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Kathrin Landa Main Profile Image

Kathrin Landa

Berlin/Germany

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Painting • Born in Tettnang/Germany • Studied at Leipzig/Germany
 3

The Painter Kathrin Landa

Kathrin Landa is devoted to portrait painting. She therefore belongs to the great exceptions within contemporary art, which has, despite its return to figuration, widely ignored portraiture so far. In Kathrin Landa’s works, portraiture has been emancipated from the original submission and commitment to the client, and serves as a medium for an independent artistic expression.

Her main interest in her portraits lies in painting...

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Kathrin Landa is devoted to portrait painting. She therefore belongs to the great exceptions within contemporary art, which has, despite its return to figuration, widely ignored portraiture so far. In Kathrin Landa’s works, portraiture has been emancipated from the original submission and commitment to the client, and serves as a medium for an independent artistic expression.

Her main interest in her portraits lies in painting itself. Regardless of the accurate reproduction, Kathrin Landa first of all deals with shape, color, and complexion – the highly complicated tonality and plasticity of the body’s surfaces. This is anything but painting just for the sake of painting, but rather about the creation of animated portraits that develop their own life beyond the randomness of the moment, a life that at best outlives the motif and can be experienced again and again. This requires the recipients’ cooperation. Good artists know how to take this into account. If they succeed, a visually based exchange of ideas is developed on several levels. What starts as a dialog between model and painter continues as the viewer’s inner dialog with the portrait. Thus, portraits are multiple offers to perceive people: through the eye of the painter, by the view of the depicted, or through the perspective of the one who seeks a relation to both in his very own way. Such portraits develop a strong presence in the long run.

Kathrin Landa meets this requirement like almost no other artist, and therefore ranks, not without reason, as a major painter. Without intending to be narrative, her portraits time and again generate virtually literary characters whose silent energy makes us perceive a sort of breathing that necessarily draws our attention to her pictures. Born in Tettnang in 1980, Kathrin Landa spent her childhood and youth in the Upper Swabian towns of Ravensburg and Weingarten. She studied at the Akademie für Bildende Künste Mainz under Friedemann Hahn, and at the Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig under Sighard Gille, where she later also became a master class student of Annette Schröter’s. Given additional studying abroad at the École des Beaux Arts in Lyon, her artistic education has been more than thorough, making her a master of her craft.

Without a doubt, Landa’s artistic concept has been influenced by the meanwhile legendary New Leipzig School. This is characterized by a figurative and yet abstract approach to painting, a kind of painting that is capable of initially perceiving the body as an unknown form comprised of recesses and curvatures and surfaces, as an event of nuanced plays of light, shadow and color, which still lives beyond the obligations of function and definition. Even if man is the focus of her art: Kathrin Landa does not intend to create photorealistic replications but to reflect the artist’s perceptive view of the model in the intensity of artistic expression. This means: animating matter, painterly presenting a personality. In this process, Kathrin Landa is interested in painting’s very own phenomena, resulting in two different readings of her pictures, wherein both the joy in painterly explorations and the interest in knowing man – which constitutes her art – are found.
The pictures do not want to be spectacular, which they are for this very reason. They create, by sensitively balanced compositional means, the illusion of an unobtrusive and yet highly authentic presence of the depicted persons. The latter are often gazing vaguely into space. The backgrounds are mere allusions, intentionally missing details. This leaves space for interpretation. But even without looking right back at the viewer, the portraits trigger an almost uncomfortable sympathy. We start making speculations about the model’s fate, assign him or her a story that might be guessed but is yet mostly fed from our own experiences. Thus, Kathrin Landa makes us narrators of a strange and yet close life.

This is based on a complex artistic process. Portrait painting is a long and carefully unfolding way to the picture. One could write a paper only on the choice of the models, not all of whom are from the artist’s personal environment. Kathrin Landa regards it a special task to invite unknown persons she is interested in into her Berlin studio for an artistic examination, which enables a purely artistic approach that is beyond the usual expectations connected to commissions. This is no longer about this one person, but about man himself, a certain degree of transcending time. Artistic success means for Landa to transpose this momentum into the picture.

The way there every time starts all over again. After intensive talks, different poses of the model are tried out. The preliminary drawing on the canvas delivers the crucial guideline for the painting. The painting process lasts weeks and months. Kathrin Landa models and modulates with colors, layers are added, overpaintings emphasize features, other things vanish. In this way, the work gradually becomes apparent as the sum of painterly decisions. Every picture reveals the painter’s passion for her subject: the exploration of the nuances of the flesh tint, the careful balancing of the color fields and their well-orchestrated mixture. Kathrin Landa feels the tension when she approaches the point where more painting would actually make the picture less complete. So many a passage remains open. The visible traces of the painting process correspond to a logic that strives for absolute honesty and does not conceal anything. Kathrin Landa does not deceive us. She has no need for idealization or staging, just as little as for accessories and costumes. Therefore, the people in her pictures are always completely in touch with themselves and in their own time that does not agree with artificial finery. The pictures owe their life to painting itself – to the semi colors, the lightening and darkening, the peculiarities of the shades between ochre, turquoise and grey. In short: Kathrin Landa is a true painter.

© Martin Oswald

In the studio, Berlin, 2016, Foto: Jörg Rauter

In the studio, Berlin, 2016, Foto: Jörg Rauter

Kathrin Landa, red face, 20x20 cm, 2017, oil on linen

Kathrin Landa, red face, 20x20 cm, 2017, oil on linen

fluorescent pink ––– 120x90cm ––– 2016 ––– oil-acryl on linen/Öl-Acryl auf Leinen

fluorescent pink ––– 120x90cm ––– 2016 ––– oil-acryl on linen/Öl-Acryl auf Leinen

warm-cold, 40x40cm, 2016, oil on linen

warm-cold, 40x40cm, 2016, oil on linen

in the bathroom 6 (Katja as Ophelia)/Im Bad 6 (Katja als Ophelia) ––– 20x20cm ––– 2009 ––– oil on linen/Öl auf Leinen

in the bathroom 6 (Katja as Ophelia)/Im Bad 6 (Katja als Ophelia) ––– 20x20cm ––– 2009 ––– oil on linen/Öl auf Leinen

party (man with red lips)/party (Mann mit roten Lippen) ––– 60x50cm ––– 2008––– oil on linen/Öl auf Leinen

party (man with red lips)/party (Mann mit roten Lippen) ––– 60x50cm ––– 2008––– oil on linen/Öl auf Leinen

after being out/nachdem ich ausgegangen bin, 24x30cm, 2008, oil on linen/Öl auf Leinwand

after being out/nachdem ich ausgegangen bin, 24x30cm, 2008, oil on linen/Öl auf Leinwand

In the studio, Leipzig, 2011

In the studio, Leipzig, 2011


EXHIBITIONS

SOLO

2014

Kopf und Baum, Städtische Galerie Markdorf, Germany

2013

Sehnsucht, dieselbe. Städtische Galerie Weingarten, Germany

GROUP

2015

Romeo Echo Alpha Lima, Kunstquartier Betanien Berlin, Germany

Die bessere Hälfte-Malerinnen aus Leipzig, Kunsthalle der Sparkasse Leipzig, Germany

WORKS IN COLLECTIONS

Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig, Germany

SØR Rusche, Berlin, Germany

PUBLICATIONS

AWARDS

2015 Kulturpreis der Städte Ravensburg und Weingarten (Förderpreis)

EDUCATION (detailed)

2003-2009 Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst Leipzig


For more information and inquiries about this artist, please contact Artitious by emailing to artist@artitious.com

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