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Katharina Kakar

Artist Statement


In my work I play with different materials to create new visual bodies that address the changing global landscape of identities. By engaging with themes that matter to me, I like to probe what is underneath the surface of cultural beliefs and our contradicting patterns of behavior, to unblock thoughts and open up questions.

I mainly work in the field of installation and utilize materials found in my immediate environment, such as spices, dried fish, ash and discarded things that I find on my walks. Metal plays an important part in my work, and I often integrate copper, iron or bronze in my installations.

Artists from different walks of life have influenced my thinking profoundly. Richard Serra’s “participatory” approach; Marina Abramović’s confronting and drawing the visitor into the artist’s issues of trust, endurance, catharsis and departure; William Kentridge’s ambiguous storytelling and uncertain endings; Louise Bourgeois battle with the inner strangeness; And Christian Boltanski’s raw exposure of loss.

I see myself as a cultural “bridge-builder” who understands myself and others within constantly shifting realities. The different paths that have shaped my life and contributed to this perception are: being exposed to art from early childhood onwards; choosing to study comparative religion and anthropology; writing books and teaching students; engaging deprived children in India through art; living in different cultures, and marrying an Indian writer. In many ways, my body of work emerges from these engagements and  from my academic base in anthropology.


To summarize: I perceive my art as a confluence of my work and life-choices of the past 20 years.


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