The Heroine’s Journey of Kim Engelen

What is the best thing that I love about my work?
There is so much I love. My work drives me. My work gives me goals in life. It is an ongoing process. It is always changing and challenging my own boundaries. And I get to work or talk with people that I might not always otherwise have access to. And I feel that I am contributing something valuable to society.

What is my idea of perfect happiness? Being on a high flying disk.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? When I notice I am not being my true self. For example while “acting” submissive (by nurture), because I am not (by nature).

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire?
This is always changing but the first ones that come up now are Nan Goldin, Alicia Framis, Francis Alÿs, Stuart Ringold, James Turrell.

What is my greatest extravagance?
Investment in my work. And I am not only talking about money here.

On what occasion would I lie?
Is omission also considered lying?

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?
That I have to be alone (and often in silence) to create work. I don’t like it but this is what I need to be able to work.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work?
Internally when I am in my flow. Which is fortunately quite often so not only something from the past. When I create something that I “think” works. And when I have presented something and it “works” in front of an audience. On several occasions with my video works, I have received standing ovations. That feels great too of course.

If I could, what would I change about myself?
I have set a resolution for 2017, which is that I want to make choices in my life that are good for me.

What is my greatest achievement in work?
It is not perhaps my greatest achievement in terms of money or acclaim. But it is the one that I cherish the most. When I was still at art school I created every month a changing exhibition in a window shop. These were my first mini-exhibitions. These exhibitions included a digipack (catalogue + DVD). This I did during my studies and while having 3 jobs on the side. I still have a few copies of these digipacks.

Where would I most like to live?
I think about this question regularly. Germany is now the 5th country where I have lived. So, for now, I would like to stay. Nevertheless, I wonder, but do not let these doubts take over, I told myself to have Berlin as a base and that gives me peace of mind. But all things considering I would like to live in (connection with) nature. But also to have access to a lively contemporary art culture.

What is my most treasured possession?
I have a collection of signed Fluxus Artists Books from Endre Tót, Jiri Valoch, George Maciunas, Bernhard Johannes Blume, Claus Böhmler, Peter Pick, Rudolf Bonvie, Al Hansen, Henri Chopin and Joe Jones (2nd Edition of 500 copies, published in 1998 by Edition Hundertmark, Düsseldorf, Germany).

What is my most marked characteristic?
My honesty. Which is perhaps odd since art in a way is artificial, it is created.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city?
My bed, my heart, me. But outdoors I would say the parks. For example Großer Tiergarten or Volkspark Friedrichshain. In combination with life, people, culture. This together gives friction and this then also gives inspiration.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city?
Café Fleury. A busy French cafe. Here I go to often to drink a coffee with friends or have dates.

What books influenced my life and how?
Yes books, but an even bigger influence for me comes from youtube movies. This is for me the most accessible and biggest encyclopaedia I have immediate access to. I learn so much from the youtube/online community. Everything that you want to know more of or want to develop you can find here. For a year I placed myself under the influence of Abraham Hicks.

Who are my favourite writers?
Lev Tolstoj, Ernest Hemingway, Adrian Piper.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?
I am not sure about this. Do we really die only once? I am sort of practising Nichiren Buddhism and here we believe in Karma. Meaning that we can have several lives.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?
Glinda the good Witch in the spiritual story of The Wizard of Oz. She teaches to access the power of yourself. “You had the power all along my dear.” Glinda the good Witch says. Since we all (or at least females) have been taught how to not trust ourselves. And therefore how to trust oneself is a form of self-empowerment. Which connects closely for me to my self-development and this is an ongoing story in my private life and in my art.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?
Feminists and queers. People who fight for human rights and animal activists. Normative does not mean that it is right (for me, you, us).

Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime?
The Yes man or The Never Ending Story. Not that they are the best movies I have ever seen. But I think on a personal level they are inspiring to see once in a while. Or maybe even the classic 1939 movie Gone with the Wind, where the movie does not end necessarily well but where the heroic female protagonist is not admitting defeat and ends with saying; After all, tomorrow is another day!”

What role plays art in my life and work?
Art used to be the lead part above all else. After I got a burnout, this shifted and I thought there has to be something else. And things shifted. I think now I say Art ís my Life. I live with it.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?
Hm. Me. I never give up. I never leave me. I will stick with me until the end.

What project, in 2017, am I looking forward to work on?
Around the world, I am doing Bridge-Performances. These performances are the makings of photographs of me by tourists on bridges. In post-production, I experiment with these photographs to emphasise certain ideas. Such as the current refugee crisis, power structures, communication, authorship and personal development.
Every month in 2017, I have a new mini-exhibition at my house. Where I have chosen one aspect or idea to think about and work on.

Where can you see me or my work in 2017?
Online at and offline at Gallery 1 Flat Wall in Berlin.

Whom would I like to work with in 2017?
These private mini-exhibitions/works I want to publish in a (self-published) artist book. For this, I am looking for a good documentation (technical) photographer to work with on a regular basis.

Which people in my profession would I love to meet in 2017?
Sponsors in all forms. Interested gallerists, collectors, curators, critics, writers, publishers, and all other people that could be helpful in order to push my art career. Because I want my work to be seen and to be part of the broader art discussion.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?
Without passion, I am depressed and without purpose. Unfortunately for me passion comes and goes. Thank goodness new desires, new ideas, new wishes, new goals and dreams that always spring up.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?
Lynn Marie Kirby, Mirjam Kroker, Georgina Hahn.

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