German artist Katrin Alvarez’s mixed media works are both troubling and engaging, as they combine Salvador Dali’s surreal imagery and the jarring ruptures of Hannah Höch’s Dada collages. Most of Alvarez’s pieces incorporate two- and three-dimensional materials, creating a tension between surface and relief, representation and abstraction. This tension makes her artworks recognizable to a point, yet impossible to interpret completely.
This incongruity in Alvarez’s materials extends to the thematic contents of her work. She uses a surrealist’s vocabulary, dealing in the myths and archetypes of dreams and psychoanalysis. Yet amidst the images of modern society’s melancholy and dark psychic underbelly, Katrin Alvarez incorporates deeply personal narratives. She treats her private issues through her art, all the while appealing to culture-wide problems. Not only do her images depict her inner demons, the disjointed ways she juxtaposes these personal problems with cultural crises suggests that the two are fundamentally related. Representations of her small inner universe always seem to reflect the dynamics of the greater whole.