Kerstin Weichsel / Conceptual Artist
Asked to characterize her installations, object art, interventions and photographs, artist Kerstin Weichsel, who lives in Berlin, would call them “visual poetry“.
Here she focuses on the “language of things”: thematically intensifying arrangements of visual material and other found objects from a large variety of contexts. Kerstin Weichsel creates an art that lends a philosophical or socio-critical dimension to everyday experiences and observations. “It is my wish and intention to touch people and create uneasy ambiguos feelings, an intuition that senses the need for clarity. Step by Step” (Kerstin Weichsel).
She graduated from Heatherly School of Fine Art, London, before obtaining her BA Hons. in Fashion Design from Central St. Martin’s School of Art in London. She has worked in Italy as a fashion designer for international prêt-à-porter and haute couture houses. In Italy Kerstin Weichsel produced her own avant-garde swimsuits and jerseywear collection `Sensation´—one-size-fits-everybody—and also taught fashion design at the I.E.D. / Istituto Europeo di Design in Rome. Today Kerstin Weichsel lives in Berlin where she has worked as a costume and set designer at children and youth theaters and for film productions. She also conceived numerous adventure-based learning workshops for the integration of children with psychomotor disorders. As a stylist Kerstin Weichsel worked for publicity and PR campaigns of regional and international companies as well as for a number of periodicals.
Her stylings for art productions have been shown in cooperation with the photographer Olaf Martens since 1999 at solo and group exhibitions in Germany and abroad, such as “Der schräge Blick” (“Looking Aslant”) Goethe Institute / International Photo Biennial _ Rotterdam 2000 (s), “Fotografien aus Mitteldeutschland” (“Photographs from Central Germany”) Old Post Office _ Berlin 2001 (s), “Von Körpern und anderen Dingen / Deutsche Fotografie im 20. Jahrhundert” (“On the Body and Other Things / German Photography in the 20th Century”) _ Museum Bochum_ Bochum; House of Photography Moscow _ Moscow; German Historical Museum / I.M. Pei Building _ Berlin; City Gallery Prague _ Prague 2003 / 2004 (g), “Träume, Welten, Hintergründe” (“Dreams, Worlds, Backgrounds”) Grassi Museum of Applied Art / Interim _ Leipzig 2004 (s), “Heimat und Tapeten – Ikonische Betrachtungen” (“Home Country and Wallpapers—Iconic Considerations”) Art Forum _ Halle 2007 (s).
In 2001 Kerstin Weichsel was the artistic director for the multimedia exhibition `HOMO@HABITAT—The Evolution of British Lifestyle Design´ and developed 10 installations central to the theme featuring fashion, interior design, product design and new media. `HOMO@HABITAT´ has appeared at the Hadrian’s Temple _ Rome 2001 and at the National Gallery of Modern Art _ Prague 2002. The exhibition displayed a man-made world that goes far beyond man’s needs and that he (or she) is completely unable to cope with. The show was organized by the London-based British European Design Group / BEDG.
In the sweeping photo series `TRUST PINK!´ that was the result of a journey to the Herero of Namibia in 2009, Kerstin Weichsel expanded her analysis of “what things are we?” Looking into any of their dwellings made it abundantly clear that the globalization of products has arrived here as well. No place, nowhere is sufficiently far away to escape this reality. “REALITY—a process on wheels. You want to run away from it, but it’s already there before you, rolls all over you to get at the next guy: intrusive, spic and span, relentless, absurd and consistent. Trust pink!” (Quotation: Petra Hornung, 2010).
In 2012 Kerstin Weichsel started the art campaign `FACEANDBOOK.ME´ to comment on the compulsive veneration of fashion, beauty and irresponsible consumerism in general. Resistance is futile, isn’t it?
Since 2015, in cooperation with the BEDG, Kerstin Weichsel has been the artistic director of AFRIQUE AUTHENTIQUE—AUTHENTIC AFRICA (INDIGO Project)—Safeguarding West Africa’s Craft Inheritance: a textile slow-down initiative in Burkina Faso. In 2016 the artist participated at the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial. As stop-motion video she put together about 500 documentary and scenical photographs specifically for the theme of the Biennial: “Are We Human?” / “Biz İnsan mıyız? The Design of the Species: 2 seconds, 2 days, 2 years, 200 years, 200,000 years“.