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Birgit Schwaner

A Note on Elisabeth Wedenig's exhibition

From a distance, and only from a distance, can sentences and titles like those of Elisabeth Wedenig come into being: Someone must take care of the stars or compositions such as Sternengärtner (Star Gardener). Both are very poetic formulations playing with star metaphors, suggesting to us that we haven't known for a long time already that the word refers to dead piles of stones floating in space infinite light years away. These formulations want their contradictoriness to be taken figuratively, including the charm and freedom of futility and uselessness of the poetic act. Who could take care of the stars, and who would demand this (mental?) activity anyway? Who else but a fool or a sage, in the best sense of the word? Or a paintress in a waking dream. Elisabeth Wedenig gave this title to one of her large-format oil paintings, which she fastens directly on the wall, like a cloth.

In the midst of a gloomy and blurred landscape of colors bleeding together: black, blue, violet, white. You see a woman standing. She wears an apron and holds in her hands what seems to be a colorful, star-shaped, actually amorphous formation. Yes, it appears that she is indeed holding rays of color – most easily compared to tufts of feathers … The objective and the abstract are condensed into a world in abeyance, in which light (white) enters, perhaps even breaking it apart. And the light dissolves the apron woman, makes her fade, like a memory … the memory of a dream.

Dream: this is one of the keywords to describe the work of the artist, born 1980 in Carinthia, Austria. In a contemporary succession to the Surrealists, she works "with her dreams. This means that in some ways, she keeps a record of her dreams." (Martin Adel) She paints "dream images", addressing time and time again the dark side of the consciousness. Dreams are journeys into the subconscious. In the best case, they are encounters with the yonder, which is – whether the way leads "outward" or "inward" – always one's own, the yonder of the "I". And this leads us to the second keyword: Elisabeth Wedenig is a traveler, a world traveler. In this exhibit, several small works on handkerchiefs remind us of the fact that a part of her work was created on journeys, showing extracts of things perceived, as if in a sketch for a travel diary. Fleetingly grasped. On handkerchiefs? Yes, found objects, objets trouvés, become the base textile for small paintings in mixed media. Schafschlaf (Sheepsleep) oscillates between ornament and animal, as does Madonna mit ohne Kind (Madonna with without Child), textile and image motif always in symbiotic relationship … Only from far away does one notice the next. And so the paintings close: like dreams, like small, illuminated moments. For the observer: an invitation to travel?

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