Tell us a bit about yourself and your practice, how would you describe the work that you do?
My name is Katharina Fitz and I am an Austrian sculptor and photographer. I moved to Nottingham three years ago where I have been studying a Master of Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University between 2016-2019. Within my practice I mostly use traditional industrial manufacturing processes such as mould making, casting, woodturning and plaster turning, understanding myself as a translator between objects, materials, and process. In my work, I question the hierarchy of objects within the artistic process by exhibiting the mould, the model and jigs together with the cast. Through the use of different techniques, I constantly flip, copy, turn, repeat, and mutate objects. I understand my work as a form of language, constantly translating from one stage to another. In my last project, 'BLOOM' the inclusion of the space has become more important, where the sculptures activate the space and vice-versa. In my installations, I invite the viewer to mentally play and actively decipher the language of the process by combining the different interconnected elements.
Katharina Fitz, 'BLOOM', 2019. Ceramic, plaster, wood, steel, rachet strap
What's the starting point for a piece of work or project?
My practice is always evolving from one project to another. Start and endpoint are very much in a constant conversation. I spend a lot of time in the studio, playing with materials and processes. Sometimes I might be starting a new project without actually realising as the boundaries between one and the other are blurred. To gain a deeper understanding of what is happening in the studio reading cultural theory is of great importance as it helps me to recognise and break down ideas in order to push concepts into new directions. Sometimes a starting point can also be an accident, conversations, or reaching an endpoint through exhaustion. Exhaustion is an important vehicle within my practice as through reaching the limit of something the work opens up to something new and unknown. For example in my project 'Mise en Abyme' where I made a mould of a mould of a mould and so on; Exhausting form created a starting point for my next project 'BLOOM' where I decided to exhaust objects related to space.
Katharina Fitz, Mise en Abyme' (Mould of Mould of....), 2019. Plaster
You're currently included in this year's New Contemporaries - tell us about the work you're exhibiting in that.
I am very excited about the inclusion into this year's New Contemporaries touring exhibition, especially about the selection of my project 'Memory Palace'. I suppose, since I have started working as a sculptor in 2016, this is probably my most important project so far, as it marks the starting point for finding the visual and conceptual language that I still use today. Initially the project was inspired by the vast amount of different chimney pots we find in the English urban landscape, so I started to create models, moulds and casts, but soon after, I realised that I actually was more interested in the relationship between the different objects of process and how I could create a puzzle-like installation to engage the viewer.
What do you want an audience to take away from your work?
By exhibiting the different stages of manufacturing processes I invite the viewer to reflect on the notion of skill and process and their disappearance and loss through the globalised mass-produced object as a consequence of neoliberalism. I also observe a disconnection between the gallery space and the artist studio. By exhibiting objects that are usually discarded from the viewer I want to bring the intimacy of the artist studio into the experience of the viewer. The work is experiential and instead of creating an image to be observed, I am interested in blurring the boundary between the work, the space and the viewer.
Katharina Fitz, 'Memory Palace', 2017. Ceramic, plaster, wood
Which artists working at the moment do you admire?
Puhh... I love so many artists... Here are some of many that come to my mind.
What projects have you got coming up?
Last month I won the One Thoresby Street Production Award. I am very excited about this one, as it is going to be my first solo show. The show is scheduled for May 2020 and I am really looking forward to creating a conversation between the space and my work. Apart from that I will be showing 'Memory Palace' as part of Bloomberg New Contemporaries in December at the South London Gallery and will be part of a group exhibition in Mexico next year.
Katharina Fitz, 'ECHOES', 2018. Ceramic, plaster, wood, silicone, rachet strap