Caroline Brünen

STUDIO VISIT

Listening as photographic practice

Caroline Brünen studied artistic photography at the Academy of Media Arts and graduated in 2023.

Her photographic works are documentary in nature and deal with photography in combination with text. A recurring motif in her projects is the dialog with her protagonists about common clichés, body images and power structures; and the attempt at deconstruction. She also explores human coexistence with architectural structures. She is particularly interested in flows and fragmentation with regard to the climate crisis. In various ways, she makes her role as a photographer and her subjective view visible in all her projects. Her work has already been exhibited at the Goethe-Institut in Paris, the Kunsthafen Köln and most recently at the Glasmoog in Cologne.

"My name is Caroline Brünen. I am an artist and I work with photography in combination with text and sometimes audio. I work documentarily with analog photography and in my work I always deal with bodies, with role expectations, with power structures, with clichés, which I try to deconstruct in various ways and then put back together again.

I wrote my diploma thesis on listening as a possibility of photographic practice because I also realized that I wanted to deal more with my own positioning, because photography simply has a history of racialization, objectification and exploitation. And I realized that if I want to work with photography, I have to deal with how I actually see and from which perspective I see or also look at how I relate to my protagonists as a photographer or as an artist:
How can I ensure that there is somehow an exchange, that I am not just taking and not continuing this story of exploitation?

In my graduation project, I dealt with sexism in medicine, specifically in gynecology, because I was interested in these myths surrounding the female body that have become deeply inscribed in science.

However, I didn't want to deal with hysteria or something like that in a strict historical sense, but I asked myself what effects it still has today. And that's why I spoke to seven people who shared their experiences with me about the abuse of power, about verbal and physical assaults in gynecology. And my aim in the project was to actually listen to these people.
It was important to me that people who have had such experiences themselves can recognize themselves. I wanted to create a kind of autonomy or convey that patients are all experts about their own bodies. "

"That's something that happens again and again in my work: I'm interested in a subject, then I want to photograph it and I realize that you can't photograph it because you can't see it. And that's how I came to always work with text in my projects. Almost all of my works consist of a combination of photography and text, which is not necessarily hierarchical.

In the beginning, I actually felt it was more of a shortcoming that I couldn't have one photograph that said everything, so to speak. Then I realized that it's simply a way of telling a story for me to also work with text. But the text usually comes after the pictures. In other words, I use photography to approach a subject first, to grasp surfaces, to capture structures with photographic images. And then, when I reach this limit, I move on to the text. So for me, the images first explore the visible. And then, when I go deeper, I realize that there are other things that I can no longer convey in photos. And I ask myself this question because it is also interwoven in my practice: what can I see, what can I not see, what do I actually want to tell? How can photography help me to see or tell this? And where are its limits?"

Artist Info

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STUDIO VISIT

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STUDIO VISIT

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Studio Visits

With its museums, galleries and art spaces, Cologne offers a broad field of photography. Naturally, there is also a correspondingly large and diverse artist scene here that works and experiments with the medium. In our new section Studio Visits, we would like to introduce you to artistic positions and take you to the production and thinking spaces of art. Have fun!

  • Studio Visits

    Thinking space, laboratory, workplace
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