Wednesday 18 April 2018

Introducing Cath von Isenburg

135 artists featured in "Inside Job" which took place on the 7th and 8th of April on Level 6 of Tate Modern and was visited by over 3,000 people. The Rebel Magazine has been chatting to some of the Tate staff who showed their artwork. Today it's the turn of Cath von Isenburg
Q) Where did you grow up and what kind of education did you receive? "I was born in Nairobi. Within eighteen months of me being born we were posted to Bahrain, a few years after that to Kolkata then again to Malaysia, then Singapore, HongKong and finally back to Nairobi again. For the formative years of all this traveling my education was in these other countries, well up until Singapore that is.I have very fond memories of Tanglin Infant school in Singapore. Those early years were full of wonder and inspiration from the variety of cultures I absorbed as I grew. It’s when I look back, I realise we lived without a television in Kolkata but I enjoyed so many other things, being creative, reading and playing. Something devastating came though and swept away some of that playfulness of childhood forcing me to grow up and learn the harsh realities of life early. This was to take the form of Cancer, one which my mum battled against but tragically lost her life to when I was eight years old. I hold on to the memories, the fact that my mum, like my dad was creative but I think that creativity in her was contagious and we all got a part of it. From the age of eight I started boarding school here in the UK. I ended up going through school a year ahead of myself, the intake age being eleven. I would be lying if I say this wasn’t tough but I got on and made some friends and yes we had the occasional midnight feasts in the dormitories, built fantastical dens in the woods and ate meals at very long wooden tables.After sixth form spent boarding, I went on to do a foundation diploma in art and design at Central Saint Martins and a BA (Hons) in textiles from Winchester School of Art. A while later I undertook a part time MA in Illustration at the Anglia Ruskin in Cambridge, just as I started working at the Tate."
Q) How long have you been working at Tate and what’s the best show you've seen there? "I can’t believe that this year, this summer I have actually been working at the Tate part time for ten years! I did take a year out for maternity leave when my daughter was born but I do have to confess that is now over five years ago. It’s difficult to pin point one best show but I think that the Calder show had the edge for me. I love the ‘Cirque Calder’ and it was wonderful to see parts of this, the beautifully made kinetic sculptures and the moving mobiles. The gallery came to life in a magical way. I also have a very good memory of the Henry Moore exhibition at Tate Britain. It was a moment where both my dad and myself felt truly inspired to sit in the show and draw together. It’s moments like these that you cherish."
Q) What can you tell me about the work you exhibited in the Tate Modern show? My work ‘Objects From Life’ was one that I undertook at the start of my MA with regards to the drawings themselves. The first module was focused on observational drawing. I went out and about and had a great time drawing lots in sketchbooks in various museums and galleries including the Horniman, the British Museum, Sir John Soane’s, to name a few. I also began to focus on objects I have at home, the meanings behind them. The objects feel significant in different ways, of memorable moments, of times gone by and loved ones that are lost. Theres a gold plated teaspoon with our family crest on handed down to me by my gran, an acorn necklace which my mum wore most of the time. Some now dried flowers hold a little note behind them identifying them as ‘lucky’ as they landed on my head when I was a child at a festival in Kathmandu. There is an exquisitely painted wooden egg from our house boat holiday in Kashmir. As part of my artistic practice I also enjoy experimenting in three dimensions and make three dimensional characters. I made the doll with the big hair and then decided to draw her. All these objects exist in three dimensions. I like to lose myself in the detail when drawing and funnily enough this is the same in most of my more imaginative work.
Q) How can people find out more about your work - do you have a website or Instagram? I have a website I am also busy making work for a group exhibition which will be on at the Hoxton Arches gallery from the 30th of May until the 10th of June this year.
Q) Is there anything you would like to declare / do you have a favourite quote, thought or joke you’d care to share? "Two things really, I think it’s important to show people you care about that you do and one can’t do that too often in my books. I was also recently inspired by a writer, Liz Petrone. I follow her blog. Theres a great piece ‘What if we danced?’. It made me chuckle, as a fellow mother, but was also wholly thought provoking, a great piece of writing. Staying positive against all odds is probably key."
"Inside Job": An exhibition of art by Tate Staff will took place on Level 6 of the Blavatnik Building of Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG

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