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Barbara Steppe

portraitBarbara Steppe studied Painting at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Karlsruhe, Germany and at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she received an MFA in1988. Barbara Steppe lives and works in Berlin.

Her work has been exhibited in Institutions and Galleries in Germany, USA and France, such as the Drawing Center New York, Galerie Barbara Weiss Berlin, Galerie Vincenz Sala Paris/Berlin. She received national and international Grants and Fellowships. In the early 90´s she worked with the Dance Company Sasha Waltz + Guests on Stage Design and Performances.

Time, Timemanagement, elapsing time, consumed time.

In her work Barbara Steppe portrays individuals or groups of people, by analyzing and transforming information about their use of time in day-to-day live. It is a collaboration between the portrayed person and the artist.

Each participant needs to document minutely how they spend their day-to-day lives and what activities they engaged in. Based in these miniature empirical studies, Steppe then determines which activities are central, including recurring habits, and designs equivalent parameters of shaping with proportional relations, and an allotted color scheme. The artist thereby makes use of diverse creative choices, ranging from painting through textiles and objects, to sound compositions and performances.

Besides individual portraits she works on larger projects with specifically assembled groups of people, whether this could be a group of personal friends, or various inhabitants of a certain city, or people from specific occupational fields.

Routines 2014, 40 min., performed at the Neue Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin, Choreography: Lindy Annis + Barbara Steppe

25 professionals in the art world, participated in this project. All participants were asked to minutely record their activities for 24 hours on a working day in November 2013, quoting the exact times, also thoughts and notes were to be included in the protocol.

During the performance, each author was reading out the own daily routine. A manipulated clock, running through the 24 hours of a day in just 40 minutes, gave the impulse for the recital and determined the cue for the specific sentences from the time-bound journals. The diaries were read synchronously. In parts, this made for a spoken chorus.

The dramaturgy of the piece was determined by the rhythm of the journals, with dense phases of the day in which most participants were active, and quieter moments.


Ingrid Buschmann /curator, Kerstin Drechsel /artist, Arnold Dreyblatt /artist, Birgit Effinger /art historian, Thomas Fischer /gallerist, Heiner Franzen /artist, Peter Funken /curator, Asta Gröting /artist, Leiko Ikemura /artist, Veronika Kellndorfer /artist, Nina Koidl /gallerist, Hannah Kruse /art historian, Käthe Kruse /artist, Nicola Kuhn /art critic, Adrian Lohmüller /artist, Hanne Loreck /art historian, Christiane Meixner /art critic, Matt Mullican /artist, Ursula Sax /artist, Britta Schmitz /curator, Daniel Schreiber /author, Valerie Smith /curator, Sassa Trülz­sch /gallerist, Marco Poloni /artist, Ivo Wessel collector.

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routines, 2012, acrylic, jute/Polyesterribbons, wood, aluminum, 2engines. Installation ca. 340 x 550 cm

For this work, five people provided records of the course of their days. The coloring of the ribbons produced as loops, correspond to the chronological sequences of their activities within 24 hours.

Each individual activity is assigned a color of it s own. The length of the segments stand for the respective time spent on the activity. Two motors are moving the ribbons slowly.

photo 3
Installation view broken balls 2015, ceramic, watercolor, different sizes, ceramic casts of found, old and busted balls, revealing lesions, dirt und abrasions, worn out by time.

See more on the following videos- Routines II 2015, Audio (Ausschnitt) Routines 2014, Performance NBK (Ausschnitt) , Tag 24: Performance (Ausschnitt).


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