Using a range of media and techniques—linocuts, oil, acrylic, watercolors, and Indian ink—painted, printed and poured onto the canvas, Kampmann reveals (and conceals) layers of phenomenological possibility. Negative space and positively charged color dominate Kampann’s canvases, while compositional hierarchies themselves appear to be dismembered—central figures and their surrounding environments seem to be given equal value in an abstracted tableau in which pop and historical references spring up against personalized narratives, both real and imagined.
Kampmann's painting Goodbye Tomorrow (from which the entire exhibition derives its name) takes German film director Alexander Kluge’s 1966 film Yesterday Girl as its starting point. A non-linear chronicle of the main character Anita’s restless movements from place to place, the film jumps jarringly between time and place. In a similarly kaleidoscopic fashion, Kampmann's painting skips between the present, past, place and subject. A man and woman, who by their vague orange silhouette appear to hearken from the mid 20th century, loom ominously as a second couple looks into the screen of a modern day laptop computer. Meanwhile a partially obscured women—Anita perhaps?—turns away from the viewer as her apparent doppelganger—who bears a striking resemblance to Kampmann herself—dances freely in a purple dress. Abstracted elements take equally center stage throughout; paint is thrown, etched, and hastily brushed to bewildering effect, allowing the meaning-making process to deteriorate, much as one’s own memory of an event or the celluloid medium of film itself might degrade over time.
This type of subjective, often oppositional, layering is the keystone of Kampmann’s work. Writing in 2009, Kito Nedo (critic and writer for Germany’s Die Welt), surmises: "What is then concealed within the pictures of Katrin Kampmann? Certainly, there is the will of the artist toward allowing for ambiguity and openness. As if with a counterspell, the painter attempts to provide the massiveness of closed and defined media images with opposition. For beholders of her work, this means obtaining the freedom to follow the chain of one’s own associations through her pictures. Moreover, Katrin Kampmann rises to one of the most essential tasks of painting: seeing nature, space and figure with perpetually new eyes and creating her work with ever new combinations of light and color."
Essayist Jürgen Schilling explains with regards to Kampmann’s 2007 Nacht der Entscheidung exhibition for Shultz Contemporary in Berlin: “The eye is wandering, because it encounters manifold formal and coloristic sensations and it is being both led and seduced. The viewer will note with amazement, how, in this sophisticated game of colors, ever new stimuli, ever new sections become meaningful or how certain, at first neglected parts come into the foreground. Scantily sketched, dissolving abstract and narratively figurative stages combine to a texture.”
The return to painting, and the possibilities held therein, is a central tenet of the neue junge wilde scene mushrooming in a naturally spontaneous response to the multimedia art trend that has dominated German art and art schools over the past two decades. Drawing its name from Germany’s Junge Wilde (“young wild”) movement—a neo-expressionist painting style that centered in Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne in the 1980s—the neue junge wilde shares with its predecessor an emphasis on subjectivity and private coded language, as well as gesture and strong coloring. As a former master student of Karl Horst Hödicke (often considered the “Father of the Junge Wilde”), Kampmann is a natural de facto spearhead of the painterly revolution currently taking place in Berlin.
About Katrin Kampmann
Katrin Kampmann has exhibited in Germany at Kunsthalle Rostock, Kunsthalle Dresden, Kunsthalle Brennabor/Branden-burg, and elsewhere internationally at the Museum of Art Wuhan (China), Bienal de Cerveira (Portugal), Michael Schultz Gallery (Berlin and Seoul), and she is exclusively represented in the United States by the GARBOUSHIAN GALLERY. She was educated and served as a master student under Professor K.H. Hödicke at the University of Künste, Berlin. This is her first solo exhibition in the United States.
GOODBYE TOMORROW will be on view March 19 - April 30th, 2011, at GARBOUSHIAN GALLERY. The opening reception is Saturday, March 19, from 6 to 8 pm.