Six questions for
Bärbel Praun

Tique asks six questions to an artist about their work and inspiration.
This week: Bärbel Praun.

Artist Bärbel Praun

Lives in Hamburg, Germany

How do you describe your own art practice?

My art practice is rather intuitive and strongly process-orientated and lies at the intersection of photography, sculpture and performance. Last year I’ve started to work on a collaborative project with artist and friend Flaminia Celata and it is fascinating to observe how questions of authorship dissolve and transform into a mutual urge to tell a story jointly. To prioritize process, production and outcome of a work so strongly is a strengthening experience based on trust and communication I very much enjoy.

Which question or theme is central in your work?

My obsession with climate change, pollution and the ever-altering urban and natural spaces surrounding us has influenced content and methodology of my bodies of work deeply over the last years. I am interested in the relationship between object, material and space, the value of our everyday material world, its ephemerality and the visibility of process and time.

What was your first experience with art?

I guess that was with performing arts: my mother regularly took us to theatre plays, opera and dance performances. I remember that I found it particularly surprising that the roles of those performing and those watching were divided so strongly and I wondered what would happen if I/the audience was to react and interact spontaneously.

What is your greatest source of inspiration?

This list could be never-ending! Walking. Seeing the horizon, hiking in the mountains. Reading (most recently books by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie). Visiting a cleverly created and curated exhibition (it’s been a while, but one probably always accompanying me is Oscar Murillo’s show at Haus der Kunst in Munich in 2017). Watching movies (most recent: ‘Sin Nombre’ by director Cary Joji Fukanaga), listening to music. Having a conversation with my colleague I share the studio space with, which is like playing ping-pong with associations of childhood memories, visual arts’ references and reminiscences of places. I love preparing my own exhibitions; the process of working on the concept and then spending time in the space for installation – and working with the space. Sunlight, smells, touch (or the imagination of touch). Artists’ books!

What do you need in order to create your work?

Paradoxically enough I need both time and deadlines, both headspace and limitations, both being in motion and standing still and quiet. After having lived a nomadic life for many years and having adapted my art practice to my lifestyle I now slowly learn the opposite – how to create work in a state of being settled.

What work or artist has most recently surprised you?

Bernardine Evaristo’s short story ‘The First Feminists’, amazingly and beautifully written like a song.

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