Interview with the artist: Kary Barthelmey

Interview with the artist: Kary Barthelmey


For those who don’t know you: Who is Kary Barthelmey?

Kary Barthelmey is a Luxembourgish photographer, who has always been interested in visual arts. She decided to take her passion to the next level and studied 5 years in Cologne. After her Master Degree in Photography, she went back to Luxembourg and started as a freelance photographer. Events, Fashion- and Beauty-Shoots determine the everyday life of the 27 year old, a perfect mix that never gets boring. “Photoshop” is the keyword to all her personal artworks. Not only for simple beauty retouching but also to create a whole new world, where surrealism meets fashion.

What were your first thoughts when our gallery that specializes in Man & Machine themes invited you for an exhibition?

At the very beginning I was surprised that I have been asked for an exhibition with the theme of machines, because I didn’t see a connection between old rusty machines and my own rather modern flashy photography style. But the second after that I realised that the word “machine” stands for so much more than just gearwheels and factories. Technology is our daily companion. Phone, Laptop, TV… All things we use at least once a day. So I decided to create a little project about Criticism Of The Modern Technology. And hey, Barcelona is nice too!

Kary Barthelmy ©

Can you tell us about the process of making your work?

After a quick brainstorming, I already knew what I wanted to photograph. I remembered sentences from my childhood like “Don’t watch too much television, otherwise your eyes will get squared!” or “Today’s youth, just focused on their phones!”… With Photoshop in my pocket, it was quite easy to visualise these quotes. Before shooting, it was important to explain my idea to the model first, because we took at least 3 different shots per image. These wouldn’t have made any sense if you don’t have the final image in your mind. Just like a puzzle, piece by piece or in this case: photo by photo, I completed the different shots in Photoshop for the final image. As you can see: Sometimes there is an arm getting out of a TV to change the channel or six times the same girl on the same picture…

” [Without technology] my favorite hobby wouldn’t even exist: using Photoshop to create a plastic, superficial world of technology where there is no space for imperfection, just like it is with everyday machines.”

Do you interact with the digital world/technology in your work?

Of course I interact with the digital world, because I use a digital camera to shoot my stuff and a computer for the editing. Without these instruments, it would be impossible to create photos like mine. My favorite hobby wouldn’t even exist: using Photoshop to create a plastic, superficial world of technology where there is no space for imperfection, just like it is with everyday machines.

Kary Barthelmy ©

What visual references do you draw upon in your paintings?

Criticism of something, in this case criticism of the modern technology, is rather a pessimistic theme. So I wanted an opposite picture style to this negativity; flashy colors and superficial expressions on beautiful models. What reference could have been more obvious than Barbie?

Some of my favorite photographers like Tony Kelly, Eli Rezkallah or Ellen Von Unwerth are always a huge inspiration to me. They all have a playful, plastic and beautiful style, but never use Photoshop in a surrealistic way like I do. So I combined a little bit of every photographic aspect to get the result that you can see at the Gallery Ex Machina in Barcelona!

All images belong to artist Kary Barthelmey.


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