The same day that the course manual arrived from The Open College of Arts (OCA) for Textiles for Mixed Media, I visited the solo art exhibition of Katrin Süss.
Her exhibition, Transformed Circles, was held in Los Aljibes, a restaurant and art gallery in the village of Tahiche where I live. Los Aljibes was designed by the artist César Manrique, the gallery space is on two levels and has wonderful natural lighting from huge glass doors at the exit and entry point. The complex of restaurant, brewery, gallery and shop is surrounded by gardens with native plants and seating areas.
Katrin works in mixed media, including paper and steel. Her exhibition leaves Lanzarote on 7 June to make its way to New York, so I wanted to view it before my involvement with the setting up an exhibition that I am involved in, in a few days time, which opens on June 4th. Katrin also has 22 works shown in the Saatchi gallery collection.
We are fortunate to have this calibre of artist, exhibiting on our small island. Katrin’s exhibition was a homily to César Manrique, who, had he not been killed in an accident, would have been 93 this year. My village is where he built his volcanic home/studio and which is now an establishment for the dissemination of the arts. His home/ studio, was built in the 1970s and created out of the volcanic lava tunnels that were left behind after a volcanic eruption on the island in the 18th century. Foundation César Manrique is one the island’s most visited attractions.
Katrin is an artist, graphic designer and lecturer who lives between Dresden and Berlin and was educated a the Academy of Fine Arts and at the College of Design in Berlin. She refers in her manifesto, about this work, that arose out of an extended stay in the village of Haria, in Lanzarote which she referred to as a “..small serene space…” whose appeal is slowly being eradicated by vulgar over development. This sentiment was at the very centre of César Manriques life and work on Lanzarote, he spend much of his later life involved in plans to avoid the advance of high-rise hotels and crude tourist hot spots that have erupted all over Spain.
Some of her three-dimensional circles and spirals were huge sculptures and cast in metal or cardboard and overlayed in white silk, gauze or paper. Other techniques she has used on some of the steel circles is dry point etching of poetry and symbols. The curved shapes and the muted colours made me stop and gaze at the tranquillity and power she had expressed. Each one represents her worldview that the universe strives to create purity and harmony. They reminded me a little of what Kandinsky was showing in his Squares with Concentric Circles in 1913, but his vision was the bold use of colour as well as shape.
Other select pieces from her exhibition were castings to look like the volcanic stones, so visible on the island. However, it was her spirals and circles that captivated me.