Katia Engel

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hujan abu–grey rain




Katia shows us in her works how nature mirrors humanity and humanity mirrors nature and that at the end of the day, we are only fragments of reflections of our collective selves. In her works, whether it be stage, photography, film, video, or (often times) the combination, Katia builds carefully and subtly constructed layers of images that play with the often deceiving stillness of nature and the turmoil that humans put themselves through in order to achieve that illusive stillness.

The constant question of whether we shape nature or whether nature shapes us is never fully answered. But at the very least, Katia’s art guides us both inward and outward to journey closer to finding the answer to that question that is not a general solution but multiple answers that each fit to who we are as individuals.

– Paul Agusta, filmmaker and writer

Hujan Abu
Within a period of two weeks in June 2011, I have been at National Park Bromo-Tengger-Semeru in East Java, Indonesia, during major eruptions of Mount Bromo. The landscape, surrounded by Mount Bromo, changed every day with its continuous eruptions: each eruption brought new layers, shapes and colors of hujan abu (from Indonesian = grey rain).

A land under ash – it reminded me on a landscape in snow. But I felt, that there was something distinctively different: with all trees and plants dead, the strong smell of sulfur, no animals and no sounds, the impression of a dead land seemed more definite.

I decided to work with white wire, as if marking the nature through drawing lines. I was searching for traces, remains and memories from the time, before the dust covered this land. That seemed to me an appropriate response to this morbid landscape, which was struck by the immense power of Mount Bromo.

In the process of working on the project, I realized that the white color of the wire, as seen on the photography, can give the illusion, as if the lines have been painted afterwards into the digital image, and as a result of this action, erased parts of the landscape.

I found that an interesting aspect: we do not quiet believe, that this white line actually had been installed in this surreal landscape and was, for the time being photographed, part of it. Certainly, this line does not belong there, but it does respond to something and it had been part of this landscape – even just for a short period of time.