10 Nov 2023
Multi-disciplinary artist Areez Katki will travel to Germany next October after being selected as the recipient of the 2024/2025 Creative New Zealand Berlin Visual Arts Residency.
Katki plans to spend his time developing a project which will include the formulation, editing, and publishing of an experimental artist’s novel, serving as a companion to a new multimedia presentation incorporating found materials. He hopes the exhibition will tour Germany, India, and Aotearoa.
It builds upon his previous works, including Bildungsroman (2019), which utilised traditional hand embroidery stemming from ancient Persian storytelling techniques, and a thesis completed in 2020 at the International Institute of Modern Letters at Wellington’s Victoria University Te Herenga Waka.
The latter is an experimental, multi-lingual biomythography, drawing inspiration from epic Persian texts, including the Gathas of Zarathustra, as well as the work of late avantgarde artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. Katki is excited about having the opportunity to explore those themes in more depth for this project, which holds the working title Künstlerroman, meaning an artist’s novel.
“Bildungsroman is traditionally, in the western canon, a coming-of-age novel, which I approached from two conceptual vantage points: the personal and spiritual growth of an individual, and how those affects intersect with social and ethnoreligious politics, particularly within a diaspora,” Katki told Creative New Zealand.
“Künstlerroman is a looser, perhaps more ambitious form with self-referential qualities that reviews past creative endeavours and frames work within its own development. An auto-fictive blending of those narratives holds the potential to be playful with form, becoming almost metaphysical and reflective as a narrative.”
“There's a lot to revisit; to consider the ways in which I might have picked up certain threads but not quite executed or fleshed them out satisfyingly. I appreciate this opportunity to critically observe and reflect as I formulate new work.”
Berlin is well known to Katki, who spent a few months there in 2022 working with New Zealand’s representative at the 2022 Venice Biennale, Yuki Kihara. That experience encouraged him to consider applying for this residency.
“I've thought about it in the past, but then after being there and seeing the potential of resources that would be available, it made me think more urgently about what it might look like if I were to develop a project and also situate myself in Berlin.”
“It will be a pleasure to have more time, which is another really vital resource, to just sit with affective material that I've gathered in the past, but also figure out how to edit and frame some newer developments. I’m very interested in making institutional engagements with certain museums and communities in Berlin.”
Katki hopes to use that time to rekindle connections in Berlin and is also planning a research trip to India to further explore the ancient settlement sites of his ancestors from the Parsi ethnominority.
The Creative New Zealand Berlin Visual Arts Residency provides a place within the Künstlerhaus Bethanien studio programme and support for an exhibition. It also includes the use of an apartment in the heart of Berlin and the stipend of $40,000 to be used for the artist’s travel, living, and material costs.
The Künstlerhaus Bethanien is the home one of Europe’s largest international residency programmes for artists. Selected artists benefit from exposure to Berlin’s various art institutes, galleries, and museums; and new networking and professional development opportunities to inspire and strengthen their creative practice. Creative New Zealand’s residency also helps to raise awareness of New Zealand visual arts in Berlin.
The residency runs from November 2024 to October 2025, alternating with the biennial Creative New Zealand Berlin Writer’s Residency.
Previous recipients of the Creative New Zealand Berlin Visual Arts Residency are: Ella Sutherland (2019), Biljana Popovic (2018), Oscar Enberg (2016), Greg Semu (2014), Ben Cauchi (2012), Alicia Frankovich (2010), Sara Hughes (2008), Mladen Bizumic (2006), Ronnie van Hout (2004), Michael Stevenson (2002) and Peter Robinson (2000).