Kerstin Stephan feels like a child creating collage
by Maria Raposo
Kerstin Stephan is a Kids Of Dada collage artist, born in East Germany. She compares making collage to being a child, playing with LEGO. Finding old books and magazines at flea markets or in antique shops, Kerstin uses her work to build a whole new world – one that merges past and present. Her aim is to make reality seem extraordinary again. Twisting our visual expectations, she makes the subconscious visible. Her work is surreal yet delicate, existing in a soft and feminine world.
KOD: Do you remember making your first collage?
Kerstin Stephan: Not exactly. A long time ago I was a painter but sometimes I would feel too lazy for painting. Instead I would cut things out from magazines and paste them into my picture. Bit by bit, the pictures turned to collage. Someday I put my brush aside and decided to just make collages.
KOD: How does collage make you feel like a child?
Kerstin Stephan: When I start working, I have more than one hundred pieces in front of me. It’s a time for playing. I’m experimenting with these parts and trying to find a new visual language.
KOD: Why is it important to make reality seem extraordinary again?
Kerstin Stephan: The perfect is boring. I think that most people have a silent longing to experience crazy things, even if it is only on paper. It’s a bit like looking through a keyhole.
KOD: Your distortions of the human figure make us reconsider what’s beautiful. Is this intentional?
Kerstin Stephan: I love the female body and I like to play with it. I don't want to shock my audience but I want to create moments that are thrilling and confusing. Nevertheless, aesthetics are always important.
KOD: Your work merges old and new – why is this appealing?
Kersten Stephan: Opposites are always interesting. Also old paper has traces of use and together with newer materials, it is very charming. The combination of past and present creates something unexpected.
KOD: What draws you to collage, as opposed to painting and drawing?
Kerstin Stephan: Old printed paper from books or magazines carry the wisdom from past generations. To cut and destroy the papers and put them together again is like building a new world. I'm queen of this world. I can do what I want. It‘s another kind of art, like drawing or painting but without the technical skills ;-)
KOD: Is the subconscious important in your work?
Kerstin Stephan: I think so. My intuition tells me how a work needs to be and when it is finished.
KOD: Where do you find your materials?
Kerstin Stephan: I’m constantly looking out for new materials at flea markets, in antique stores or book shops.
KOD: What do you love about paper?
Kerstin Stephan: Paper is very delicate but at the same time it can last for centuries. It has no great weight and does not take up much space.
KOD: Do you have anything planned for 2014?
Kerstin Stephan: This year will be a surprising year for me. I'm a member of the group exhibition from the book ‘The Age Of Collage’. This will take place on 8th March 2014 in the gallery ‘Feinkunstkrüger’ in Hamburg.