Karin Haenlein/ Kerstin Vornmoor: Interview

Karin Haenlein: How do you work ?

Kerstin Vornmoor:  The drawing is the starting position for the picture or room composition. A basic frame. The structure of the drawing dictates the rhythm. The principle of the ‚thinking hand‘ forms the foundation. (Horst Bredekamp, „thinking hands. Considerations regarding the picture art of the natural sciences,spaces of  drawing” ). I consider the image carrier on which the drawing will come into existence and my relationship to it. With the room collages I learn of the history and peculiarities of the space (¬45) then use a screen on which the drawing is exposed - this is a method of using the drawing as a personal stamp. With the room collages I cut out copied drawings and in the second phase I leave the work process that oscillates between the format of the image carrier, the shape of the screen stamp (drawing) and an intuitive inner measuring device, to connect using different means of analysing, process and meditation.

KH : When is the work  ‚finished‘ ? Is it a lengthy process to find an end ?

KV : With the paintings the drying time of the paint is an indicator. I work simultaneously on several exhibits, each printed sometimes with multiple stencils and each product is unique. On the one hand the images are a finished product, on the other it is an intermittent image and an attestation of this process which can be reused in a different way - so to speak, a  ‚work in progress‘. During the course of the work the image carrier can change. In the room installations I work with copies of my work which I display in the room and have recently started using imprinted fabric, which I hang in the space .

KH : What is the relationship between work on paper and canvas ? What role does space play ?

KV : I am interested in places of ancient ritual like temples and also churches or mosques. This theme resonates in my artistic process. With my installations I allow the history of the surroundings to awaken my attention and I consider pictorial analogies. The wall in the room which I work represents a task for me, a task to be solved by the right positioning and gluing of the cut out drawings. Solving means that the structure of the room is changed so that either something new is created or an old theme is brought forth. When painting the task is determined by the volume of the colours. If a lot of colour is pressed by a fine stencil how does this interact with the image. 

I find traces of the creational method stimulating, and screen printing is a particularly suitable method as much can go wrong. My teacher at college Mr.  Werner Büttner had a saying - ‚make your weakness your strength‘. In the picture and installations I work with an individually executed rapport technique.

KH : How does ornamentation interest you ?

KV : Ultimately it is about the origins of abstraction. Sometimes I have created using the juxtaposition of scaled, figurative drawings but have now decided to deal with the ornament directly. Geometric shapes play a major role in the history of ornamentation and abstraction in the Islamic and ancient as well as in the autonomous tablet of the modern world. The repeating of the individual drawings creates unique formations and a principle of endlessness. 

An exert is provided by the limited area of the panel painting. It is important for me to go to the work playfully and not to keep to the mathematical order of the figure, in this way the ornamentation is allowed autonomy.

KH : What does beauty mean to you in relation to art and your artistic works ?

KV : For centuries one of arts main tasks was to give a definition of beauty and over the course of time the concept of beauty has steadily changed. In my opinion the subject of beauty in contemporary art is still a difficult field. The fear that ones own beauty art is regarded as decorative or kitsch is a real one, but there are waves that indicate a change in opinion. Personally, for me beauty lives in the patterns and ornamentation. On my pictures the repetition of geometric shapes in a scheme produces an image and the principle of the series ‚objectified‘ is to relax the view and to find the beauty in ourselves. My view is a feminist view. I dedicated my first book to this subject. („Je n‘ai qu‘une seule amie-Molette-mustergöttinnen“, 1999 ,material-Verlag, Academy of Fine Arts, Hamburg)

KH : For some time now your pictures have been given song titles, what significance do the picture have to the titles ?

KV : In the year 2001/2 as ‚project chanson‘  we made music but the band dissolved after I moved to Berlin. ("Projekt Chanson” were  Karin Haenlein, Felix Pawlas and Kerstin Vornmoor.) Now back in Hamburg the music titles have reemerged as they play a large role in my life. I often listen to the same songs again and again, and therefore situations and feelings are connected to those songs. French chansons I listen to with particular attention which helps my knowledge of the language. The music plays while the work is in production and induces cross linking and a playful attitude, music has the ability to transport and penetrate consciousness.