Kaja Stech Artist Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and your work

I am a visual artist in the field of photography, born in Poland and currently based in Vienna. Since my teenage years I'm interested in philosophy, architecture and art. In my projects I concentrate my attention on social and political matters which influance our society.

How has the pandemic affected you, your artwork and day to day?

In the beginning as the pandemic spread, I was stuck to my phone searching for news and trying to stay connected with my family and friends, but after a while I began to rethink many aspects of my life and I came to the conclusion that it’s the unseen terrors that provoke the imagination. I realized, that it's on myself how I face this situation; I might experience it as fear and nothingness or as an open possibility. For me the self-isolation wasn't a drag but a source for creative inspiration and an opportunity to start to see the many issues of our capitalist age that were initially invisible. Things like apathy and invisible constraints, perversity and fear, the kind of things that surely fall to journalists and artists to bring visibility and awareness towards these problems.

How has your working process changed during the pandemic, what is your working method?

The coronavirus has definitely had a negative impact on my income as nearly all of my spring and early summer shootings have been canceled. So I started to read more about philosophy and to work in my photostudio on an artistic self-portrait project about coercion and isolation and on another project about the invisible danger of viruses and the food manipulation.

Tell us about the themes you pursue in your work

In my work I like to explore the transformative potential of people and architecture and different subjects and processes which influence and change our society.

In my latest artistic projects I deal with topics such as mass production, GMO and other industrial food processes, consumerism and the throw-away society.

Is there something you couldn't live without in your studio? What is your most essential tool?

I would definitely say it's my beloved camera.

What do you feel the role of artists and photographers is in society?

I think every artist plays a different role in our society. We all have our own metaphors and images to make a meaning out of this world. In my opinion, every artist should give a thoughtful critique to our political, economic and social system and should push the communities to engage thoughtfully and to make a step toward a better and more sustainable lifestyle or give them an image to see the various discrepancies in our world.

Obviously exhibiting artwork physically is on hold, have you any projects or goals you are working towards?

I'm working on several new projects which are nearly ready for an exhibition and view others projects which are on hold, because I don’t have access to a darkroom now.


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