Interview with Karoline Bröckel

Léon Mychkine: I’d like to talk with you about your work, and I’ve started to write about some drawing, like the ones about the swallow, and I just wonder: How did this idea came up to you?

Karoline Bröckel: When I started doing arts, I realized that I was interested by movements. So, when I see something that moves in a special way, so you cannot predict where it’s going, then I just try out. Every serie of my drawings start like this. I explore the movement and find out if it is suitable for my way of drawing.

Karoline Bröckel, “o.T. (Schwalbe) [Swallow]” 2016-6-25 Nr1 ArchivNr 0651
LM: OK. What I find quite astonishing in your work is that when you draw the trace, you know, the passage of a bird, you draw something which is totally invisible, because you cannot see the trail of the bird in the air, alright?

KB: That is true that I draw something that can not be seen like this. But as my eyes are following the bird, my hand is drawing the trace on to the paper and it will appear as a line.

LM: Exactly. That’s what I find very interesting in your work. And it goes the same for the ants, for instance, of which you draw the path

KB: Right, it’s the same procedure for the ants, crawling through the garden.

Karoline Bröckel, o.T.(Ameisen) [Ants], 2007 Nr16B5 – ArchivNr0485
LM: OK. And also, about the movements of the branches, when you draw them, you don’t draw the invisible, but the branches, right? 

KB: I would say I follow the movement of the branches.

Karoline Bröckel, “o.T.(Birke)slow” [Slow Birch tree], 2016/6/17 Nr1-Archiv Nr 0058
LM: While I started to write about your work, I realized that to let the people understand what it is, you have to explain it, haven’t you? Because if someone sees one of your drawings we talk about and there is no explanation he can think “Well, that’s another drawing”.

KB: This is an interesting point.

LM: And this is not just one drawing, there is something more behind, you know.

KB: Some people are eager to know what the drawings are about, and some don’t want to know. But most of them want to have, at least, a hint.

LM: Sure. Because people are curious, especially in art, right?

KB: Maybe it allows an easier access for the one or the other.

LM: Good point! Then I wonder: In the end, you aim at producing something abstract or something real?

KB: That’s an interesting question. I’ve never thought of this.

LM: [Laugh]. Well, you have time…

KB: The way I work is to be totally free of imagination. There cannot be an idea of what will be seen in the end.

LM: But one thing is sure : you always start from the real..

KB: That’s right. I always draw simultaneously never from memory. When I’m drawing rain, it must be raining or the swallow must be flying in the sky above me at this moment.

LM: If I’m not mistaken, when we met, at Drawing Now, you said that you’ve started your career as an artist not too long ago.

KB: I started drawing 20 years ago.

LM: And how did it come up ?

KB: I have been studying Social pedagogy, but I always knew that this wasn’t the profession that truly fulfills me. I was not sure what I was looking for, but I was longing to do something with my hands. My journey started with pottery, weaving and bookbinding. But I always felt that I was still searching something. When I started drawing it was a process. An exploration and examination to find out what really fascinates me about it. I’m glad I didn’t give up and found what I love doing.

NB. This interview has been realized by phone, and has been edited by the artist. I thank very much Werner Klein (Gallery Werner Klein, Cologne) for having kindly inviting me at the last “Drawing now art fair, salon du dessin contemporain”, last March, in Paris, convinced he was that I would be interested in Karoline’s work. 


Léon Mychkine

Writer, Doctor in Philosophy, independent researcher, art-critic, member of AICA-France




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