Künstlerhaus, Halle für Kunst & Medien

Olivia Kaiser

18 Dec 2015 - 21 Jan 2016

© Olivia Kaiser
Tag und Nacht, 2015
oil on canvas
150 x 200 cm, courtesy the artist
18 December 2015 — 21 January 2016

In her work, the painter Olivia Kaiser (born in 1983 in Vienna, lives in Vienna) is consistently interested in the historical contexts and background of European Modernist avant-garde movements. In the process, wildly sketched formal aspects, techniques, perspectives, and maneuvers in oil on cardboard, canvas, and pencil drawings serve as the foundation for her direct confrontation and rough reconsiderations, while these ideological motivations that accompanied that development of painting during the first half of the twentieth century undergo practical analysis. Political and aesthetic questions, as well as the dangers of narration and subjectivity, mark the center of her painting.
Kaiser’s pictures deal with profound psychosocial conflicts, which—despite their mostly abstract form—filter through and remain legible. The paradoxes of human existence have long been a consistent theme in her selection of motifs: in-between worlds inhabited by both the living and the dead, or the topic of friendship and its inherently antagonistic potential for violence. Her paintings are constructed layer by layer, and during the process are occasionally re-conceived—in some cases over a period of several years. In this way the process of creating the paintings is also a theme, from the ambiguity of the material and its structure to a chromatic back-and-forth.
In her current projects Kaiser is working with series of large-format paintings on canvas, which examine the theme of figures that appear and disappear in painting and drawing. The array of motifs explores the psychosocial and current phenomenon of “ghosting.” This involves the unannounced, total withdrawal of a trusted person, without any real chance of rational reenactment or of contacting the person one was formerly emotionally involved with. The electronic communication spaces remain empty—e-mail inboxes and messaging systems refer only to one’s own final, unanswered message. Addressed to the other, it becomes a flashing totem and with every passing day, transforms into a massive process of questioning the recently shared intimate communication. When trust and friendship are assembled out of connected layers of the known, the unknown, separation and unification, defensiveness, and moments of going beyond oneself, the exhibition “Ghosting” shows how paintings can look when their theme is irrational and abrupt abandonment.

Exhibitions (selected)
Parallel United, Vienna (2015)
“Schlawiener,” Loft8, curated by Esther Attar-Machanek, Vienna (2015)
“Buchstabenfest”, Zollamt, curated by Helene Baur, Radkersburg (2015)
“Blind Date,” Kunstraum Alabama Sir, Leipzig (2015)
“Hier und Jetzt,” Habsburgerwohnung, curated by Renate Quehenberger, Vienna (2014)
“Summer Selection 2014,” curated by Annette Tesarek, Independent Art Gallery, Vienna (2014)
“Triangel,” Künstlerhaus Palais Thurn & Taxis, Bregenz (2013)
“Up and Down and Up,” VBKÖ, Vienna (2012)
“Eine dünne Haut Verantwortung,” the smallest gallery, Graz (2012)
“Collage,” Galerie remixx, Günther Eisenhut, Graz (2012)