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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Isabel Czerwenka-Wenkstetten

Inner City,
Austria

Isabel Czerwenka-Wenkstetten (ICW) started her motion-interaction- and aesthetic-experimental works in her childhood with glass and metalware. Her humanistic (French school in Vienna) and natural-science background (degree from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna) influence her art work noticeably. Since 1999 she has been organizing and implementing art projects with exhibitions in Austria, Germany, Poland, India, Nigeria, the UK, the United States and Palestine. She is also a founding-member of fishpool- aquarium for art and social affairs since 2006.

Her art education began at the Slade, University College, London, UK (“Alternate Foundation”/ Visual Arts) followed up by studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna and a degree from the University of Applied Arts, Vienna. ICW was born in Vienna, 1969. She lives and works in Vienna, Austria and the United States.

Feminist Artist Statement

I am one of the few who believe we all are in a time in which the fourth order, even a fifth wave of feminism is operative. In my work, where these ideas are reflected, I am interested in highlighting spaces with their structures. Our spaces originated in historic times when patriarchal values were predominant. Feminist approaches are necessary to give space to other life-affirming values that have been pushed aside or dangerously forgotten.

My work explores and lets viewers explore inner, exterior, and in-between spaces and limits, boundaries, as well as different structures, grown or man-made, which mirror the patriarchal approaches we have slowly grown out of over the past century. I see myself as part of a long chain and broad field of processes and views. And yes, a break with old habits of structuring time and space is now necessary in order to really achieve a new status and generalized flow through feminist energies that are today driven by women and men.

The curiosity towards the unknown, the fear of the unknown, prejudices and their decomposition, taking up different perspectives, other points of view, processes of rapprochement and of letting go, integrations, spatial experiences, but also the sensual experiences of materials and space and the driving force longing are the main topics in my work. These topics also influence my selecting specific raw-materials for my artwork. You will see mirrors, glass and silicone, material and immaterial pictures, analog and digital photographs transformed into collage as well as my empirical studies of cultures which give rise to a new artistic statement.

I form two to four-dimensional artworks that often are interactive, inviting contemplators to get involved. “The perceived gets re-mirrored. Reflections in new contexts show new constellations and moving pictures, modulated through light and shadow with time. Everything flows, universal flux, panta rhei, and yes, dark and light flow in the same directions.”

<p>KUENSTLERMILCH / ARTIST’S MILK</p>

KUENSTLERMILCH / ARTIST’S MILK

Performance about the need of nourishing ourselves from what we find in ourselves, especially in a phase of drastic change or crisis, as an artist and as a human being. Photographed by Klaus Pichler and filmed by Ilse Chlan at Sala Terrena, Vienna, 2012

KUENSTLERMILCH / ARTIST’S MILK

Performance about the need of nourishing ourselves from what we find in ourselves, especially in a phase of drastic change or crisis, as an artist and as a human being. Photographed by Klaus Pichler and filmed by Ilse Chlan at Sala Terrena, Vienna, 2012

collagen_comfort (detail)

A stool illuminated from the inside with a sign in front that reads “Please sit down“ invites the visitors to repose and to approach a material little-known. The seat cushion is made of breast implants. The perfect breasts, trying to give comfort, through all sorts of associations like being loved and attractive, motherliness, a feeling of security and ideal beauty.

updressed singles (detail)

Reflecting the desire towards perfection and individualization. The breastimplants are confronting us with the beauty, the artificial beauty, the beauty craze and the displeasure with the nature. “The upressed singles“ with their evening dress appear like medals.

Someone, behind clothing, 2012, Project Veiled- It is only a piece of clothing

Veiled, in chadors, ICW and her collegue Greta Znojemsky visited worthwile sights in Vienna, Austria. In the course of that performance, video, and photography based project, men and women were invited to join for a walk, wearing borrowed chadors. Covered from head to toe. Personally hidden but very visible at the same time. In cooperation with Greta Znojemsky.

Triptychon der Spiegelglasschmelze (detail)

This work consists of three eyes-high mounted and eye-sized mirrors in glass-boards. What do we see in mirrors, in these mirrors? These mirrors, after excess-warmth and embracement by glass for a certain time, changed their ability to reflect the eyes of the spectator clearly. They tell new stories. Photograph: Josef Leodolter.

Getting a Picture

A TV hangs on the wall. Its screen, made of reflecting material, is distorted and distorting. Distorting the reality in front of it. The object and installation invites the visitor and spectator to experiment with distances and heights which can be, for example, upsetting or amusing. It also brings people together through the invitation to play with and question the reflected and distorted reality, as shown on TV.

Golden Transfusions Work #1

Art from under the skin. As the result of a performance, specially donated and measured blood of the artist was drawn and painted on acrylic, in double sided frames of mosaics made of broken mirrors. The elixir of life, now visible, echoes the solidarity of the people. And in the right constellation it can save lives. This connection is reflected in the materialization of the blood as a graph with lines and dots. The preciousness of blood, that liquid we all have in common, is manifested by the integration of 24 carat gold on the thin acrylic skin-like surface. Photograph: Joseph Leodolter.

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