85 x 265 x 13 cm
LED, acrylic glass
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by Christa and Wolfgang Häusler, Häusler Contemporary Zürich
Connect the Dots
In her work, the Austrian artist Brigitte Kowanz (born 1957 in Vienna, Austria) focuses on one of the most wondrous phenomena of all: light. For the past forty-plus-years, Kowanz has appropriated this elusive phenomenon – this immaterial substance capable of conveying information – as an artistic medium to formulate messages and to design and create spaces by forming it into objects, installations, spatial interventions, and art-in-architecture projects.
After studying at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna from 1975 to 1980, where she was later appointed Professor of Transmedia Art in 1997, Kowanz began using the medium of light in the late 1980s – first in the form of bottles filled with fluorescent paint and fluorescent lamps, then in transparent mirrors and glass panels. This set the course of her art for the coming years. Instead of having clearly distinct phases, her work is rather characterized by the repeated use and continued development of similar techniques and formulations.
“Licht ist was man sieht” (1994/2019) is the title of a series that expresses the simplicity and complexity of this medium. Although we may see the sources of light, light itself is invisible. Is light therefore what is not invisible? In Kowanz’s works, light is given a language and form through letters/writing and Morse code. Her work “Connect the Dots” (2018) is a Morse code translation of a quote from a speech Steve Jobs held at Stanford University in 2005. In his speech, Jobs talks about the decisions he made in his life and that, looking back, he saw these as milestones in his career by connecting the dots. Similar to not knowing how the dots connect until you can look back, Kowanz’s installation is also not legible at first glance. It is not until we realize it is in Morse code and decode the signs – in other words, connect all the dots (and dashes) – that we are able to understand that it spells “connect the dots.” In a way, this is true for all history, including art history. As a keeper of the heritage of Constructivist and Concrete Art, Museum Haus Konstruktiv also connects the dots in this history. As we continue to explore this in new ways, we can only regard it from today’s perspective. We can only look back.
Ruth C. Kistler