Space as a stage of a changing reality is the central motif of Barbara Kasten’s photographs and film installations. Barbara Kasten’s works are produced in an "interdisciplinary performance" between photography, sculpture, architecture, and painting. Since the 1970s, Barbara Kasten has been constructing expansive installations made of architectural “props” such as glass, mirrors, or wood constructions in front of the camera for her abstract "photographs". These theatrical arrangements are restaged with colored light, an approach going back to Barbara Kasten’s roots as a painter and sculptor. During her sojourn in Germany in the 1960s, she intensively engaged with the Bauhaus and modernism’s notions of space, stage, and architecture. While living in Los Angeles in the early 1970s, the "Light and Space Movement" had an influence on her subsequent work. Barbara Kasten’s cross-genre practice, her continued use of analog photographic materials and her "predigital vision" heralding the digital image vocabulary as of Photoshop or 3D rendering influenced a new generation of contemporary artists.
Barbara Kasten was born in the United States in 1936 and lives and works in Chicago. Her works are included in institutional collections such as the Museum of Modern Art New York, the Centre Pompidou Paris, the Tate Modern London, the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum Washington DC, the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California. In 2024 her up-coming solo exhibition is at De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea, UK. Solo exhibitions took place at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany; the Aspen Art Museum (both 2020); the Philara Collection in Düsseldorf, Germany (2018); the ICA Philadelphia (2015), and the MoCA Los Angeles (2016). Her work has been part of international group exhibitions, including "Women in Abstraction" at the Centre Pompidou, the Sharjah Biennial 14, "Bauhaus and America," LWL - Landesmuseum Münster, "History of Photography" at Sprengel Museum Hannover, "Shape of Light" at Tate Modern London, and „Color Mania“ at Fotomuseum Winterthur. Lately the Ingvild Goetz Collection dedicated an extensive solo exhibition to her (2023). In 2023, several works were included in the exhibition "Re-Inventing Piet. Mondrian and the Consequences" at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg (on view through July 16, 2023). Also the publishing house Skira Editore released the large-scale monograph "Barbara Kasten: Architecture & Film (2015-2020)" by Stephanie Cristello (ed.), Hans Ulrich Obrist, Humberto Moro and Mimi Zeiger.