.g. PVC film, painted paper and fiberglass), glossy acrylic and paint marker as her creative medium, meant to use the smooth texture and visualization to mock our world now that is filled with plastic and over-materialized.