Exhibition: “STRATIFIED. Fragmentierte Welt(en)”
curated by: Günther Oberhollenzer and Sandra Schwender
Opening: January 31, 2017, 7pm
duration: February 1, 2017 – April 8, 2017
The exhibition has been extended until April 8, 2017!!!
Artists: Alexandra Baumgartner, Astrid Busch, Sophie Dvořák, Karen Elliot, Bernhard Hosa, Moni K. Huber, Anna Maria Kowalsky, Andrea Maria Krenn, Claudia Larcher, Larissa Leverenz, Micha Payer + Martin Gabriel, Thomas Riess, Veronika Schubert, Gabi Trinkaus, Vanessa von Heydebreck, Sinta Werner, Nives Widauer and Anita Witek
Program at the opening: January 31, 2017, 7pm, Guided tour with the curators and artists
Program during the exhibition: February 02, 2017, 4pm, Guided tour with curator Sandra Schwender // March 3, 2017, 6pm, Guided tour with curator Günther Oberhollenzer
Artists talk: March 25, 2017, 4pm, with Larissa Leverenz, Thomas Riess, Gabi Trinkaus and Günther Oberhollenzer
Finissage: April 8, 2017
4.30pm Guided tour in Italian with Serena Fanara, 5.30pm Italian Aperitivo
Collage in its different facets and forms has existed in visual art for more than a hundred years. Nevertheless, it is surprising how diverse, extraordinary and inventive the artistic collage in contemporary art can be. It ranges from the “classical” paper, graphic or painterly collage to digital photomontages, large-scale objects, as well as sound and film collages. With works by 18 artists, the exhibition “STRATIFIED. Fragmentierte Welt(en)” aims to present many facets of collage in contemporary art. In addition, it seeks to illustrate its constant re-evaluation and expansion in contemporary media. Particularly in times of great uncertainty and sensory overload by media, we seem to perceive the world increasingly fragmented, and because of all these images and informations, collage becomes an adequate medium to approach these realities.
The starting material for Alexandra Baumgartner‘s works are anonymous photographs and magazine clippings. By re-arranging these found templates and objects, the artist creates a new context and alters their original statement or content, which is not particularly important to her. She rather tries to filter a certain emotional state as well as a new thematic and/or formal context. Thus, subconscious tones play an important role for Alexandra Baumgartner: by adapting and re-arranging the starting material with interventions such as retouching, overpainting, burn marks, sewing thread, she senses premonitions and explores absurd, disturbing moments and moods.
In Astrid Busch‘s space installations, color, light and shadow form a collage – a kind of backdrop, that can be experienced as a dynamic optical illusion. “In my site-specific installations, I examine architectural, historical and social contexts as well as their physical conditions. By creating a density of fragments, I reflect on the location with its various layers and memorial structures, in order to segment the real and to create new associations. In my work for das weisse haus in Vienna, I overpainted, sprayed and cross-faded set pieces from advertising, media and industry. By fragmentation and re-contextualization, I create a new context, in which abstract forms and minimalistic signs enter into a dialogue with the architecture of the exhibition space.”
In meticulous detail work Sophie Dvořák systematically dismantles encyclopaedias, maps and illustrated books from the 20th century. In her collages, she arranges these numerous details into a poetic density. For the series “Disruptions”, the artist creates constructivist, cracked map images, which are related to the geometric and semantic aspect of cartographic presentation by overlapping basic geometric forms – especially the triangle, as an essential element of the land survey (triangulation) –, the cmyk colors and individual text fragments.
By using a collective pseudonym, Karen Elliot eludes the rules and rituals of the art market. She refuses to give a biography or any references to her (artistic) career, as well as indicating herself at openings. Thus, the collective could be understood as collage, as several protagonists are creating an artwork. For Karen Elliot, the collages and bricolages represent “the image of our fragmented world. They are present and feminist, as well as transformation processes with existing resources of this world.” From these collected materials that already bear a story – such as books, traditional handcrafting, old photographs and new art catalogs – she creates narrative images, three-dimensional collages and pseudo-sacral objects.
“There is a large gap between a pipe dream and the cold concrete, between creative longing and the bitter truth – and that’s exactly where my art works originate from. Their basis are severe emotions, bare facts and a great deal of irony,” recalls Vanessa von Heydebreck. In the piece “The Dollhouse” she creates new worlds and playfully hides various metaphors, perspectives and viewpoints, in order to make our world more understandable.
The photo montages “Dissection” by Bernhard Hosa seem like puzzles, that are composed into a new picture. The black-and-white photographs were taken from a 1920s illustrated book, overpainted and folded. Viewed from a distance they look like maps, due to the spots and traces of paint. “Even if you don’t know that the photos depict people in psychiatric institutions, and only hands and fragments of hospital furniture and clothing are shown, they lead to discomfort – despite their cool aesthetics and formal legibility.” (Ingeborg Erhart)
From her small-scale watercolors on the walls, Moni K. Huber creates large collages, which then function as a whole piece. In her works she deals with architecture, submerged utopias and nature. “For me, the painting process is deliberate strategy between painting and photography and thus also a reflection on narrative, time and history. I intend to create the feeling of desire and the pleasure of seeing.”
„Fragmentary Deconstructions“ is a self-portrait series by Anna Maria Kowalsky, in which she deals with the self-staging of an individual. Never before, it has been easier to present oneself according to your own wishes and ideals, so the artist. “The number of images in which a person only fragmentarily corresponds to what constitutes his/her real nature is increasing.” In her works Anna Maria Kowalsky deals with various forms of disintegration and decomposition. The emptiness of self-presentation – that is mainly a mask and façade – can be experienced by the viewer. “If the focus is on the self-image, the substance seems to evaporate.”
Andrea Maria Krenn sets, layers, arranges and locates geometric pieces of paper into small spatial worlds. The collages she created in 2016 are called “Planet”, which seem to keep planetary secrets in a completely abstract form. The overlapping surface frameworks and architecturally appealing paper formations are centered and encircled, in order to create an inner environment for atmospheric stars, full of tension and poetry.
In her collages, Claudia Larcher mainly works with the principle of montage. Due to the abstract sound fragments and depicted objects that she uses, the digitally produced videos appear as video-animations. Her series called “Baumeistercollagen“ are composed of either historical or current architecture magazines. By removing the text blocks, the artist reveals the gaze of the pages below.
Larissa Leverenz’s art leads us out of the everyday into a world of surreal, strange beauty. The thin wooden panels with their natural grain and structure form the background for her paintings, drawings, prints and collages. Sometimes, she carves the plates or extends them into spatial, installative works. The multi-perspective pictorial spaces in which the characters are placed remind of stage productions. While the artist functions as quizmaster and director, no stories are performed, rather scene images and fragments are presented. With her tragicomical approach, she tries „to give an idea of the origin and nature of ourselves.”
The works by Micha Payer and Martin Gabriel are characterized by amazingly diverse and detailed drawings. “We understand our drawings as an amalgamation of different worlds, as a synopsis, thus an overarching view”, so the artist couple. Their graphic collages are composed from found and stored images, that are fragments of different times, worlds and media. “Not only, they are reflections of a long process, but they are a world of their own, as our artistic practice is a way to create worlds.”
“We find ourselves permanently subjected to an exuberant suggestive flood of images and media”, explains Thomas Riess. “With analytical observations, I dive into these everyday stimuli, in order to collect what I perceive and to use it as inspiration for my artistic interpretation.” These collected items are the source of inspiration and work material for his art. Thomas Riess works at the intersection of painting, graphics, mixed media and video, and seeks to “question our reference to reality” by a self-determined perception. He subtly changes these found images by collage, overpainting or graphic additions and thus creates new contexts.
For many years, Veronika Schubert has been collecting language in form of separated sentences. Her focus is primarily on sentences, that originate from media, genre-analysis as well as the principle of communication. Whereas the piece “Zur Person” was created by a hundred digitalized newspaper headlines. Time-lapse recordings of cloud formations serve as a basis for the video animation “In erster Linie”, in which their shape were engraved into more than 3000 glass plates. “These lines make you no longer think of clouds, but rather resemble of borderlines on maps.” The additional sound-collage is based on sentences that are extracted from news programs on Austrian television. They reflect “the helplessness and incapacity of the government”, the artist recall. “Whereas politicians hide behind hollow phrases and platitudes, television responds with repeated wordings.”
Gabi Trinkaus cuts up glossy magazines into small pieces, using them as source material for her city landscapes which refer to the aesthetics of advertising and mass media. By newly arranging these singly fragments, the artist creates new contexts and associations enticing the beholder into a visual trap.
Sinta Werner’s installations and collages aim to redefine space and challenge our perception. In particular, the transformation of the three-dimensional space into the two- dimensional image and vice versa, allows errors that cause disruptions and irritations. Thus the paper work “Filmriss” illustrates the course of an image from a coastal panorama to an abstract convolution, that is well known from old cameras. In the picture object “Blickwechsel”, the two photographs enter into a dialogue, reinforced by the two glass panes, which build their own architecture and framework.
Nives Widauer’s artistic work includes photography, video, painting and sculpture and evokes associations to the collage technique. The artist is especially fascinated in finding those correlations, that are not evident at first. She calls herself a collector whose large archive contains self-made movies, images and impressions of everyday life: From old video-tapes she built a bench seat that was then casted in bronze and is now on display at das weisse haus. This collection is the fundus and inspiration for her work. With open eyes and curiosity, she seeks to intervene in the existing and ordinary by combining and recreating new images out of it.
The difference between reality and representation, between original and reproduction is the starting point for Anita Witek’s artistic practice. Whereas the material originates from print media and commercials, her main interest lies in the back drop, the set pieces, as well as the repeating elements in picture arrangements. These fragmented elements serve as a construction set for her montages, in which she layers the different parts on top of each other, photographs them and reuses them for new constellations. The world created by the artist is solely existing in the photographic image. In addition, Anita Witek uses the three-dimensional space, in order to turn the spatial experience into an actual event, like the installation on display at das weisse haus.
Special thanks to: