It’s ironic that I've frequently found myself at 81 Potsdamer Str. Each time I’ve forgotten to the address but it’s only until I’m in the courtyard of galleries that my memory is triggered by the neighboring boutique's giant (and unforgettable) gold stiletto. I pass Jarmuschek+Partner; the black mazed work of Sabine Banovic’s hanging there tempting me to be lost once again. Walking from the somber corridor, my eyes take time to readjust to just how white the freshly painted walls are. I’m encompassed in the closure of downy wings; a heavenly disorientation. Berlin's director of color, visionary artist Katharina Ziemke, is standing there with startling contrast in a blood red cardigan – it is a murder contained to cashmere.
Katharina Ziemke's work is a loss of control and, like the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde, you know it won't end well. The piece is a Technicolor still shot of a Casablanca white ‘34 Ford skidding on burnt coal gravel; a spray of magenta bullets washes across the car body. Bonnie spills out, her white dress a spectrum of death – Warren Beatty must have suffered as well. Lime green, blood red, orange; colors related to fruit and accident scenes or related to faces and silverware, or water and sunshine. Freedom to Ziemke is the disillusionment of color; a road trip that follows no set route.
It's Just A White Lie
I walk alone; a path of turquoise in a chromatic forest. It’s here that I stumble upon a baptism of color. The dunking of old techniques, memories of our childhoods – a stream that washes away the sins of non-believers all whilst she sings softly a Hymn from the new age manifest of color. The religion is of lighted darkness and her bible is one of black rainbows. This is the moment for my eyes to question the white lies she tells me.
Art Parasites: How do you view colors in the outside world?
Katharina Ziemke: It’s hard for me to speak what is reality and for me this is a real as what I see outside.
APs: I did this when I was young: close my eyes and stare towards a light source, the sun or the bare bulb in our cellar to see the purple octagonal shapes dance before me in my mind’s eye.
KZ: I was often day-dreaming; what is real? People set themselves a second reality because the one we live in is so strange. You cannot get something with rational thinking; art is like this.
It's evident that Ziemke has a passion for films. And while she has multiple choices for directors, she goes into detail about one particular movie scene of a reality-bending movie – Godard's Pierrot le Fou.
KZ: A normal party that is totally immersed in blue. It creates a strange atmosphere but even the fact to go to a party is strange. As I child, my father asked me what color I would like my room. I wanted primer yellow. It was not a happy yellow; it was a strong yellow.
My eyes are the liars; my brain is the poor chump who always agrees. We all live in a strange reality. It's evident Ziemke lives in one my eyes don't believe. While I may not be ready to change my color's religion or to saturate myself in a singular choice, I now have to admit: the questions Ziemke's work has posed to me are answers I don't have.
Article by Tristan Boisvert