Kim Bartelt's work is a mastery of apparent simplicity, drawing you into the ephemeral nature of our world and the poetic paradoxes of the modern human condition. Her fusion of painting and sculpture is achieved through layering paper sheets of varying thickness onto canvas. This textured interplay of form and color invites viewers into a vibrant inner landscape, bridging the gap between the visible and the invisible, the enduring and the fleeting.
Bartelt's artistic vocabulary is restrained yet potent, mainly employing squares and rectangles to encapsulate complex emotions in harmonious compositions. Her work mirrors life's inherent dichotomy – a pursuit of balance, refracted through the personal lens of the artist. This dichotomy is further highlighted by her color choice. Neither fully opaque nor overly vivid, her canvases project a sense of substance while radiating a light reminiscent of the skies and architecture seen in the works of Fra Angelico and Piero Della Francesca, who significantly influenced her.
As writer and curator Lorena Juan puts it, Bartelt’s ability to visualize every stage of her creative process amounts to a “study of the poetics of the connective tissue of life…”, unveiling the “silent mind maps of the support infrastructures running in the backdrop of our existence.” This connection doesn't only exist in the spiritual realm but is also a response to the tangible world around her. It intuitively echoes our contemporary disconnection amidst the overwhelming intricacy of our hyperconnected age.
Born in Berlin, Germany, Bartelt initially aimed to study architecture but found her path leading her towards art history in Paris and then fine art at Parsons School of Design in New York. It was during her time painting sets for large-scale commercial campaigns that she discovered an affinity for discarded sheets of paper, repurposing them into her artwork. These minimal collages, with their ethereal transparency, seemed to defy their own materiality. Since returning to Germany in 2003, Bartelt has expanded her practice to include large-scale sculptures, creating monumental structures from surprisingly fragile materials like packing material and papier-mâché.
Bartelt's work has been showcased in solo exhibitions, notably at the Cadogan Gallery in Milan (2023) and London (2022). She's also been a prominent feature in group shows like An Endless Curve – Art Perspectives III at the Circle Culture Gallery, Berlin, and A Double Presentation, Wilhelm Hallen #2, Berlin in 2021. Her work has reached global audiences with exhibits in Mexico City, Ghent, London, Berlin, and the US. Bartelt has also completed artist residencies at Numeroventi 2019 in Italy and Joya AiR 2019 in Spain. Her work has been spotlighted in several publications including Capital Magazine (2022), AD Germany (2020), and Wall Street Magazine (2020).