Brigitte Kowanz


27 Apr - 24 May 2017

Brigitte Kowanz - Re_Union , installation view
27 April – 24 May 2017

On the occasion of Brigitte Kowanz’s presentation at the Austrian Pavilion at the 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia Galerie Krinzinger is showing the artist’s most recent series of works along with several selected older pieces.

The title of the exhibition Re_Union allows for two different readings. On the one hand, it points to the beginning of the artist’s trajectory and to Galerie Krinzinger, the gallery where the artist’s first solo show took place. On the other hand, the title refers to the subject matter of Brigitte Kowanz’s most recent body of works, namely Cables.

In these pieces, the artist explores the further development of her own idiom under the sway of data transfer, information, the Internet, globalization and virtual spaces.

Since the early days of her artistic practice, Kowanz has focussed on addressing visibility, perception and the production of meaning – all of this in the tradition of a critical reflection of the media. In her latest pieces, her interest has turned more to the digital revolutions of recent decades and their repercussions on society and on our perception of space. New media, virtual network spaces and post-analogous communication have brought forth new societal forms. In Re_Union the artist explores what divides and what connects us in today’s world. In several of the exhibited pieces, as for instance, Treaty of Rome 25.03.1957, she expresses her concern about the collapse of the European Union.

By working with light and mirrors – along with Morse codes and her own specific aesthetic style which has developed over the last thirty years – Brigitte Kowanz generates infinite virtual spaces in which the visitors are confronted with socio-political issues. The viewers see themselves reflected in the surface of a mirror, which literally becomes transformed into a medium of reflection.

With her artistic oeuvre Brigitte Kowanz assumes a unique position in contemporary art. Her work can be described as conceptual poetry. Light as the origin of all life represents, for her, information, design of space-time. Since the 1980s, light has been central in her work as an artistic medium, which she explores in relation to space and in combination with signs, codes and language.

For Brigitte Kowanz light is a means for transcending boundaries and elaborating artistic expression. She questions the conventional understanding of imagery and painting and forges a new integrative relationship between work, space and viewer. Light makes everything visible, while at the same time remaining invisible itself. Light defines places but has no place itself. Kowanz explores the unfathomable and ephemeral with analytic passion. Light is impossible to pin down, light is in flux, light is certainly ubiquitous.

Tapping into the conceptual dimension but also the poetic allusions of her objects and installations, the artist examines the mechanisms of language. To this reciprocal reflection of light and language, she often adds real mirrors, so that reality and virtual reflection merge and the boundaries between artwork and viewer become blurred in the work exhibited. Kowanz uses mirrors as a kind of meta-medium of visual rendition, in the sense that mirrors, through the merging of real space and virtual space, bring forth an infinite number of images, breaking spatial boundaries and rendering them immaterial. Light, language and mirror constitute three elements which, when combined, enhance ad infinitum the possibilities of self-transcendence and fusion.

Brigitte Kowanz *1957 in Vienna.

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