If you're an artist, what kind of art do you make?
Installation, Painting, Photography, Video
an artist, my studio :near vienna(bergstr.70, 2102 hagenbrunn)
my gallery: youngaustrianart ,barbara preyer
breitegasse 19, 1070 wien www.youngaustrianart.com
About my artwork
Notes on a journey
into art and realities
By Lucas Gehrmann
A journey through Karin Maria Pfeifer´s world of images and pictures starts in a good mood,
regardless where we begin. Rosy stuffed toy animals, colourful children drawings, cuddly doll´s houses, a bathroom transformed into a light-filled room inviting us to dream, clownlike garden gnomes.....pass us by and now and then someone waves to us, although there is no fire engine, like in the introductory scene of “Blue Velvet”.
Forget that film, let´s listen to the tour guide who tells us that she wants to take the grown-ups back to the long buried child´s world of phantasies, dreams and various realities that exist there. At least part of the way – since she is no longer a child herself and the language of that time and age, - richly coloured and shaded, - has been overlaid and superimposed by one tinted in black and white. This is the language of those who explain the world and its system in a voice with greatest conviction.
Without any arrogance she adds that as an artist she has a thin thread which connects the language of logic, science, technology......with the language of emotions, subjectivity, creativity..... She has always guarded it as a precious medium that has helped her to regard certain unseful or even true things from different perspectives, from below, behind or even from a slanting angle. Situations then appear much less as unquestionable facts, but as interesting matters that can now be questioned and scrutinized and so become subjects of communication.
Those are not the exact words of the artist – I, author of this text, have made notes as a traveller through her artistic landscape. Mainly I jot down what comes close to my own ideas and imagination, or in any case what I can grasp.
In the biography of the artist, who is our careful and attentive guide, I find out that she was not only occupied with art, but has completed also her medical studies. Though I have no idea of medicine, I think that precisely this subject demands the command of various “languages” in order to comprehend the complexity of connected physical and psychological phenomenons, which meet in each individual.
Furthermore the study of medicine calls for any amount of “logical” discipline, which artists only dealing with art are not required to go through. Therefore I believe our artist and guide is particularly qualified in regard to “multi-linguality”, although she does not declare herself as physician.
We stop in front of a picture of a frog. It´s not the picture of a real frog, but a toy frog that can be wound up. A video-loop by Anna Jermolaewa comes to my mind, showing a rewindable toy, rattling for a while, without revealing who winds it up. Who or what sets this seemingly living organism into a (mechanical) movement? Karin Maria Pfeifer´s “frog” does not move, but is shown from three angles – from the front, the side and from the back.
The triptychon is part of a series called “Wanted”. Also Minni Mouse and Bee Maja can be found in the card index. Viewing them from the front they look at us smilingly. For the first time fellow travellers express a kind of indignation. What offence can those three have committed? One fellow traveller comments that he has read once that Maja´s author joined the NSDAP (nationalist party under Hitler) and perhaps, therefore....
Nonesense, replies another one, adding that Maja was a socialist, fighting against the Queen and on behalf of the working bees in the state! That monarchy was organized as matriarchy instead of a patriarchy, where men were considered a laughing stock without any decision making power, like lazy Willie, someone else remarked. A graduate from the Städelschule, Frankfurt, comes up with the idea to let the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Protection of Animals) take care of the animals. All agree and having written a petition including all the signatures the journey can continue.
The group then passes along a number of pictures, which some interpret as cartoons of unknown boxers. The man in front of me murmurs that it would only make sense if the person or event shown in the cartoon were generally known. The tour guide turns around and responds that there are publicly known situations which can be characterized in an anonymous personification. The persons represented are all male, without exception, although not exactly of the athletic-masculine type, nor do they come up to the appealing ideal of their species. Do you want to say, the man in front counters, that boxing is in a bad way, because boxers only flaunt their exterior and not their inner attitude? An elderly lady with hat comments that she feels men only think in 0-1-mode: victory or defeat, power or powerlessness and that linked with moral values, like good and bad, something men have proclaimed. Greece! Olympia! Even worse, Alexander, a student of Aristoteles! The destroyer of the Persian culture did not learn anything from the teachers of Aristoteles, from Plato or Socrates.
The latter was convinced that knowledge was within us and the art of Socratic questioning, comparable to the art of midwifery, bore the correct answers. Since then our ways of thinking have lost touch with the world, though ostensibly rational.
At this point fellow travellers are becoming mentally more alert, but their physical need for a break and a bite is clearly noticeable. Therefore the tour guide stops in a room with a number of refrigerators. She opens the doors of the fridges and most viewers forget that they are hungry. Instead of edible things they are confronted with their childhood, youth and even their present needs. “All inclusive” is the title of the installation. Can this indeed satisfy the real needs of the travellers? And what will happen when they grab a “faked cake” in the next rest stop?
It is best to go through this book – or even better to go with the artist herself through the world of pictures and images of Karin Maria Pfeifer. Her analytical and critical perception of the world (the West) is never without a sense of humour and a pinch of salt which makes the journey particularly entertaining and communicative.
Having started the trip in a good mood, so it will end in a good mood now wrapped in thoughtfulness. At the end of this brief travel report a quotation by Deutschbauer and Spring comes to mind about the ability to laugh about things and about oneself: “A cynical person, says Hans Blumenberg, hates being laughed at. Only someone who can stand being the object of scorn, can avoid to become a cynic. If you don´t want to be a cynic, you must be able to laugh about yourself.....Musil remarked once that cynicism is like irony minus love, and irony is cynicism plus love.
We are attached to those things that we can laugh about, we love them, therefore we are not
(Translated by Erika Hager)
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