Katinka Bock

Katinka Bock is a German sculptor and visual artist, born in 1976 in Frankfurt am Main. After studying sculpture at Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee, where she graduated in 2004, she received her master’s in 2005 at l’Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts de Lyon. Since 2001, she lives and works between Berlin and Paris.

Text Bettina Wohlfarth
All images Courtesy Galerie Jocelyn Wolff

The work of Katinka Bock is anchored, at first glance, in the Arte Povera movement and inspired by the likes of artists such as Mario Merz and Giuseppe Penone. The German artist has a predilection for modest and natural materials like terracotta, wood, plaster, ceramic, leather and fabric. With a sort of delicate simplicity, she often associates these materials to found objects: a stone, a ladder, a rope, a table, a steel hoop and a football. For Katinka Bock, used materials hold a sense of something beyond their materiality. They are provocative because of the way in which they evoke deep, immediate emotions that precede conceptualisation.

Representative of her practice is the installation Trostfützen (flaques de consolation) 2010. In an irregular quadrilateral, she aligns about fifty terracotta squares, all irregularly curved so that they become little repositories. Water has been poured into their hollows, and the consequential evaporation of the liquid, which is so basic but integral to all life, leaves whitish circular marks on the terracotta squares. The progressive portrait of the water engenders a trace that resembles dry salt on the rusty-brown-coloured tile-reservoirs, resonating the title flaques de consolation (‘puddles of consolation’). The exterior space in which the work is placed becomes monastic and the interior space of the spectator opens up to contemplation. The temporality is an integral part of this installation and is found elsewhere in Katinka Bock’s work.

In her practice, the German artist is interested in the relationships and the links between objects and materials. She invests in the exhibition spaces and conceives her works in resonance, to the point of intervening even materialistically in the given place by cutting in the wall, for example. Just the same, she crafts a mental space in her work to subtly invite spectator to reflect. The poetry of her work, which emanates organic forms (Trio 2009, for example) and unexpected associations (like Pierre sous la table 2013), is reminiscent of the Japonese Haïku method that uses sensorial shortcuts.

Her work is precise, powerful and at the same time embodies a sophisticated simplicity. Institutions recognised Katinka Bock’s work before she was even 30 years old. She has been selected for artist residencies in France, USA, Germany and Italy at the Villa Medici, Rome (2012/2013). Since 2003 she has participated in a number of group exhibitions and had a solo show in 2009 at the Kunsthalle Nürnberg, then in 2010 at Kunstmuseum Stuttgart. After exhibitions in Italy, France and Portugal (Culturgest), she was invited in 2013 to MAMCO in Geneva and in 2015 to Kunstmuseum Luzern. In 2012 she was winner of the prestigious Fondation d’enterprise prize.

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