Katharina Renneisen is a German visual artist who uses analogue photography as her main medium. She works primarily with medium and large format cameras, maintaining full control over the photographic process from the exposure to the final print. In addition to film-based black-and-white photography, she also explores the possibilities of historical and alternative techniques. So far, a particular emphasis lies on hand-colouring silver gelatin prints with oil paints.
Thematically, Katharina Renneisen focuses on classical pictorial genres and creates images full of references to the history of art. Her studio practice includes mainly still lifes and nudes. While in her still lifes, she arranges carefully selected objects in self-built sets, her nudes either concentrate on the form of the female body itself or integrate it into more complex compositions involving furniture and textiles. In many of her images, a fine interplay between composition, light and shadow creates an abstract effect. Where hand-colouring is applied, it adds a painterly quality to the realistic precision of the photographs, which becomes particularly apparent in the depiction of the flesh.
With her ongoing body of work “Paysage” Katharina Renneisen turns to the landscape genre. In search of motifs, she visits places in the French countryside with both spectacular nature and a rich artistic legacy, like the forest of Fontainebleau, the Loue valley or the Norman coast. Her visual language builds upon the classical image repertoire, which dates back to the nineteenth century when French artists began to discover their native nature as a subject matter. While at the time, the relationship between landscape painting and the emerging landscape photography was characterised by reciprocal influences, Katharina Renneisen’s works can be described as a synthesis of the two media. By hand-colouring her silver gelatin prints, she creates a unique aesthetics, which cannot be achieved even with digital means: While the camera records the elements of nature in all their details at a specific point in time, the subsequently applied oil paints interpret them beyond the moment. The results are equally immediate and timeless landscape images.
Born in Seeheim-Jugenheim, Hesse in 1978, Katharina Renneisen studied Art History, Romance Philology and American Studies at Humboldt-University of Berlin. One focus of her studies was on photography and its relationship to the classical visual media, which led her to write her master’s thesis about the influence of early photography on Camille Corot's landscape work. Both this theoretical background and years of experimentation as a photographer and a printer form the basis for her artistic practice. She lives and works with her partner, visual artist Max Renneisen, in Berlin.