Katharina Hinsberg is one of those artists who focus on the basic conditions of human perception, tapping into what is obviously an inexhaustible source of experimentation on the back of conscious self-restraint. She primarily concentrates on the line and to do so takes a very fundamental, almost scientific approach.
Everything symbolic is derived from the line but at the same time the line is always the manifestation of an action that takes place in three dimensions. In her various work groups Hinsberg transposes the line from two dimensions into three and in so doing succeeds in visualizing the interdependency of space (volume) and the line (movement) in strong images that make an emphatic impression.
Back in the 1990s she started cutting out first fragments of lines and sticking them onto the wall. Relief-like symbols, these fragile cutouts stand out from the wall, onto which they also cast their shadows, giving rise to the impression that they are bulging out off the surface into three dimensions. Hinsberg calls these perfect little entities which, taken alone, appear almost incidental, découpages, from the French “découper” which means “to cut out”, a description that she elevates to the status of an independent artistic intervention such as that of the collage. In contrast to the latter, here nothing is stuck down; instead, it is the cut alone that takes away the line’s flatness, transposing it into space.
In the interaction of line and spatiality Hinsberg is forever exploring mutually defining interdependencies. In 2004, at Kunstraum Düsseldorf and with her “Lichtes Maß II”, Hinsberg took as her starting point the space’s overall area and converted this into three-dimensional lines. A square sheet of paper was laid on the floor, corresponding in its length and width to the height of the room. This sheet was cut into one single continuous strip with which, starting from one corner, the artist incorporated rectangular cubes into the room, cubes which corresponded as “the floor to ceiling height” with predetermined fields of vision.
Conversely, in 2012 at Kunstverein Ulm in “Fluren (Die Teile und das Ganze)” she divided up the floor into fields which she then converted into vertical wall screens. Kunstverein’s entire floor space was covered with strips of silk paper stuck together in lines that alternated between red and white. Reproduced in paper in this way, the outlines of the floor were then cut up and hung up in the same room as paper banners wafting gently in the air. The room’s basic measurements thus found themselves translated into a brightly colored spatial order, transparently suffused with light.
With all her interventions the continuum of time, the dependency of processes on one another, plays just as important a role as the spatial movement of viewers. There is always a change and a development, a before and an afterwards which, for every individual, adds up to a specific experience.
In 2014, Hinsberg created an impressive installation entitled “Feldern (Farben)” (Fields (colors)) at K20 in Düsseldorf. She decorated a windowless room there with many layers of tissue paper in all kinds of different hues. Viewers were then asked to peel away a layer of paper at random with the help of a rod, revealing the colors underneath. The patterns and color combinations decorating the walls thus changed constantly, until eventually there was nothing left to be seen of the original 74,760 sheets of paper. All that remained was the regular grid pattern made by the nails on the walls. The tissue paper that had been taken down was then taken to the museum’s educational department where it was put to further use.
In parallel to these spatial installations, Hinsberg constantly has large portfolios of individual works in progress, works in which her questioning of the line undergoes impressive modifications. However, even if the initial coordinates usually follow a clear concept which demands regularity and controlled processes similar to those under laboratory conditions, the results entail an exhilarating sense of overwhelming beauty. Her materials contribute to this – she prefers white paper – as does her simple yet precisely calculated approach to them. Cutting, perforating, stacking, layering, crumpling – these are very straightforward kinds of appropriation that Hinsberg uses to allow her viewers to experience the line in new ways and to lend it a physical presence.