With Käthe Kollwitz Prize the Akademie der Künste is honouring a German artist, who has been a pioneer in an age of large-scale photo art since the 1960s. An underlying theme in her work that has evolved from the period she spent as a student of Joseph Beuys is concerned with “identity as individuality and dividualism as a collective individual”. Sieverding made film and photography a main focus of her work from the beginning. She poses fundamental questions about artistic, political and social conditions with regard to production processes and the reception of art. In her oeuvre she unites aspects of archiving and of cultural memory, self-reflection, politics, provocation, the analytical, as well as the influence of mass media and recent technologies on the individual.
Katharina Sieverding was born in Prague. She lives and works in Düsseldorf. After prematurely cutting short her studies in medicine, she studied initially in Hamburg at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste, while working in parallel as Fritz Kortner’s assistant at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus. After switching to the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, she attended Teo Otto’s stage design class from 1964-67, then changed to Joseph Beuys’ class until 1971, and completed her studies in 1974 in Ole John Poulsen’s film class. Sieverding was associated with a feminist art scene, yet steadily expanded on “difference-based” feminism with transgender issues that are important to her. She took on a clearly unique position and emphasised a “media construction of the artistic imago”. From 1992-2010, Sieverding was committed to a course of studies that she founded at the Berlin University of the Arts (Universität der Künste Berlin), Visual Culture Studies. Her participation in international exhibitions include the Paris Biennale (1965, 1973), documenta 5, 6, 7 (1972, 1977, 1982) in Kassel, the Venice Biennale (1976, 1980, 1995, 1997, 1999), the Biennale of Sydney (1982), the Shanghai Biennale (2002) and the Busan Biennale in South Korea (2016). In 2006 she was represented at 40 jahrevideokunst.de at the Kunsthalle Bremen. In 2004, Sieverding was awarded the Goslaer Kaiserring, a prestigious international prize for contemporary art.