Katrin Kampmann (part II)
A few weeks ago I paid a visit to Katrin Kampmann, whose paintings can be found all over the Hotel Concorde. If you missed part I then you can catch up here, if you didn’t and you’ve been counting down the days to part II, then you’re in luck!
So where were we? Ah yes, Katrin had been showing me around her unbearably hot artist’s studio in Mitte – a chaos of half-finished canvases, paintbrushes and dried out pots of colour – before proposing an excursion up onto the roof…
“It’s a shame the staircase is so steep,” Katrin’s voice carries down the metal steps, “otherwise I could entertain up here.” I agree, and wonder how I’m going to get back down without breaking my neck. We reach the door at the top, Katrin unlocks it and we step out into the bright sunlight.
The roof is huge and offers the most fantastic panorama of the city; the famous red brick town hall (das rote Rathaus), the television tower, Park Inn at Alexanderplatz, the old city hall (das alte Stadthaus), not to mention the ruins of the old abbey.
“Do you ever paint up here?” I try to imagine getting an easel up the staircase, “No, but I have presented my work in some weird places.” She tells me about a project she took part in, which involved hiking along the Berliner Höhenweg in Tirol with her paintings strapped onto her back. The canvases contained artwork inspired by representations of life in the mountains found in literature, art and mass media. These were then unstrapped and displayed in various wooden guesthouses along the way.
I ask Katrin why, when she lives in Berlin, nature features so heavily in her work. “Yes, I belong to this absurd group of artists who paint nature scenes despite the fact they live in a big city!” It’s true, but there’s something very urbane about her work too. Perhaps it’s the colours, or the slightly sleep-deprived look of some of her subjects; like Berliners on holiday in the countryside.
Katrin tells me she doesn’t try to send out any particular messages with her artwork, rather she likes the viewer to be able to sink into their own thoughts, to let their mind wander. I find this idea very appealing, particularly in a city like Berlin. Katrin’s artwork is a perfect fit for the Hotel Concorde; vibrant yet not overwhelming, complex yet relaxing.
But it’s time for us to walk, very slowly and carefully, back down so that Katrin can go off to her concert. I thank her for a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and make my way to the U-Bahn.