Kathrin Schiffbauer

geboren 1965 in Essen, lebt und arbeitet in Köln

1986-1987     Accademia di Belle Arti, Rom
1988-1994     Kunstakademie Münster
1991-1993     Städelschule, Frankfurt a.M., Raimer Jochims
1994             Diplom, Kunstakademie Münster
                    Meisterschülerin von Ulrich Erben

1987     Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venedig
1994     Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, Maine USA
1996     Senat für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kultur, Berlin
2003     Künstlergut Prösitz
2004     Goldrausch Künstlerinnenprojekt Art IT


2005     City Rumble, Overgaden- Institut für Gegenwartskunst, Kopenhagen, DK
            Raumflucht, Künstlerhaus Dortmund
2004     Golrdausch 2004, Kunstraum Kreuzberg / Künstlerhaus Bethanien Berlin
            Modell für Grimma, Klosterkirche Grimma
2003     U 9 Zwischendeck, permanente Installation mit Zeichnungen
2002     U 15 Installation, Installation mit Zeichnungen, Kurfürstendamm Berlin
            Feuerstreifen, Reservoir V-Pyrotektura, Wasserspeicher Berlin
            Die Ausstellung, Kunsthaus Essen
2001     Untergrund, Kulturhaus Schöneberg
2000     andere Umstände, Kulturhaus Schöneberg
1999     Künstlerische Entwürfe für den U-Bahnhof Alexanderplatz, Berlin
            mit Catrin Otto, Jürgen Baumann, Ruudi Beier, NGBK Berlin
            machs gut Mensch, Zeitschrift Die ZEIT, Kunstverein Schwerte
1998     Lucy, Menschen im Bad, Stadtbad Neukölln, Berlin
1998     New Nasuby Gallery, Tsuyoshi Ozawa, Asian Fine Arts Factory, Berlin
            Aggregatzustand-simple construction-, Umspannwerk Berlin
1997     Alpraum, empty rooms e.v., Berlin
1996     Paintallation, Kabinett Kunsthaus Essen
            Arbeiten auf Papier, empty rooms e.v., Berlin
1995     Kühlkammer, Kunstfabrik am Flutgraben, Berlin
            Vorhang, Städtische Ausstellungshalle am Hawerkamp Münster
            Galerie Münsterland Emsdetten
            Galerie Forum Alte Werft, Papenburg
1994     Skowhegan School of Painting, USA
            Kunstakademie Münster
1993     Städelschule Frankfurt
1988     Spuren, Galerie Kosmos Essen
1987     Galeria Nuova Internazionale, Rom


Kathrin Schiffbauer situates her artistic interventions in peripheral locations. The sites used are often marginal or neglected spaces. These could be passageways, storage or loading areas. In all cases, the sites have a significant connection to the urban, socio-economic texture of the surrounding area. They often have undergone changes of use. Kathrin Schiffbauer directs the gaze
to spaces off the beaten track, picking apart and exposing their history, finding connotations and even hidden agendas.

Kathrin Schiffbauer’s work is always site-specific. The placing, content and form of her work are intrinsically entwined together, making her interventions the opposite of ‘drop sculptures’. She makes large, three-dimensional drawings to comment upon and alter the public spaces or urban sites, re-working their dense fabric of changes in use and meaning.

Kathrin Schiffbauer approaches any chosen location like an archaeologist. She collates past uses, significant tools, and architectural changes. Research into each site’s history and present status yields visual imagery, which is then developed into collages and large-scale models. She describes her mode of working as ‘creating drawings the viewer can walk into’. Architectural features are juxtaposed with cut-out-drawings depicting fictional elements of a location’s past and present use. Traces of human habitation are visible, tools and clothing are strewn about, but the owners seem to have just left.

The installations are temporary. The fragility of the materials employed conveys this: they are large cutouts of paper or cardboard, that are drawn upon with broad charcoal- or brushstrokes to show smudge marks and other traces of production. The drawings are mostly black and white, with a focused and sparse use of color. Reduced to their characteristic features, the drawings provide an element of dead-pan humor.

The interdependency of actual space and cut-out drawings playfully contradict traditional notions of perception. Kathrin Schiffbauer fuses two seemingly contrary methods for rendering spatial perspective. Actual, ‘real’ space is treated as if it were a flat surface, imposing a law of linear perspective, the focus on a vanishing point; obversely, ‘flat’ drawings are positioned as if they were bodily objects. In addition, the installations employ frequent changes of scale and varying points of view.

The cut-out-drawings often depict objects hugely enlarged or shown from a child’s perspective. This multi-dimensional approach contributes to the impression of a three-dimensional scene laid out as in a comic strip. Even so, there is no linear narrative, so any “stories” are created only in the mind of the observer. Kathrin Schiffbauer unfolds each site-specific installation like a stage onto which the observer is invited to step. The space is presented as a storyboard-set, and the viewer is invited to explore a real and simultaneously imaginary site.

Hannah Kruse