TATE: Standing with one's back to Utopia - Katja Strunz

By Charlotte Klonk

Charlotte Klonk visits Katja Strunz in her Berlin studio and hears how the early influence of Robert Smithson and his interest in entropy has fed into her sculptures and drawings.


 Artists continue to move to Berlin at an amazing rate. A British gallery director on a recent visit told me that he thought Kreuzberg today is like SoHo was in the 1960s and 1970s. Katja Strunz’s studio is here, in one of the area’s many disused industrial buildings that have been taken over by artists, architects and designers. The spaces above and across from her are rented by Anselm Reyle and Uwe Henneken, artists she has known since her student days. The three met when they studied in Karlsruhe in the 1990s. They moved to Berlin together, joined the same gallery, Giti Nourbakhsch – and left at the same time, a few years later. Although they have gone in different directions, their work shares a playful appropriation of some of modernism’s key forms and themes. Henneken’s paintings, for instance, echo Surrealism, while the stick on strips in Reyle’s hard-edged, brightly coloured compositions clearly reference Minimalism. Strunz has become well-known for her neo-Constructivist wall sculptures. Something that the work of all three has in common is the emphasis it gives to the particularity and material qualities of the made object.



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January 1, 2009