In the studio: Katharina Stadler
Düsseldorf-based artist Katharina Stadler is not one for time-wasting. Absence of any kind of WIFI in her studio, Katharina starts the process of bringing together her canvases without any potential distractions. Much like building, she works on bringing together various elements that go on to become a painting: From sewing to dying, to stitching to painting – the process is one that steadily evolves. Next month, she will open a solo show of works on paper that she says ‘function like a visual diary for me’.
SSM: What’s your earliest memory of experiencing art?
KS: I still remember an exhibition that I saw in Vienna in 2004 (when I was nine years old) very clearly. It was curated by Mike Kelley and was called The Uncanny. As the title suggests, it was a bit intimidating but also exceptionally exciting and totally new to me.
SSM: How has your work changed since graduating the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in 2021?
KS: For me, it's the first time to work alone in a studio since working at the academy until I graduated. I didn’t expect to notice such a big difference but it's way more focussed and productive.
SSM: Can you tell us a bit about a typical day in your studio?
KS: Every day is different but most of the time I purely work at the studio, I don’t waste much time doing other things than painting, sewing or building the canvases. I don’t have WIFI there or other things that distract me. Sometimes, I listen to audiobooks or podcasts while I work.
SSM: City or nature?
KS: Probably city.
SSM: Your new works are made by stitching pieces of canvas together. When did you start working in this way, and can you tell us how it came about?
KS: I used to paint on unstretched canvases and other textiles like satin back in 2016/2017 and I was not completely happy with the results. I like to work on the textile first and not prime it like it is recommended for classical painters that paint with oil and so on. So I did that for a while and for the annual Rundgang in 2019 I decided to show an unstretched, stitched work: I painted with ink and acrylics on satin.
And there was a specific incident that happened one day before opening an exhibition in 2018, which was called Warm Blood. I wanted to show an unstretched, painted canvas and was unhappy with the structure of the painting because I didn’t cut the fabric straight in the first place. So I thought it would be a good idea to cut it straight. Afterwards, my painting looked terrible. It was square all of a sudden and it didn’t look like the painting anymore. At that time I didn’t have a sewing machine, so I decided to have a night shift and sew it by hand (the painting was quite big). When I was finished, I looked at this seam like a scar that just belongs to the painting now.
P.S.: I'm aware that artists like Oscar Murillo, Blinky Palermo or Joe Bradley used similar techniques before me, but to be honest, it was a very natural process and it definitely wasn’t adapting a certain style. Just to be clear.
SSM: What was the source of inspiration for the works that are currently being shown on Super Super Markt?
KS: I imagine the combination of colours for quite a while before I start painting. I imagined the yellow and blue, the orange and pink, the metallic green and the purple. I just imagine the colours until I want to start mixing them IRL.
People Always Look Better In The Sun, 2023
Acrylic on cotton (stitched)
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SSM: Is there a colour you dislike most?
KS: All colours are beautiful.
SSM: Can you tell us what you’re currently working on?
KS: I am working on my next solo exhibition that opens in March. The title is TT.MM.JJJJ which refers to a non-specific date of the year. The exhibition is mainly about my works on paper that function like a visual diary for me.
SSM: One thing you cannot live without while in your studio?
KS: My grandmother gave me a folding bed for my studio and it’s the best thing ever.
SSM: Is there a work from art history that best describes your personality?
KS: I love the small, text based paintings of Betty Tompkins. They are feminist and that is what I identify with.