Ethna would like to extend a warm invitation to attend the 6th talk in the second series of ‘Beyond the Ring’ by Catrine Val.
The German artist Catrine Val premieres staged photoworks around the neglected canon of women in philosophy. By choosing philosophy, and by linking the past to the present, Val’s project posits a renewed interest in humanitarian values and the production of knowledge as a counter-position to the interaction of science, economy and politics, which tends to be a domineering influence in contemporary culture.
Val’s ‘reenactments’ merely suggest opinions on the philosophers and thinkers included, who have had a particular impact on the development on her project, exposing ambivalences between theory and reality. The photos embody these philosophical role models in associative fictional images. Regardless of philosophical and scientific movements the basic questions about the nature of humanity were – what is man? – always formulated by men. As a contemporary interpretation of traditional philosophic thinking, „Philosophers“ takes advantage of the of the iconographic approach of the current media discourse and exposes the effects of individualism and technicality on the positioning of the modern man within his natural environment. To demonstrate the vulnerability of the under-representation of the most comprehensive male truths of the spirit, she represents all the few surviving images of the most important philosophers.
By laying the artistic focus on philosophy and staging it contemporarily, a self-reflexive search is intended, integrating the cultural and historical positions of philosophy as starting points and references, interpreting it and challenging it artistically. In an effort to nuance both the questions and the answers, the conceptual task of this project is to celebrate the presence of independent female thinkers, reformers and mystics, through time and to reimagine their appearance in Europe.
Val’s earlier monographic project FEMINIST hovered between the realms of fashion and performance, critique and parody. The photographs address the pressure to conform to sexual, societal and cultural stereotypes, indexed to commodity fetishism and over-consumption. FEMINIST is most definitely not merely post-feminist self-adulation set in a private microcosm; rather, it functions entirely in line with Jean-Paul Sartre’s assertion that man is condemned to be free and has to reinvent himself as a human being every day.
FEM!NIST, published by Kehrer Verlag in 2012, was nominated for the german Fotobuchpreis 2013.
‘Philosophers’ continues her large scale and elaborately staged photographic tableau. It emphasises the historical presence and absence of women to step beyond discursive postmodern modes of reasoning to speculate, or propose, as the artist does, on a renewed language for thinking.
About the artist
Born in Cologne/Germany
Val started out her career in Vienna/Austria working in the field of advertising, as a commercial artist. Feeling unfulfilled in this profession, Val fled to the arts, beginning the course of studies at the Art Academy in Kassel/Germany. She eagerly persued her studies there. Upon successful completion of her BA, Val attended post-graduate studies at the Kunsthochschule für Medien in Cologne. Graduating from there, she worked for as an assistant lecturer to Bjørn Melhus at the Art Academy in Kassel, in the field of virtual reality, where she further developed her artistic position.
About Beyond the Ring
‘Beyond the Ring‘ is an informal set of artists’ talks/presentations/performances by international artists based in Berlin and visiting artists passing through. They will take place in a studio in Walterstr. 30, Neukoelln. ‘Beyond the Ring’ is there to provide the opportunity for people to meet and share their thoughts, ideas and work. If you’re interested in joining in, you will see that there is life Beyond the Ring in Berlin.
For a place, RSVP Ethna at firstname.lastname@example.org.