Karin Pliem

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Lucas Gehrmann
Karin Pliem’s exhibition “Biocultural Community” on tour through China

Just as the Chinese dragon glides through the air and waters as a ‘hybridʼ of many animals and forms of beings, sometimes spitting clouds of fire and sometimes spreading fertility and happiness, the protagonists in Karin Pliem’s painted ‘cosmologiesʼ1 are as diverse and contrasting: blossoms, fruits, living beings from different regions of the world and habitats—many of them of natural origin, some bred by humans, some originating from the painter’s artistic imagination. They are mixed with set pieces of inorganic nature—such as indigenous cult objects,

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Belinda Grace Gardner. Enigmas of Existence

Karin Pliem’s floral cosmologies draw the gaze into unfathomable depths. The eye traverses a seemingly endless, intertwined, opulent terrain of blossoms and umbels, herbaceous grasses, fruits and vines, mycelia and mosses. Behind bursting leaves, flowers, tendrils, and ferns, further plants spring forth, between which the delicate contours of artefacts, African figurines, and masks, the outlines of architectural elements, an arch of triumph, perhaps, and other built structures, animal heads and jellyfish-like tentacles emerge, evoking the vestiges of a vanished world or the indications of a

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Lucas Gehrmann Natura morta vivente – con bravura or misteriosa, sometimes even: con calamari. Karin Pliem‘s Symbiotic Unions as holobiontic still lifes

Karin Pliem‘s Symbiotic Unions as holobiontic still lifes.* The still life today is hardly ever still. Over almost four centuries, as the carefully composed natura morta – tranquillo e pensieroso –, the genre had reminded us of the transience of life, of things, of all our aspirations. Then the images started to move, and henceforth – accelerando – leapt from the cinema screen to tube TVs, video- and flat-screens and mobile displays, on which we now swipe them onwards and – presto possibile – away; this may have contributed

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Ludwig Seyfarth, „A World Society of Flowers“

At first, what we see depicted in Karin Pliem’s paintings are forms of vegetation ― primarily floral ones. Without botanical knowledge, however, we can only guess that we are looking at plants from various, very diverse regions and ecosystems around the globe that have been brought together in one image. We are familiar with art-historical compositions and arrangements of flowers in the still-life tradition. In this context, the flower still life gained great popularity, spreading from the Netherlands around 1600. Initially, well-ordered arrangements of flowers

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Margit Zuckriegl, „Beauty in Nature and Art“

The discovery of nature as a topos of artistic expression in the 19th century was always linked to the idea that anything “natural” was inherently “beautiful.” Nature cannot produce anything, be it vegetation, crystal formations or mirages. Citations drawn from the vocabulary of natural beauty were implemented in art with the aim of legitimizing the intention and main thrust of aesthetically oriented art and charging it with emotional chromaticity. Thus, windswept trees represented the trembling soul, golden sunsets life and death, forest thickets the vicissitudes

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Vanessa Joan Mueller, Extract from: Booklet , Kunsthalle Wien (publisher),
Vienna 2015, p. 26

Karin Pliem Nature and culture are productive opposites. While the former represents the original, the unspoiled, the latter is considered its transformation, if not its transcendence. The relationship between nature and culture is not however one of antagonism, instead they are virtually dependent on one another. Art likes to play them against one another, although at best, as an abstract system of representation itself, it can merely simulate the concept of naturalness. Karin Pliem’s painting brings together creatures from diverse parts and ecosystems worldwide and

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Lucas Gehrmann
Karin Pliem: Convolutions (2014)

Karin Pliem shows us a nature that doesn’t exist inherently: on canvas diversified creatures from different ecological systems and various parts of the world meet. She shows plants from tropic rainforests and valleys in the Alps in bloom and withering combined with transgenic plants, sea- and fresh-water animals. Through the painting process Karin Pliem creates as well blossom-hybrids. Everything is flourishing, flowing, morphing, expanding in her art-biotopes and develops into an intense abundance of colours and shapes which competes and communicates against and with each

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