Line Krom (b. Germany)
My name is Line Krom and I’m a visual artist and researcher based in Frankfurt.
Working in the art world without being from the educated middle class is a challenge. I am the first and only person in my family to receive their school leaving certificate and go to university. I knew I would have to pay my own way. Informed by this background, my artistic research is about art production under economic constraints.
I work across media – I draw, build objects, and develop installations and performances, which point out the precarious working conditions in the art industry. My attitude is reflected in the materials I use, like art support materials, such as stretcher bars and canvases, on which I perform cuts. Lately, I have started working with "poor" material such as dust.
My recent solo exhibitions have addressed financial cutbacks in the cultural sector. In ‘Numbers Rule’ at the Women’s Museum Wiesbaden in 2020, I showed large-format canvas paintings from which I removed individual threads so that the gallery wall became visible. ‘Trim the Fat!’ at the Neuer Kunstverein Gießen in 2019 was all about maximizing profit: from one paint-by-numbers kit, I was able to create 24 paintings.
For my current research, I am investigating dust as an artistic material. The starting point was my exhibition ‘Cleaning and other tasks done for pleasure’ at Nachtspeicher 23 in Hamburg in 2019, where I presented a sand painting made of dust, coffee grounds and sawdust – materials donated by art institutions in Europe, including the Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden and Konsthall C in Stockholm.
The gesture of making a work of art out of dust was polarizing. It evoked fascination because the object was beautiful to look at. But as soon as the viewer discovered what it was made of, their attraction might turn into disgust. Beautiful things enchant and often deceive us about the conditions under which they are produced. There was neither a production budget nor an artist's fee for the exhibition. The exhibition took place in the context of political debates about the introduction of a fee for artists exhibiting their work in Hamburg.
While working on the no-budget exhibition, I found that the material itself began to fascinate me. Dust is a creative element – it multiplies without any kind of action. This magical quality is fitting given my interest in creating value. For my new project Dust2Gold, I am exploring how the wealth of a museum is reflected in its dust. The plan is that I extract gold contained in the dust. For this project plants will become my co-producers; the method is called phytomining. I began exploring this idea during my residency at Art Park Pedvale in Latvia (2020). The work was supported by a grant from the Hessische Kulturstiftung in 2020.
For Dust2Gold, I am looking to make contact with museums around the world that will allow me to collect dust on-site – this could be in the exhibition halls or in depots. I am also interested in how dust is handled in museums. What are the safety and hygiene regulations in the depots and exhibition halls regarding dust; how is dust avoided in museums? Do you have access to an institution or information that could help me with my project? I would love to hear from you! Please email me at [email protected]
You can see my work at www.linekrom.com and follow me on Instagram @linekrom.