But... Is It Photography?
with Yutao Gao
Julia Ritterskamp, Düsseldorf
Installation view: BUt... Is It Photography? 2017
Photo: Katharina Veerkamp
BUT…IS IT PHOTOGRAPHY? This is the title of an exhibition with works by Katharina Veerkamp and Yutao Gao. Both artists were born at the end of the 1980s, but in completely different cultural environments. Veerkamp comes from the Tecklenburger Land region of Germany, whereas Gao comes from China. Both are or were students at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf under professors who are basically more focused on sculpture. Katharina Veerkamp completed her Meisterbrief (master craftsman's diploma) under Prof. Richard Deacon, in 2014, and Yutao is studying under Prof. Katharina Fritsch. To round out their similarities and to sum up the exhibition concept - while both artists use photographic techniques this should not be understood to mean in the classic sense.
Yet, moving on from what they have in common to how they are different from each other - in her latest works, Veerkamp has used a wide variety of techniques and an approach that is almost scientific in her examination of the phenomenon of 'light', while Gao has drawn on European art history as well as the history of photography.
For Katharina Veerkamp, her important working material is not photographic paper, a crystal or a mirror but, rather, the light itself. The image of a ray of light caught on light-sensitive paper or - by using a special technique - also on silk becomes a symbol of space and time.
In their work both artists combine sophisticated aesthetics with relevant questions about perception, space and time. The works demonstrate that, despite their youth, they have already arrived at their own strong forms of expression.