Kathrin Linkersdorff (German; b. 1966) began her career as an architect working in Japan. There she became acquainted with the aesthetic concept of wabi-sabi: the view that ephemerality and imperfection are integral and even beautiful parts of life. Her photographs of flowers and other living beings embody this worldview, presenting still images of organic life as it transitions from life to some transient state beyond. While plants or bacteria do form the point of reference in Linkersdorff's works, her practice is not merely concerned with depicting them. Rather, the organic is a vehicle for the philosophy that emerges behind their presentation: a staging of symbols of transience in processual metaphor. Each image is a carefully selected snapshot that captures a particular moment in the organic process of decay that Linkersdorff artistically orchestrates.
For her Fairies series, she begins by collecting tulips and carefully drying them over a period of several weeks. During the drying process, she extracts the flowers’ pigments, which she then re-concentrates into a natural dye. The artist then submerges the dried, translucent flowers into a liquid medium where their petals unfurl. Suspended in this fluid space, their delicate structures can be clearly observed at a level of intricacy typically hidden from the human eye. Often, Linkersdorff introduces the floral dye into that very same medium where it diffuses in swirling, colorful tendrils. The result is a fluid dance between the natural flow of the pigment and the brittle form of the preserved flower.
The artist’s penetrating images result from her carefully researched and duly tested method. Yet, as studied as her process is, her approach is partly governed by the spontaneous will of her aesthetic intuition. Some floral subjects are drained completely of all pigmentation, drawing focus to each petal’s sinewy internal structure and blemishes, features that would otherwise be invisible or considered undesirable. Others, however, are left with some pigment remaining, effecting a diffuse gradient of color across the flower’s bloom. At the core of Linkersdorff’s practice is an interest in the hidden constitutions of all living beings, which she brings to the fore through a process meticulous study, powered by an absolute reverence for the vitality of her floral subjects.
Kathrin Linkersdorff’s work has been exhibited at Elizabeth Houston Gallery, New York, NY; Galerie Springer Berlin, Germany; Purdy Hicks Gallery London, UK; Kommunale Galerie and Haus am Kleistpark, Berlin, Germany; Angermuseum, Erfurt, Germany; among others. She studied architecture from Brandenburg University of Technology in Cottbus, Germany and The Bartlett in London, UK, as well as photography at Fotografie am Schiffbauerdamm in Berlin, Germany. The artist was born in Berlin, Germany in 1966 and lives and works in Berlin.