Caught In The Trunk

After spending 11 years in Leipzig studying art, German artist Käthe Bauer now calls the eastern part of Berlin home. Not even the boom and hype of Neo Rauch, who is one of the top paid German artists and was a professor at the acclaimed Leipziger Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst at the time of her studies, could hold the attention of this vibrant and vivacious artist. The superstar artist Rauch, according to Käthe, was “too realistic” for her artistic taste and she prefered to veer in another direction artistically. Fast forward a couple of years and Käthe is now an active member of the more progressive RAW Tempel artist association and one of the highlights of the current exhibition “I Like it Raw” at Epicentro Art Space.

As I walk into the gallery space, I catch Käthe with her half shaved head and spikes in her ears posing in various flexible positions, interacting with her artwork, as berlin-artparasites photographer Chris Phillips snaps shots of the spunky artist. Her smile and laugh are contagious as she welcomes me to the “I Like it Raw” exhibition that showcases 19 highly impressive Berlin-based (Friedrichshain-based, to be exact) talents. Five large and small abstract paintings of Käthe brighten up the room with pastel-colored remnants of strange animalistic objects. 

Eggs Aren’t Only For Breakfast

“For this one, I used sand combined with an egg emulsion mixture to get the right texture” Käthe explains walking us through the artistic technique of her large painting with a creature that somehow resembles a whale – although I am not quite sure why. The work, like many other artworks of Käthe’s is untitled – the reason for not adding a title or label to her work is that she wants readers to “discover a picture more intuitively, so that different meanings float around the artworks.” Most of her older artworks have actually be re-used and totally transformed, including this whale-like piece, but this time the piece is “finally done” she assures me. Another work, which resembles an owl with extensive limbs, is also finally finished.

Käthe Bauer ArtworkKäthe Bauer’s “Untitled” art work on display at Epicentro Art Space in Berlin. Photo: Chris Phillips 

Unfortunately this past year has been a bit tough for this active and determined artist – although by her positive attitude you would never be able to tell! For about 12 months now, her studio space (as well as that of other’s on her floor) at RAW Tempel has been closed by the Berlin fire safety authorities who proclaim that there is some sort of fire hazard. Unable to pay for the repairs, the artists are currently collecting money to be able to make the needed changes in their working space so that they can continue to access their studios (which they are still paying rent for anyway).

Luckily, the solidarity between the members of RAW Tempel reigns and Käthe is able to work in the studio of her friends. Together, they’re a formidable collective who aim to produce art day and night, while detering gentrification and private investors eyeing their plot of land in Friedrichshain. “Everyone thinks it’s just tourists, alcoholics and clubs here, we want to show them that its different,” proclaims Käthe.

  • Epicentro Art Space “I Like It Raw,” Käthe Bauer and 18 other RAW Tempel artists. October 19th-November 10th 2012: Tues-Sat: 12-6pm. (Price Range of Käthe Bauer’s Artworks at “I Like It Raw”: €380-3400)
Article written by Julie Anne Miranda-Brobeck