Six questions for
Kirstin Arndt

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

Artist Kirstin Arndt
Lives in Düsseldorf, Germany

How do you describe your own art practice?

My way of looking and thinking is phenomenological. I understand my work as experimental, open-ended and the artworks are a result of my reflections, research and experimentation. The work process includes both planned and targeted interventions as well as chance-based (guided chance) actions.

Which question or theme is central in your work?

States – possibilities of being in space.

Wrestle and release – I consider these actions in my work and choose the materials accordingly or, I work in series or modules. The acts of wrestle and of release must occur again and again until a moment is achieved where these phases are completed; where concepts, their realisation, materiality and form unite in a perfect state in space. This state can be an end point but often this state exists only for a limited period of time and in relation to spatial conditions which can alter the works’ shape.  With my “LED works”, for example, I react to the conditions of the environment in which they are exhibited. The dimension of the installation reflects the scale of the wall on which the work is located, thus transforming a materialised surface/area into a linear, luminous structure.

My interests in quantum physics, meteorite impacts, volcanic eruptions, minerals and archaeology – especially in cave paintings, sculptural works and early tools compliment my reflections and investigations.

Our human existence is based on matter/materia and energy. Nature, as well as the environment that we humans create, the space, the things, structures, can be retraced to point-shaped, linear or two-dimensional basic structures. From this, I begin my artistic work.

I use simple materials and forms:
– punctiform (e.g. plaster, cement, sand, etc.)
– linear (e.g. yarn, rope, wooden sticks, metal rods, tubes, etc.)
– flat (e.g. plates, boards, textile sheets, tarpaulins, foils, etc.)

By applying energy (labour or machine power), I transfer these basic materials from their original dimensions and useful purpose into a reconstructed form that reactivates the environment they occupy.

Further areas of interest that derives from this are:
– connections, linkages, knotting, interweaving, net structures and relationships
– changes of dimension, increasing and decreasing the occupation of space
– foldings, curvatures, bends
– expansion/extension, stretching, compressing

Through my experimentations manipulating materials or objects, I explore their potentials and limits. I am interested in materials’ statics, their positional possibilities, their qualities in space and how, taken all together, that can alter an environment.

I often relate my work to the architecture of the exhibition spaces and their internal spatial structures. In addition to investigations of material properties and formability, I’m interested in the process of form-finding, which is essentially determined by guided chance, gravity and the inherent law of the material. If colour also comes into play, that becomes part of my investigation into its effect on the space/environment.

And, I develop series with similar or even identical modules which allow me to examine the relationships of the elements to each other and/or in relation to the space or architecture. The spatial effect of the same elements on different walls is unique so different elements of these constellations become evident.

What was your first experience with art?

As it so often is, my first experience with art happened in childhood. When I was 5 or 6, my father took me to a local art exhibition – nothing special, but I was excited about painting itself. Back home my father gave me a catalogue by Picasso and I remember that I thought, I’m able to do this too… So I started copying his Cubist technique using markers on paper, but I changed the subject and the colour shades – his female portraits were replaced by cats and vases with flowers.

What is your greatest source of inspiration?

This is a difficult question because, obvious as it sounds, all or everything – life! Inspiration is always near. It comes in many unanticipated forms – fresh or rotten strawberries, music, a poem or a conversation between customers at the petrol station while refuelling the car…

What do you need in order to create your work?

Time and a quiet space with a high ceiling – for thinking.

What work or artist has most recently surprised you?

It changes – there are so many excellent contemporary and older artists. Recently, the contemporary Irish art scene has caught my interest, for example works by Niamh O’Malley, Aleana Egan or Niamh McCann as well as Nina Cannell, Edith Dekyndt or Thea Djordjadze. Bruce Nauman always surprises me, but my interest is also excited by the work of Charlotte Posenenske and the late works of Robert Ryman and I should also mention Michel Francois, Anne Imhof, Eva Hesse, Thomas Hirschhorn, Norbert Kricke, Gordon Matta Clark, Gary Kuehn, Steven Parrino, Jason Rhoades, Roman Signer, Jessica Stockholder, Tatjana Trouvé, Rosemarie Trockel, …

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