Tage Kunst

Katherine Newbegin

For years now Katherine Newbegin has travelled the world and photographed empty buildings. There are indeed many photographers who take an interest in architecture and interiors as cultural productions and representations of their creators and commissioners. For Newbegin, who was born in 1976 in Portland in the USA, the point is not to show a perfect architectural staging of people and institutions, but rather the opposite—an approach unlike that of Candida Höfer, who Newbegin assisted earlier.

There, where the surface flaws and clear signs of use can be seen and where history is almost already passé—this is where Newbegin's interest starts: in former hotels in the USA, in Latin America, Europe or Asia, whose run down interiors are now only vaguely evocative of their histories. The visible remains of the old ambience—wallpaper, worn-out armchair, torn-out telephone cables—communicate a morbid and often depressing charm that is almost impossible to resist.

From one of her latest trips, this time in Cambodia, Newbegin brought picture of Discotheques and hostels. With the details chosen by the photographer and the colored compositions, the photographs seem like picturesque tableaus. However after the initial fascination for the aesthetic of dilapidation, the observer's eye becomes archaeologically explorative in nature: beginning to scan the picture for details that complete each other to form a story.

-Matthias Reichelt

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