Berlin-based artist Katrin Bremermann dreams of having a self-designed studio, a space with the perfect balance between wall space, light and perspective. In her recent show Note to Self at Kristof De Clercq, Bremermann explores spatiality in a similar way, as her abstract compositions are no longer limited to the rectangular shape of the traditional canvas, but take on all kinds of shapes. “My work is a permanent visual experiment. It's like a game, an endlessly flowing story.”
Where is your studio located and what does it look like?
My studio is in Berlin and has lots of light. All the windows are on one side and offer fantastic views. Most of the tables are on wheels and I can arrange the space however I want. I enjoy that practical flexibility, with the possibility of an empty space. There is also an area for my tools and workbenches.
What makes the perfect studio for you: lots natural light, nice neighbours, adjacent greenery, lots of storage space?
I am more or less in an industrial area without much greenery. There is sunlight in the space all day long and white floors and walls. It has a fabulous ambience that lets me be calm and concentrated in my bubble. The storage space is in the same building, which is very convenient and allows me to declutter the studio. There is a constant mess, with things scattered on the floor or hanging on the walls, until I sort and select pieces and focus on new developments. I like working alone, though I occasionally meet with colleagues / friends in my studio home.
Katrin Bremermann, Untitled, 2023, Kristof De Clercq gallery
What does a typical day in your studio look like? What time do you start and end your workday? Do you listen to music or like to keep things quiet?
My intention is to work from around 8 am to 3 pm, but I usually start later and end later. But every day is different. It depends on what I’m working on: printing, preparing papers, solving technical problems or simply observing. I really like jazz, though also classical and opera. Most of the time, I am listing to something.
In the past, you’ve described your work in the studio as laboratory-like. What you mean by that?
It’s a permanently visual experiment involving art historical influences, other artists and technical obstacles. Like a game, an endless flowing story with observations and connections. Each piece leads to the next. In the studio, all these things come together. There is lots of trial and error. Like in a lab. Not necessarily knowing what I am looking for until it hits me. I try not to have much of a routine in order to stay alert. I separate the work process to always start fresh each time, to be in the moment, until everything falls into place.
Katrin Bremermann, Note to self, Kristof De Clercq gallery
Your recent show at Kristof De Clercq was called Note to Self. What is it you want remind yourself of or what does that title refer to?
It takes me a lot of time to find a title. I consider all sorts of possibilities based on personal notes and thoughts with enough possibility for interpretation.
I’ve read that poetry and literature are important sources of inspiration for you and that the titles of works are words that interest you or impact you emotionally. Could you tell a bit more about that process?
Music is a great source of inspiration and the way it can make me feel is my greatest joy. The perfect harmony of sounds and when I read something that puts words to a feeling, makes me discover and understand things. It’s about communication, about existing in different ways with others. I also use different materials and processes based on my own rules and create a world that only makes sense to me, offering the freedom I am looking for.
For exhibitions and other titles, I collect words and phrases. I find them everywhere.
I like them to reflect a certain situation or story, rather than explaining anything. I want to invite the observer to look, discover and enjoy, to make it their own.
Katrin Bremermann, Apple, 2023, Kristof De Clercq gallery
You have recently started abandoning the rectangular canvas for canvasses of all kinds of shapes. Why? Did this change occur naturally and was bound to happen at some point or was it more of a conscious decision?
I have been building shaped canvases for a while now, working more like a sculptor than painter. The possibility to work with different shapes evolved gradually. Also, the possibility to discover shapes from an ever-changing perspective and angle. Exploring light, shadows and depths is a welcome challenge.
Art critic-turned-minimalist Donald Judd is mentioned in the show’s press release. I take it that this is no coincidence. Is he among the artists who have influenced you most?
Judd is one of them. There is quite a large group of artists looking over my shoulder in my studio, motivating, encouraging and suggesting solutions until I finally find my own. Artists like Richard Tuttle, Alexander Calder, Agnes Martin, Philipp Guston, Raoul de Keyser and Joan Mitchell…for all kinds of different reasons.
Katrin Bremermann, Luc, 2023, Kristof De Clercq gallery
Suppose you’re at a social event and start talking to someone who’s not into art. How would you explain your work?
I build things using a specific language of shapes and colours on paper with wood and other materials. My work has a presence that makes sense. I seek to reflect simple beauty and calm.
What are you currently working on?
I am preparing for a new exhibition at my gallery Martin Mertens in Berlin with new sculptures. Experimenting with scaling up in size and volume with mono prints and large paper formats. Also, I am planning to build a studio, a perfect space to define, explore wall space, light and perspectives, to create a dream space.
Katrin Bremermann, Chocolate Box, 2023, Kristof De Clercq gallery