Katharina Sieverding is a photographer who specializes in self-portraiture with an abstract quality. She uses the technique of extreme close-up to reveal herself. Sieverding has a strong political sensitivity as she scrutinizes the mass media’s representation of politically motivated violence and its perpetrators. She stages the visual codes of sensationalistic photographic news reportage to demystify popular mythology, specifically that surrounding the Red Army Faction (RAF) terrorist organization.
Sieverding’s “Battlefield Germany x/78” draws out the mass media’s dramatizing tactics through the enlargement, montage, and photochemical manipulation of an existing photograph of a group of armed, uniformed militia. She created a powerfully graphic, monumental copy of the photograph, pieced together from four separate panels and reproduced in alarming black and deep pink. The fiery strong backdrop and the fractured effect of the montage intensify the contours of the faceless soldiers. They pose anxiously, waiting to fire their weapons at an unknown enemy. Produced the year after the peak of RAF violence in West Germany, this work pointed to the ongoing legacy of political fanaticism and violence in Germany. By exaggerating the visual drama of this news photograph, she reveals how the mass media represented the brigade’s dynamism but disregarded the consequences of their violence.
Sieverding has taken part in Documenta 5, 6, and 7. She has had solo exhibitions in Germany, Netherlands, Paris, and the Guggenheim Museum among others.