Having visited Katrin’s joint studio in May as part of the Dulwich Open Studio’s we were really blown away by her work. The tactile nature and ideas were bursting with life, so we got in contact to ask for an interview! Let’s pass it over to the talented Katrin Alberct…
Hello! How would you describe your work in five words?
Sensual, colourful, a deeper meaning that is not seen in the first moment (we decided these words can be one together), joyful and dark.
Your work is striking and bold, playing wonders with the eye and senses through the amazing colour palette and tactile materials used. I particularly love the use of recycled fabric in ‘The Shed is on Fire’. How do you go about starting this project?
There is usually a moment where I get excited about an idea and this doesn’t start the same way in each project. For The Shed Is On Fire, it takes me back to 2007 when I was studying in Berlin. I’d heard about a woman who had been saved from her flat – she had no furniture but purely lived in a nest of fabric. Big piles of fabric! I found this creepy but so fascinating, which led to the idea of building a house of clothes.
From there on I developed the method of producing the fabric bricks, which was not easy. The tactile fabric was an essence I wanted to keep, giving people the initiative to question how the work was created whilst still feeling that it is a very familiar material.
Working towards competitions and your studies, how have you found your work to follow and change over the years?
When I came to do the MA at Goldsmiths I met two other women who had the same ideology that it may be time to pause the creation of object based work, as it was proving tricky to physically store. We created a collective doing performance art together, taking a keen role within feminism going to marches and conferences. Sculpture actually made it’s way back into my working world as I was creating props and costumes for our performances. It was a great combination as I work well with spaces. If you’re planning a performance you have to consider the space! It was great to use this within a group as it had only been produced for me individually before.
After university finished we all went off to do different things, but this has always remained with me and I see it being adapted in my practice as I work on new projects now.
What do you believe is a key element to creating a strong body of work?
You have to be a bit naïve and idealistic and just carry on with what you’re doing!
You’ve shown many great transitions through countries during your creative practice so far, exhibiting within Berlin and Vienna. How have you found your work to be received across the variation of countries, has anything surprised your during the process?
Usually my work is attracting and giving people the opportunity to be openly enthusiastic. If people like sensual things, they are usually attracted as it’s a tactile experience.
There is a difference in countries! In Berlin the art scene is sophisticated and cool, so people tend to keep their enthusiasm closer to their heart. The last show I had was in America at Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, which really had shown a difference in the opening show. It was quite an overwhelming experience, in the best way! People asked me a hole in the tummy, as we say in Germany, they were fascinated with the process and I was continually talking about my practice.
How do you find a balance between working on personal projects, to commissioned or exhibited focused work? Does your creative process often change dependent on the work?
It does! It helps to know who I am producing the work for and for which space. This provides a bit more of a focus, bringing in deadlines and more direction. You begin knowing the spaces and people you are exhibiting alongside, whose work frames yours.
If I sit down and work for myself, with no plans of showing the work, I usually keep a few things going on at the same time and see where they overlap or inspire each other. A bit of creative chaos proves to be very inspiring for me. It can be from collage to sculpture, doing research or even planning a new installation.
There are definitely different working modes dependent on the project.
Tell us something not many people know about you…
I love ironing! You instantly see the success – you glide the iron over the fabric and see the effect straight away (followed by lots of giggles).
What’s next for Katrin Albrecht…
Well a few things! I have an ongoing project, which is a radio soap opera called Affairs. It’s nice that it’s so different, and is actually in collaboration with Marie von Heyl, a friend, from Berlin who is also an artist. We applied for funding and successfully obtained this through the Deutsche Bank Art Award. We produced the first episode last year so now it’s time for the launch! It will be in March 2016, in the Royal Academy. Marie was studying there and we applied for the funding through the RA. Affairs is something to listen to, instead of being seen and for me it is very interesting to observe how spaces and characters take shape in ones own head. The RA is really great when it comes to supporting us with the launch of the radio soap opera.
We’ve scheduled this in for next year as I am having a baby in September!
With my own work I‘m getting into a body of ideas that is concerned with instinct. At the moment it is mainly in my head but I feel and can envisage the concept! I will soon begin to put my ideas into form.
Take a look through the rest of Katrin’s portfolio of eye catching work, through the concepts and ideas she’s produced in the variety of projects right here.
We’re excited to see what concepts she has for ‘Instict’!