Margareta Kern is a visual artist whose work responds to urgent political questions, often drawing on her personal history shaped by migration and conflict. Her projects are developed over extended periods of time, allowing for an immersion into the process of rigorous research, investigative inquiry and experimentation from which the unexpected connections and narratives can emerge. The final works often take a multi-layered form that includes film, photography, installation, drawing, performance and text.
Current projects deal with the politics of making visible new systems of power and violence emerging from a military techno-corporate complex. This new body of work and research currently takes the shape of three related projects: Are You Ready?, Nobody But Us in collaboration with Susan Kelly, and Thursday War.
Kern is currently an artist-in-residence at Birkbeck School of Law in London, 2018-2019. She holds BA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths College and MA in Visual Anthropology, UCL. Her work has been presented across international gallery and educational contexts, including Tate Modern, The Photographers Gallery (London), Whitechapel Gallery (London), Spacex (Exeter), SC Gallery (Zagreb), Impressions Gallery (Bradford), INIVA (London), Shedhalle (Zurich), Photomonth Krakow, Muscarnok (Budapest) and many others. Kern is a recipient of several project grants and awards, including from the National Media Museum, the British Film Institute and in 2013 an international 54th October Salon Award, from the Cultural Centre Belgrade. Most recently Kern was awarded an Arts Council England Project Grant for a new body of work, starting with a new work commission for Whitstable Biennale in June 2018.
Margareta Kern teaches photography at Falmouth University's Institute of Photography.
Originally from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kern has been based in the UK since 1992. She currently lives in Cornwall and London.
“The horrors of necro-capitalism, the history of human violence, and the making economic of horror in slavery and exploitation, are seemingly insurmountable. Yet we must become better readers of images that neutralize us and make us complicit in this violence, and look and think instead towards images of alternative worlds that do not thrive upon and promote violence. Somewhere between acephalism and the many-headed hydra. This position would not pretend that destructive images and actions do not exist, or must be ignored, but rather understands the temptation and power of such a vision of the world. We should not seek to protect ourselves from horrible images, or rely on others to do the hard labour of image selection, but rather cultivate powerful political images that dialectically reverse necro-capitalist desires. Aggression may be a central feature of human life, but it can be addressed if it is understood, and channelled away from cruelty towards compassion and care.”
Nina Power, Necro-capitalism and Counter-images (2018)
Web-site updated April, 2019.