Six Questions

Six Questions: Lena Kemmler


Tique asks six questions to an artist about their work and inspiration.
This week: Lena Kemmler
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Artist Lena Kemmler

Lives in Berlin
Website https://www.instagram.com/lena_kemmler/

How do you describe your own art practice?

I don’t have a routine method, but I think I try to find a visual form to communicate an issue I’m thinking about, trying not to mystify my message and to keep a little humor. I come from a technically painting education, but I’m mixing techniques and media depending on the topic. Right now I’m more into installation art and sculptural objects.

Lena Kemmler - Fleischlandschaft, 2017
4,50 x 7,20 m
paint mixed with pigments and wallpaper paste and acrylic paint on canvas
exhibition view from group exhibition “Vanitas” at Galerie Stephanie Kelly
Photo: Galerie Stephanie Kelly

Which question or theme is central in your work?

I’ve always been interested in morbidity and abjection. I like collecting abject material and I’m intuitively attracted by muddy textures. I investigate the political dimension behind disgust that leads into discrimination against the “deviant”. The central theme in my work is exclusion, isolation and marginalization and I’m using an aesthetic of corporeality, decay and finitude.

Lena Kemmler - Stielaugen, 2021
Steel table, acrylic glas, wooden plate, partly painted latex shapes of knots of trees
exhibition view from solo exhibition “Stielaugen//Stalk Eyes” at Kunsthalle Ost, Leipzig, Germany
Photo: Anna Perepechai

What was your first experience with art?

I never really understood what art is. My surrounding as a kid was not that close to art, so I thought it was more like a character trait. I thought being sensitive and chaotic has something to do with art. And being good in drawing horses for example. I don’t remember any key moment that gave me an idea of art. Until now I experience art as something untouchable and exclusive somehow.

Lena Kemmler - Poster print
(3 x 2m) for solo exhibition “Stielaugen//Stalk Eyes” at Kunsthalle Ost, Leipzig, Germany

What is your greatest source of inspiration?

The feeling of indignation, anger and also vulnerability gives me inspiration. When I try to explain a position and I feel misunderstood I can’t stop thinking about it. I guess compulsive analyzing inspires me. Inspiration for me is not that much of a nice light feeling or aesthetic input that comes to me and gives me creativity, it’s more like an issue I think about trying to solve or at least giving space to get visible. But taking a bath is a good way for me to give my thoughts space. Or waiting… when I missed a train for example.

Lena Kemmler - Stielaugen, 2021
Steel table, acrylic glas, wooden plate, partly painted latex shapes of knots of trees
exhibition view from solo exhibition “Stielaugen//Stalk Eyes” at Kunsthalle Ost, Leipzig, Germany
Photo: Anna Perepechai

What do you need in order to create your work?

A little money, a little pressure and less fear.

Lena Kemmler - Atlas of hate, 2021
latex, pine needles, steel frame
exhibition view from solo exhibition “Stielaugen//Stalk Eyes” at Kunsthalle Ost, Leipzig, Germany

What work or artist has most recently surprised you?

I haven’t been to any exhibition for a long time. I’m mostly sliding through Instagram to watch photos of art. “Surprised” is maybe not the right word, but recently I’ve been touched by the poems of Jesse Darling. And also by the works of my friend Nora Lube, which strengthen my feminist perspectives.

Lena Kemmler - Untitled, 2021
steel, webbing, real hair, synthetic hair, ceramics
exhibition view from solo exhibition “Stielaugen//Stalk Eyes” at Kunsthalle Ost, Leipzig, Germany
Photo: Anna Perepechai

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Tique | publication on contemporary art #3: Six Questions