Katharina Ziemke

29 Sep – 10 Nov 2023

Katharina Ziemke is recognised internationally for her artistic exploration of our society’s interrelations with science and the environment. The painter and video artist presents a diversity of perspectives relative to our world, highlighting in particular the aspects that we take as given or that we think we know.

Conceived to act in concert with the architecture of the Lichthof Ost, the installation Unwetter, made of recycled stage walls, invites you to explore her latest body of work: the Storm series. Katharina Ziemke’s artistic universe is a combination of elements that oscillate between representation and abstraction, dream and reality. Unwetter shines a light on the many facets of storms, literally as phenomena of weather and as metaphor for the environmental challenges we face presently.

Roam intensively coloured landscapes, confront turbulent skies, and face the silent yet potent eye of the storm! Benefiting from the medium’s capacity to convey intense, emotive colour and texture, the artworks painted in oils or ink on rice paper capture the sublime beauty and destructive force of the tempest. Each canvas is a portrayal of a particular storm, a mirror to the tensions between the global North and South, focusing attention on the environmental crisis that has become intrinsic to our shared reality.

For her new video series Episode: Sturm Ziemke has gathered thoughts of representatives from different walks of society: scientists, a politician, a manager and several adolescents. This installation is a sobering reflection on our environmental responsibilities in face of climate change. By means of the juxtaposition of sound collages and images in the making, the artist creates singular video works that regard sustainability, helplessness, health policy, futuristic technologies, biodiversity, and adaptation.

Even though these subjective fragments inevitably give the work a melancholic tinge, Katharina Ziemke encourages us to shake off this mood. Unwetter underlines the need for art and science to come together to better understand the phenomena and emotions we experience. This exhibition is a poetical experiment wherein we are urged to consider the prevalent catastrophes from other points of view: The installation will serve as the site for events, debates, performances, tours and workshops. You are cordially invited to participate.


Lichthof Ost
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Unter den Linden 6, 10117 Berlin

Mon-Fri 09.00-21.00, Sat 9.00-17.00


28.09 18.00 Opening
29.09 12.30 Guided Tour
06.10 12.30 Guided Tour
12.10 19.00 After Work Tour
20.10 12.30 Guided Tour
26.10 19.00 After Work Tour
28.10 14.00-17.00 Workshop for a Sound Performance (rsvp)*
01.11 19.00 Live-Performance and Artist Talk with Prof. Jakob Schillinger**
03.11 12.30 Guided Tour
04.11 16.00 Live-Performance
10.11 12.30 Guided Tour

* Workshop Unwetter Sounds

To prepare a soundtrack for a live painting by Katharina Ziemke, musician Sophie Marest will be offering a sound creation workshop using everyday materials: survival blankets, paper, metal tubes, bells, utensils and any object or instrument you might like to bring along. The workshop will result in a live sound performance during the Berlin Science Week.
More information at katharina.ziemke@gmail.com

**Artist Talk

What does the climate catastrophe mean for current artistic practice? Is there an ecological aesthetic? What is the relationship between art and science? To kick off Science Week, artist Katharina Ziemke and art historian Jakob Schillinger talk about the exhibition as part of the Open Humboldt initiative and the questions it raises.


Born 1979 in Kiel, Katharina Ziemke studied fine arts at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts in Paris. Initially trained as a painter, she today pursues various forms of artistic practice such as performance, video art and theatre. She is a founding member of the Berlin-based interdisciplinary artist collective AGOSTO.

Katharina Ziemke tends to think outside the customary art-world-box, using science and the humanities as a material for her artistic practice. Her last project, the video installation Marie, presents the venomous-snake specialist Marie Phisalix, the first woman to carry out research at the Natural History Museum in Paris. In parallel, she has been working on the image series Storm - a constituent part of the exhibition in the Lichthof Ost of Humboldt University. The artist regularly collaborates with the Schaubühne Theatre director Thomas Ostermeier for whom she creates live-painting performances as for Professor Bernhardi in 2017. Through her experience in the theatre, she was inspired to develop a methodology of ‘performing’ watercolour paintings before the public; the evolution is recorded on film.

Internationally, Katharina Ziemke has exhibited solo at Espace d’art plastique (Vénissieux, 2017), Schaubühne (Berlin, 2016), Zürcher Gallery (New York, 2009) and Musée de l’Abbaye Sainte-Croix (Les Sables d’Olonne, 2008). Her group shows include Draw Artfair at Saatchie Gallery (London, 2019), Centre d’Art Contemorain (Meymac, 2019), Kunstquartier Bethanien (Berlin, 2015) and Printemps de Septembre (Toulouse, 2008). Her work is represented in many public and private collections including Fonds national d’art contemporain (France), Collection de la Ville de Vénissieux (France) and Danske Bank (Denmark). Spring 2023 she was awarded a residency at Cité internationale des arts in Paris.

Katharina Ziemke


Curator: Lisa Colin
Video and Sound Editing: Sandra Böhme
Exhibition Design: Jan Pappelbaum
Graphic Design: Daniel Triebke
Performance Musician and Workshop: Sophie Marest
Organisation Humboldt-Universität: Maria Ollesch