When Hamburg-based artist and textile designer Katharina Trudzinski decided to take a second residence in Berlin this spring, she found an inexpensive live-work space on the fringes of the up-and-coming Neuköln neighborhood — the city’s equivalent of Bushwick, Brooklyn — and saved two months’ rent by promising the landlord she’d renovate. But it was imagination, not thrift, that inspired her next move: After stripping the wood paneling from the walls and ceilings and tearing down a few ill-conceived door frames, she began painting the detritus and incorporating it into her sculptural installations and high-relief paintings. Made from constellations of scraps, street finds, and everyday junk cloaked in perfectly calibrated hues, her work — some of which becomes inspiration for the pieces in her clothing line — is meant to dialogue with its surroundings. “It’s not my intent that the materials should be cheap, I just like to use things that are around me,” she says. “I like to start with what I’ve got.”
While Trudzinski has moved the majority of her art studio to Berlin, whose eastern half is still conveniently piled high with unwanted flotsam left behind by rapid modernization, her fashion label Hui-Hui remains in Hamburg. She started it with her sister and a friend in 2004 while they were studying fashion design and she textiles, and the line between it and her art practice regularly blurs. Her sculptures, like a recent plywood totem inspired by the Memphis Group and ice cream cones, are sometimes integrated into sets for Hui-Hui’s elaborate lookbook shoots, and her paintings often go on to become scarves, jackets, and jewelry. But the effect also works in reverse, albeit in a more subtle way: Many of those paintings are concerned with materiality, and how objects like toothpicks, popsicle sticks, or wood cuts can evoke the qualities of a fabric’s surface or a pattern traditionally associated with textiles.
When Sight Unseen visited Trudzinski in her new home studio in Berlin, there was precious little to see. She had just put up a piece in a local boutique called Nr.4 — which also carries clothes by Hui-Hui — but she prefers to do nearly all the construction for her installations on-site. The label’s upcoming presentations in Tokyo and Paris, plus the apartment renovation, had also delayed her from getting a proper start in her new digs, and then there was the cruel fate our Canon S90 suffered when it was dropped to the floor mid-shoot. But we still appreciate the chance to introduce our readers to a truly multidisciplinary artist, and to offer a glimpse at her many-layered practice.
When he was an art student in the '80s — in Kassel first, and then Berlin — Markus Linnenbrink worked primarily with grays and blacks. “I had no idea what to do with color,” he admits. “And honestly, I was a little afraid of it.” Which is ironic, considering that for more than a decade, the German-born, Brooklyn-based artist has built a body of work that centers around thick streaks of color — painted in stripes on gallery walls, poured in puddles on the floors of art-fair booths and installations, and dripped in lines down the face of his canvases. “Somehow a field trip to Italy where we spent three weeks painting outside got me into the idea of color, but I had a long period where I would mix, like, red and green. I feel like I had to walk through a lot of dirt and mud to get to the brightness.”
Clemence Seilles was only four months into a job at Jerszy Seymour's Berlin studio when she started to feel it: that restlessness creatives invariably get when they're unable to fully express themselves. It's not that the job wasn't fulfilling — it was, and more — but working fulltime meant Seilles hadn't yet found a way to devote attention to her own projects. "I had this idea to make a piece that would do the work for me, something that would happen when I wasn't there," she recalls. One morning she hung a few felt-tip pens from the ceiling of her apartment, their tips pressed down against a sheet of Chinese rice paper, and left for Seymour's studio. "When I came back that evening, the work was made."
It's funny to hear Esther Stocker talk about reading between the lines. The Vienna-based painter is known for manipulating spatial geometry using the framework of the grid — both on canvas and in her trippy 3-D installations — until the mind starts making linear connections that aren't really there, trying to find order in the optically illusive chaos. But that's not what Stocker's referring to. She's talking about Charles Schultz's Peanuts.