In recent years, Katarina Eismann has participated in several major art projects where the documentation, within the artistic process, has become a crucial part in the producing of works. Despite their different approaches, the projects have had in common their perspective on the process as a spatial, non-linear retelling of an event, where a piece of work emerges as a result of the conversations and encounters that take place.
This work often involves Eismann entering into other people’s projects in her role as an artist, or inviting others to participate in her own work. The ambition is that the material gathered over the course of the project should function as a catalyst, a forum for discussion and questions, a piece of documentation that offers a representation of intangible and complex processes.
Distance and Longing was the working name on a longterm collaboration between Eismann and Eva-Lotta Holm Flach involving many set-ups of encounters, readings, talks, and seminars. One question was the importance of distances, to approach the unfamiliar, develop new knowledge and understanding through artistic practice.
One outcome was PARTIR/REVENIR, November 2018, an exhibition in collaboration with artists Safaa Erraus (Marocco), Christine Ferrer (France), artist/co-curator Katarina Eismann and curator Eva-Lotta Holm Flach (Sweden).
Another longterm project FOLDOUT has involved collaboration between choreographer, performance artist, cellist, mezzo-soprano as well as journalist and surveys the transmission of memory, the inheritance of a war. The first part was reconstructed for Moderna Museet in Malmö in May 2015 and developed through the many stories of wars, that still constitute the city of today.
In Via was produced as the second part of FOLDOUT, with Moderna Museet in Malmö. A hundred participants were taking part in an ongoing expanding video installation, involving teachers, youth leaders and their engaged groups of young people in Malmö. The project was surrounded by workshops, videos, apps, and a folder.
Fireworks is a collaboration between Eismann, Jamie Fawcus and Annette Tarranto. A multimedia, performance, music event at Forum för levande historia.
Eismann has been working and producing, through processes of documentation, to a comprehensive extent.
Eismann is producing pieces that build on the concept of creating a space where several artists can contribute and, with their different forms of expression, allow a piece of work to take shape. This can be seen in her work, a music/video installation in three parts, “Algol”.
Hence, she has positioned herself as an initiator, participant, and observer in different art projects.
At times there may also be a more profound relationship between the role Eismann creates for herself in these projects and tasks, and her background of growing up in a large family, in a mélange of different cultures, constantly on the move between different environments.
This ambivalence, the process of quickly trying to grasp what has happened since you were last in this situation and adapting to ever-changing surroundings, is what Eismann has developed into an art form, into an instrument for mirroring often-convoluted processes.
This can be related to an early video, “Cs hus” (“The house of C”), 1997/9. Stories from a building besides the airport in Sarajevo, produced just after the end of the war in the Balkans. Has been exhibited as part of “Blick”, a mobile exhibition by Nifca and Moderna Museet in Stockholm. Stories from the house in Sarajevo also form part of the book “Planritningar” (“Blueprints”). The blueprints form a kind of written road movie, where Katarina and her cousin search for a building that has disappeared and meet other people along the way, who tell stories of other buildings.
“FOLDOUT”, a work in progress. A survey of different approaches in creating documentary material. The starting point of the project is a bundle of letters found by Katarina, that her father sent to his sisters in Budapest during the Second World War. A piece of work focusing on how family memories are passed on to the next generation. How identity is formed by inherited stories, and how they can be transcribed in a new time and place.
The project is supported by Kulturkontakt nord, Konstnärsnämnden. Sveriges bildkonstnärsfond (The Swedish Arts Grants Committee), Stockholms Läns Landsting.
Eismann is participating in several artistic research projects. The Botkyrka Experiment by Tinna Joné, Haptica and NanoForm by Cheryl Akner Koler, The Swedish Research Council, is among many research projects were Eismann participated as a media navigator. Earlier participation is for example “Don’t go home” at the Dramatiska Institutet, Stockholm by Barbro Smeds. An artistic research project on the emergence of a character on stage, in collaboration with dancers and singers. Eismann’s role involved documenting parts of the process and producing a series of short video loops with titles such as “Reconstruction” (Reconstruction) and “Formtagningar” (“Mouldings”). Eismann also produced “Connection Barents”, DVD, 2006. Over the course of 3 weeks spent in the border area between Russia, Norway and Finland, she was commissioned to provide artistic leader Ong Keng Sen with video work during the work lab Connection Barents, as well as to document the process and produce an audiovisual piece that mirrored and interpreted the form of the lab, the summer light, the landscape, the tapestry of encounters and narratives that took place.