Katharina Fitz is a Nottingham based artist. She has recently taken part in a group show at Nottingham Contemporary called Aftermath.The Aftermath exhibition is an annual collaboration where students on the MFA course at Nottingham Trent University respond critically to the winter exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary. The show offers insights into the influence that exhibitions can have on an artist’s creative process and challenges viewers to meticulously observe this process.
Katharina’s practice is focused mainly on conceptual photography as well as sculpture. Since 2016 she has introduced different mediums such as casting, mould making, woodwork, and ceramics into her practice. Within her practice, she is concerned with subjects surrounding urban sociology showing the structures, processes, phenomenon, and problems that are part of urban life and human interactions with a special interest in shared memory and social and cultural aspects of life.
She is one of the two artists selected for the Re-imagine the City residency, first of 4 artist residencies organized and curated by Artcore between 2018/2019.
We visited her in the artist studio, where we discovered some interesting aspects of her research concerning the British Pub culture as a forum where different generations meet and socialise.
Have a read of what she says!
Where are you based?
I am currently based in Nottingham.
How would you like to use this residency to develop your current research and how do you think the time spent at Artcore can benefit your process of doing?
The specific theme of the Artcore residency is very interesting for the development of my practice, as I mainly work with subjects surrounding the city. As a sculptor, the production grant also supports me in the realisation of the project and the studio space offered gives me the opportunity to get to know the other resident and get involved in the community at Artore.
In the proposal, you mentioned many time your interest in developing a project about of the disappearing of the public houses in the UK. Why are you interested in it and how you aim to connect it with your current practice?
Pubs are places for people of all ages and classes to interact and socialise. They have got an important cultural value and mostly have a positive impact on local communities and strengthen the feeling of belonging to a place. I am interested in the subject because interconnectivity and integration have always played an important role in my practice. The closing and demolishing of pubs is a big issue within urban areas, but on the other hand there lies a lot of potential in the reopening of micro breweries and reimagening of new pubs. I intend to use the object of the metal beer keg to represent the connectivity and history of the pub culture. Kegs are objects that are moved around the city between the pubs creating connecting points between locations. All its dents and scratches are a proof of history and time the object has gone through.
How and when have you decided to combine photography and sculpture?
I come from a photography background and started introducing sculpture about two years ago. At the moment I am in the process of exploring the language of sculpture and once I feel comfortable with it I would like to reintroduce photography and combine the two.
Where does a practice like yours find a platform for engagement with communities?
In the case of photography, the integration of communities was mainly based on conversations with people around the photographed areas. In the case of my current practice as a sculptor I am considering the process of marking out specific places within the city, and let the people develop an awareness of the changing of their surrounding. The idea of the process is important, how things in our daily surrounding are made and how we can start to reappreciate its value away from the overproduction of things in our consumerist society.
What is the most interesting or inspiring thing you have seen or been to recently, and why?
The most inspiring exhibition I have visited recently has been the Rachel Whiteread retrospective at the Tate Britain. Rachel Whiteread in an artist that has always been an important reference for my work both in photography and sculpture. Her work has taught me how to read and understand sculpture and the importance of the interconnection between the viewer and the object within the space.
What keeps you curious?
Conversations, people, places, different cultures, architecture, music, nature… and TRAVELLING, which has always been in the center of my life and has always given me new inspirations and the opportunity to reevaluate things from different perspectives.
Which other artists’ work do you admire, and why?
Rachel Whiteread – her idea of the positive and the negative has made me understand our place as a viewer in relation to the object.
Gabriel Orozco – I love the way he combines sculpture (installation) and photography
Holly Hendry – an interesting young sculptor, also working with the idea of casting, space, positive and negative, material, city, and connections.
What do you think is the role of artists in the current society?
In my point of view, there is no such thing as THE role of the artist in our current society. I think there are many roles that artists play as varied as society itself. One thing that I think is important when it comes to art in a general term, is the question of how do we experience the world that surrounds us AFTER we have experienced the work. How does art change our perception of the world…
What are your thoughts on being an artist in Derby?
As I am currently based in Nottingham, it is difficult to answer this question from the point of view of an artist in Derby, but what I do feel relevant is potential this residency offers to connect artists from Derby and Nottingham for the potential of future collaborations.
How do you see Artcore, as an art institution, to support you at this stage of your career?
The Artcore residency is very important for me at this point in my career and my involvement with the place. I came to the UK in 2016 and it is very important for me to be able to establish fruitful connections with institutions such as Artcore, it gives me the opportunity to realise a new body of work.