© 2020 by Karin Bartels

website menu knop.png
  • Instagram

Is an artist from the Netherlands with a background in graphic design, fashion, contemporary jewellery, live works and contemporary art. She is based in the south of the Netherlands, but lost her heart to Paris.

The practice of Karin Bartels is process and research based. It arises by operating in daily life. Central to the development of the work are the results coming from subjective micro research in public space. She observes, creates small interventions, makes and collects maps, clippings, sketches, drawings, takes photographs, makes screenshots and writes notes of her chance encounters for example. She also searches for and collects small objects, toys (novelty)

jewellery and other materials at flea markets, vintage and secondhand stores. Karin considers jewellery and objects the ultimate media of subjectivity, open for anyone to project ones imagination, stories, memories and personal histories on. The negative space that these objects possess – invisible; existing in memory or imagination - is the most exciting part of a piece to her, because it reaches beyond it’s materiality and material value. There within lies a hint of poetry,

a vessel of potential narrative, as in Proust's madeleine.

By incorporating found, lost, obsolete and damaged objects as part of her practice, she questions and reflects on the way we produce and value our belongings in the age of mass production and consumption.

Karin has an eye for design, elegance and style, but is just as much invested in playful, quirky, imaginative and offbeat combinations of ideas. She archives all the bits and pieces that speak to her from the world around her, both online and offline. Switching gears between high and low culture.

This expanding archive then functions as building material for her interactive Atlases. The Atlas structure begins as a chain of related and non-related topics and grows into a rhizomatic

web of information by association using her imagination

and chance. Through these Atlases she searches for the

meaning of the collected information and tries to discover

whether there is a coherence between the alternative knowledge that she generates. In part these Atlases are

a work in their own right, sometimes open to participants or joined in the form of a lecture or a narrative, but they

also serve as a source to develop new projects or works.

There is no meaning if meaning is not shared, and not because there would be an ultimate or first signification that all beings have in common, but because meaning is itself the sharing of Being. ​

-   Jean-Luc Nancy (Being Singular Plural)

Atelier view Karin Bartels

Is a space for artistic research, experimentation and imagination. Set up by Bartels in an attempt to articulate and enclose the fringes in the scope of her artistic practice. To explore the absurd, bizarre, boring and (un)usual fascinations at a certain point in time. To dive into the potential of fragmentary bits an pieces, creating analogies between 

concepts, questions and ideas. Blurring fiction and reality, where nothing is what it seems and vice versa.

Serious play or playful seriousness.

Schmilblique derived from Schmilblick

The Schmilblick is an imaginary object created by the French humorist Pierre Dac during the 1950s. It is absolutely useless, and can therefore be used for anything, being rigorously entire. Pierre Dac himself credits the brothers Jules and Raphaël Fauderche with its invention.


The word quickly became very popular in French language and was sometimes used as a synonym for thing or stuff, or something designating a strange or unknown object. Nowadays, this word is frequently used to refer to some limited help provided by someone to solve a difficult problem. The idiom is actually 'Faire avancer le schmilblick' (To make the schmilblick move/get ahead, literally). Also, advancing a subject.

Collection of Novelty Jewellery, backsides, Trouvé