The artists Silvia Maria Grossmann (* 1957 in Zürich, lives and works in Vienna) and Nadja D. Hlavka (*1965 in Vienna, lives and works in Lower Austria) are presenting their new works in a show titled Interactions. In the course of the show, Grossmann will also release her new book, titled Räume zwischen Land, Wasser und Himmel (Spaces between Land, Water and Sky).
For Interactions, Silvia Maria Grossmann has produced a series of objects, photo-objects and photographs, in which she describes landscapes where continents and the ocean meet, spaces where the alpine and the maritime merge, and places where water and land are joined. Her oeuvre is an effort to approach the incognisable ocean. Grossmann’s approach to the sea is a very personal one – in her practice, one can always feel a deep knowledge and a notion of the greater whole, as well as a sensitive, precise attention to detail. All in all, her photographs reflect her knowing, remembering as well as impartial gaze. Her gaze is knowing in that it contains all her experience of sea and landscapes, but impartial in so far as the artist is more than willing to be surprised yet again and again, as if she saw this landscape, this ocean, for the very first time.
Through her selection of vistas and the isolating of special details, as well as the lack of real focus points, Grossmann’s large-scale photographs can sometimes seem like abstract images, that steer the viewer’s attention to the ever-changing interplay of light and shadow, surface structure and the subtle palette of water. The horizon, defining one’s own point of view, marks the viewer’s position as well as the place where the sea meets the sky. It is sometimes visible as a thin, silver thread, as in her work “Silberner Horizont” (“Silver Horizon”), and sometimes it is present as the line within an image above which the dramatic interplay of clouds unfolds over the skies.
Horizons, edges, the line where heaven and earth collide: These are also recurring themes in the work of Nadja D. Hlavka. Not the loud, the obvious is her concern, the focal point of her work is the seemingly insignificant, the neglibible – because it is there that a multitude of possibilities lie, an infinite expanse, freedom.
In the paintings that Hlavka creates during a slow process that is not only additive but also subtractive at times, she deals with infinity. Her practice combines the poetic expression of personal, intimate thoughts and moods with narrative elements that allow the viewer to enter the artist’s cosmos. Hlavka’s pictures allow for a moment of calm, a moment of pause from the racket of the world. Her series “Himmelsstücke” (“Sky Pieces”) depict the search for a personal, small paradise that is made possible by the vast sky. But first, we have to disengage our view – our view of the sky, the whole sky, so that we are able to see that we are part of a bigger whole.
(Text Excerpts: Silvia Grossmann: Brigitta Höpler in the book «Räume zwischen Land, Wasser und Himmel» by Silvia M. Grossmann; as well as according to «Wasser:Leben» by Silvie Aigner, curator)