Lost under the Surface
curated by Sabine Schaschl
Museum Haus Konstruktiv honored Austrian artist Brigitte Kowanz with a comprehensive solo exhibition. This retrospective show conveyed how, since the 1980s, Kowanz has been making it possible to experience the medium of light as both a stand-alone phenomenon and an information carrier.
Not all light is the same. This is made apparent in the objects, installations and spatial interventions that Brigitte Kowanz (b. 1957 in Vienna, lives and works in Vienna) has been producing for a good forty years with the use of various light sources. In her comprehensive show at Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Kowanz demonstrated just how diverse this intangible fleeting medium can be. Be it an artistic tool, a medium for information, a means of concealment or an ephemeral phenomenon, light has manifold aspects and functionalities that quickly get lost under the bright surface when observed fleetingly. In the exhibition Lost under the Surface, the title of which comes from a small-format mirror piece with the same name, these were explained and it became possible to experience them with the senses.
Alongside early works, which thematize processes of illumination in particular, numerous works from the subsequent years were presented, in which neon loops for instance, in the form of characters and codes, formulate messages about culture theory and socio-political matters. Especially with works such as these, Kowanz demonstrates that light does not simply act as a neutral vehicle for information, but also plays a decisive role in shaping it. As a whole, this solo show questions fundamental certainties. There is less unambiguous information than we would often wish for – a message that clearly resonates in our supposed “post-truth era”.