PATRICIA LOW CONTEMPORARY is pleased to present Katharina Sieverding’s pioneering film Life-Death, Berlin, 1969 in its integrality. As a student of Joseph Beuys in the 60’s, Sieverding immediately embraces photography and film to document the political turmoil which had by then reached Düsseldorf. She explores the then nascent themes of identity, sexuality, etc.
Through the application of make-up and the layering of imagery […], Sieverding evoques the living and the dead body. In her thirty-minute film Life-Death, from 1969, which made its debut at Documenta V in 1972, her imagery embodies a divine quality, evoking complex realizations that are charged with emotion, memory and imagination. Sieverding appears poised as she resigns herself equally to two parallel worlds. Film stills from Life-Death portray the artist in a striking crimson cape with scarlet lips, enveloped in the deep red velvety material as if mummified. A particularly notable scene reveals the artist in deep reflection as she contemplates her mirror image in a spoon. Sieverding’s vampish presence is amplified by a theatrical treatment of makeup and attire, as she explores her own existential dimensions.
Amy Smith Stewart “Double Vision” in Katharina Sieverding: Close Up, 2004 KW and PS1
With almost four decades of artistic practice encompassing photography, film and installation, Katharina Sieverding (b.1944 Prague) has influenced two generations of women artists and photographers.