Born in Austria with German citizenship (Austrian mother, German father), I grew up in a small, rural village on the border of Austria and Germany. From childhood, I have faced (national and personal) liminality and hybridity, which have helped to shape my identity and play a formative role in my artistic approach over recent years.Whether drawing, writing, or creating spatial installations, an affinity for paper and ballpoint pen is always evident in my work. My drawings feature a constant succession of ballpoint pen strokes of equal length and depth, filling a format. Technically, this stroke play is a minimalist ornament. I also frequently use text to contextualise my drawings.Full Text
My basic concepts are ornamentation, landscape* and texture, and their relationships / alliances in transcultural contexts.
The exploration of repetitive structures – removed from Western ideas of decoration – led me to Beijing in 2008 and from then to the present, my interest in China has continued to develop. My current approach involves working with ink and ballpoint pen on Chinese rice papers (cultural carrier). I try to follow and listen to its material logics – in a transferred sense (expanding the Micro- to the Macrocosm), this is how I’d like to treat the environments I live in and the people I live with.
My approach is aligned with New Materialisms in the field of art(theory)** and subsequently the philosophical and aesthetical ideas of ‘Daoism’ (way of life).The drawings mediate an implicit communication with this aspect of Chinese culture, rather than (super)imposing dominant cultural values. The ornament weaves cultures together: Oriental and Occidental.
** see Power of Material – Politics of Materiality, Kerstin Starkemeier a. Susanne Witzgall, diaphanes, 2014
Living and working in Europe, China and Australia naturally involves negotiating different cultural settings. This constant feeling of otherness prompted me to adopt strategies to orientate myself – to explore different methods of approximation specific to the (cultural) ‘field’. Moreover, since 2008, I have consciously adopted the role of a proband, living nomadically. This ongoing movement mirrors my drawing’s stroke play and provides distance for reflection; it is also a strategic tool to evoke void and to create desire for the places and people I am separated from – both of which animate my work.
Since 2008, I have lived nomadically (with a base in Berlin from 2014) and the landscapes i draw do not directly represent any of the cities I live in (big busy cities: Berlin 3,5M, Beijing 20M, Perth 2,2 M); culturally these 3 cities are incredibly different and, superficially, seem to have no relation to each other, but the smaller areas, (in Berlin slang) ‘Kiez’, I chose to live in, show recurring aspects: they are closely linked to the city, but they offer me the possibility to ‘escape’– they are my ‘retreat’. Maybe there’s a park (one of my upcoming projects 2017 will be entitled ‘Hide Park’ referring to ‘Hyde Park’ in my neighbourhood Northbridge in Perth), or there’s a lake like in Berlin-Weissensee or they simply remind me of the foggy mystical landscape I grew up in in Upper Austria…
I think the latter basically shaped my senses. Over the years, I developed a specific interest in a certain kind of ‘romantic’ landscape imagery, which in turn informed a selective view of how I view landscapes, and how I finally create images myself.
In my artistic practice, I search for repetitive patterns in ’city-/landscapes’ in the different cultural settings I move between. I also try to explore what makes me feel comfortable within a particular landscape* – in other words what makes me feel at home.
* landscape, in my understanding: 1. particular environment/field/context, incl. sozio-political, cultural fabrics/texture 2. metaphor for ‘ornament, i.e., a repetitive, endless structure stemming from and returning to emptiness