Title: Katrin Koenning
Director/DOP: Peter M Lamont
Music: Peter M Lamont
Description: Interview with Australian Photographer Katrin Koenning as she prepares for her exhibition Dear Chris at Edmund Pearce Gallery.
Chasing the light is what we do. Light reveals what is and what isn’t. Light tells the story. Quite literal interpretations have become, to me, a hallmark of Katrin Koenning’s story-telling and none is more evident – indeed literal – than Lacuna 13:20, a photo-essay about the express train of life as it passes through a sliver of light that only appears at 1:20pm each day at a certain time of year.
My own experience of Katrin was at Melbourne’s highly-regarded photographic gallery Edmund Pearce at the opening of her new show Dear Chris. I realised at once the power of collections of work as the narrative and with Katrin’s work grouped in (let’s call them) tales – smaller parts of a larger story – a plainly bigger picture is clear, and scary.
We’re all casual visitors to the artist’s mind. We (well I then) look at work which may or may not be the expression of an idea by the artist and I try to understand the message, or I just admire the technique, or sometimes I just go for another glass of Gallery wine. The story doesn’t often get told – perhaps there wasn’t one. But in this case, with Dear Chris, there is.
Dear Chris is reconciliation of effects, of events, times and thoughts, assembled using photography as a way to visualise the very many (often conflicted) emotional states when a friend takes their own life. Knowing the story I find the work painful and in that, it is immensely compelling.
Acquiring a work from this show is like smuggling home a piece of stone from the Colosseum. Sitting in my home on a wall, I can look at it and remember not what it is, but what it represents. It’s a powerful reminder about things we shouldn’t forget so easily. Is all art like that? Perhaps not, but good art is.
Katrin Koenning is a German born, Melbourne, Australia-based photographer now represented by the Edmund Pearce photographic gallery in Swanston Street Melbourne.