Forest Time

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In a residency taking place September 22–October 4, the German-born, Rotterdam-based performance and video artist Katharina D. Martin takes advantage of the Watermill Center’s unique locale, in addition to its resources for interdisciplinary work. Entitled Forest Time, her project will entail her living, glamorously dressed throughout, in the woods surrounding the facility—and filming herself over the course of several days. She will be fully attired like a Marilyn Monroe-esque female icon, with a fresh manicure, makeup, evening wear, and high heels. She will carry out traditionally feminine activities, in addition to acts of survival and play, while living outdoors at Watermill. As she inhabits this striking incongruity—dressed up in artifice in a natural environment—Martin will reveal the absurdity of classic signifiers of glamorous femininity. This event is an opportunity to see Martin’s work-in-progress, captured via video, to the general public.

Forest Time is a natural, if more ambitious, next step, in Martin’s body of work, which focuses primarily on gender identities, whether she is filming six-year-old girls boxing, or playing a business woman crumpling documents in a 4+ hour gallery performance (as she did in Ceci n’est pas une femme). Inspired by feminist theorists such as Judith Butler and Marta Zarzycka, and admired by the likes of Marina Abramovic, Martin says, “My artistic work cannot be separated from my identity as a woman.”

Katharina Dany Martin was born in Braunschweig, Germany in 1971. At the age of six, she began competing in gymnastics and in her late twenties moved to Los Angeles and worked for several years as a stripper. Returning to Germany in 1991, she went back to school and in 1994 gave birth to a son. She worked as a professional acrobatic performance artist while studying education. In 1999, she suffered a car accident in which her son died. She continued to work in dance and acrobatics until 2001. She went back to university to study education and wrote a thesis about the outsider art of a schizophrenic. In winter 2003, she began studying art and, in summer 2006, graduated with two BFAs. In 2007, she entered the MFA program at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam and now works as a performance and visual artist, with numerous performances and exhibitions to her credit. She is currently finishing a book entitled Queendom Katharina D. Martin.