>Who will we have been?<
For the exhibition for OK.kunZT, Veronika Dirnhofer has created several 2.40-meter-high works on paper that float suspended on various levels in the building. During the painting process, the artist was inspired by thinking about – and feeling into – the layers of landscapes.
>Who will we have been?<
Large-format paintings with strong colors change the spacious reception hall of OKZT. We can no longer experience the space without also perceiving the art. For the exhibition for OK.kunZT, Veronika Dirnhofer has created several 2.40-meter-high works on paper that float suspended on various levels in the building. During the painting process, the artist was inspired by thinking about – and feeling into – the layers of landscapes. For her, landscape is not something distant or even separate from us. She feels landscape as something closely connected to us humans, she senses a strong relationship of dependence. For Dirnhofer, who has been dealing with the theme of landscape and “being surrounded” in many of her works for 30 years, no field of work, no private sphere can be thought of, without also thinking of the connectedness with nature: “Every day, the fragility of the thin layer of ‘skin’ of the earth becomes visible and tangible. Today, more than ever, it is a matter of limits of what is possible and of caring for other living beings and life forms.”
The impact of human activities on the Earth is obvious. In the Anthropocene era, the “old” nature is disappearing and the future is uncertain. The boundaries between nature and humans are becoming increasingly blurred and it is becoming clear that our relationship with the environment needs to be rethought. Themes of loss and change show us the need to think about new ideas of coexistence. We must actively imagine and work toward a future in which humans and nature exist in balance and exchange, not separation, Drinhofer is convinced.
An interplay of spaces, contours and blurs and, again and again, a merging of color define the large works on paper in Veronika Dirnhofer’s most recent series, created for this special place: a place of welcome, a place to eat and talk together, a place of collaboration and now also a place to encounter art. Dirnhofer does not have the concrete landscape and its image in mind, but she paints the felt interactions, she is concerned with connectedness and responsibility.
The artist, who feels equally familiar with painting, drawing, ceramics and political activism, asks her audience a question with the title of the exhibition: >Who will we have been?< She thereby takes us into responsibility or – more so – she inspires us to reflect on ourselves in the common, in our “being surrounded”. A quality that seems to be rare nowadays becomes a prerequisite here: “taking time”. Time, for instance, to immerse oneself in the large-format works, which, on closer inspection, oscillate between surface and the underneath, between abstract gesture and concrete fantasy.
An installative setting of books and ceramics placed on top of them gives us hints of scientific and philosophical literature that deals with the crisis of the coexistence of nature and man, with the “Antropocene,” with “critical zones,” and with our earth as the common skin in which we live. Veronika Dirnhofer’s placed ceramics seem fragmented and calm at the same time. In her ceramic works, the artist likes to break with conventions and conventional notions of this technique with its feminine connotations: during processing and firing, parts are repeatedly broken and reassembled; rawness and subtlety result in her own style.
For six months, Veronika Dirnhofer’s artistic intervention changes the view of OKZT’s large communal space and expands it to include the perspective of the shared landscape and responsibility for it.
Abstract painting, drawing and ceramics are used in the artist’s diverse projects. Dirnhofer repeatedly implements site-specific interventions and creates art in public space – gladly in collaboration with colleagues. The artist, who sees social commitment as part of her artistic practice, lives and works in Vienna and Lower Austria and teaches as a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna.