Katrien Baetsle


Spring has not officially started, but already the tables on the terraces herald the beautiful weather. The sun is shining in Ghent, and I have an appointment with Katrien Baetslé.

We meet at her place, in the heart of town.

Good afternoon, Katrien

Hi, it’s Katrien too, I believe?

(Both interviewer and interviewee smile)

I would like to ask you some questions, and through this interview I hope to be able to understand your work better, to be able to place you in it so to speak.

What caught my attention immediately is your choice of this “Interview With Myself”.

Why did you choose this format? Is there a specific reason?

Well, it is so that I deliberately opted for “the interview”. The interview invites me, I should say it even forces me, to look at my work and myself from a distance. The role of interviewer compels me to transpose myself to the role of the layman, the spectator. The role of interviewee forces me to make my artistic language linguistic. I am forced to smooth out the kinks in my brains and pour everything into words. So the interview format has this very important quality: it is a place where at least two different identities meet.

The interview itself does not always center on the personality of the interviewee, between the lines of interviewer and interviewee one can glimpse fragments of their identities, or sense changing emotions, or see a specific cameo role, or read the mood. In addition to the central element of personality, identity, mood, an interview has three other elements which define it. The first is curiosity. The interviewer is curious to find out a certain aspect about the interviewee. In my work, I am always curious to find out about specific personalities, character traits, attitudes. The second element of the interview is that of the quest. An interview, a list of connected questions, can be presented as a quest or search where the interviewer, inspired by curiosity about the other, tries to gain control over (the world of) the interviewee. And this leads us to the last element, control. The interviewer decides on the rules of the game, the limits of the conversation. He can push the conversation in a particular direction, and thus exert a certain control over the interviewee. He can tame the character, he can manipulate the role to his wishes. It can also happen in an interview that the roles are reversed, and that the interviewee takes over the reins of the discussion.