Soul of a City An art project by Natascha Küderli

Soul of a City An art project by Natascha Küderli

Soul of a City An art project by Natascha Küderli

Natascha Küderli

Architect and Artist

Drei verschiedene Portraits von Natascha Küderli, von Fotograf Matthias Fuchs
photos: Matthias Fuchs

Natascha Kuederli is a swiss artist. She was born 30.07.1970 in Zürich, daughter of a German mother and a Swiss father. She lives and works in Munich, Germany. After an education as a potter, she studied architecture 1992-96 at Erfurt-College of higher education and 1997-99 at The Berlage Institute (Center for Advanced Studies in Architecture and Urban Design) in Amsterdam. 2000 she worked for the Creative Arts Department, More than Gold, at the Olympic Games in Sydney and 2006-2010 for the architectural office SEP (City Development Planning) in Munich. 

Since 2010 she works as a fulltime artist in the area of photography and film. She developed her own individual concept, based on observations of form, light, space and structure and placing the focus of her analog photography on narrative processes. Her works tell visually complex stories of people, cities and landscapes.

artist portrait Natascha Küderli

Artist Statement

As a trained ceramicist and architect, l am and have always been inspired by shapes and their changes, structures and materials. On this subject, see transformation and space, and on the subject of light and space, see spaces and light and space.

At the same time, I have concerned myself for many years with cities, their soul and their spiritual atmosphere. In Amsterdam from 1997 to 1999, I grappled with the soul of architecture because I wanted to know why certain buildings arouse emotions such as fascination and pleasure, but also unease or even fear, within me. I was absorbed by the essence in architecture: What is it that moves us humans and what makes certain rooms, buildings and cities so unique? Most of all what is actually the soul?

While searching for the definition of the soul in religion, psychology and philosophy, I came to the conclusion that the soul consists of mind, will and emotion. This led me to the realisation that while architecture per se (steel, concrete, brick, wood, …) does not have a soul, the person who builds, or built, the edifice in question does. The architect and the building owner/client have a soul, and this is reflected in the buildings. In the same way, every visitor to and observer of a building or a city has a soul and, consequently, perceives the building and the space in his or her own way – and for me, this is how the perception takes shape with art, too.

I think that with cities, this functions in a slightly different way. While looking for answers to the question of why there are different strengths and weaknesses in cities that cannot always be resolved by architectural alterations and interventions, a thought occurred to me: 

„If the soul of a human being can be healed, why not the soul of a city?“ For cities were founded, built and expanded by people and are inhabited by people. In this way, I compare a city’s soul with that of a person. The same applies for the body and spirit, in other words the spiritual atmosphere of a city. Soon more about this, when my book „The Soul of a City“ is published.

In my art, I deal with themes such as movement, structure, levels and layers in natural surroundings and in cities. I do this because nature, the cities and the spiritual atmosphere, just like our body, our soul and our spirit, are multilayered. At these levels and between these layers there is movement in the form of change, re-formation and transport.

Movement tells, supplies, changes, moves, invigorates, dances. Irrespective of whether or not I am now going to grapple with the movement levels in a city like Berlin or with the soul of a city like Amsterdam, I feel that these two elements are associated with one another. The soul of a city is laid out „in historical levels“, the transport of a city in „physical levels“. In the process, the transport strikes me not as going into the depths of the soul, but as invigorating and supplying the entire body of a city. If the traffic fails to function, in a manner comparable to veins and arteries, a city can die just like a body. The soul behaves in a similar way. If a person’s soul is sick or injured, the whole person is affected and this has an impact on his or her surroundings. This is the case with cities, too.


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Thanks to my team and the representative protagonists

Angelika Schindel, Mirjam Medema, Dr.Ayça Beygo, Jürgen Klammt, Oliver Tataru, Dr. Martina Taubenberger, Michael Winkler, Claudia Neeser