Just Paper

Alexandra Deutsch / Birgit Knoechl / Jae Ko / Katharina Meister / Stefan Saffer / Silvia Schreiber / Reinhard Wöllmer

Opening: Thursday, October, 24. 2013
Exhibition: October 25. – November 30. 2013

The gallery Hrobsky presents with Just Paper a show about dealing with the medium of paper in contemporary art. The compilation of national and international artists provides an overview of various techniques that use paper as a material - of works from paper-maché to papercuts. The works host diverse contents: While the works by Jae Ko thematise natural phenomena that illustrate the subjective perception of the artist in abstract form, Silvia Schreiber presents sibyls with their concretely human figure in the form of two busts. The additions of artists may still be so different; yet they are united in their affinity for the material paper.
Alexandra Deutsch (Germany) could be described as a paper sculpturist. As medium of choice she uses liquid paper pulp and skims its relatively thick, so that they express a certain resistance in spite of their vulnerability. Strange and familiar at the same time appear Alexandra Deutsch's objects, reminiscent of simple organisms to plants, insects, marine organisms and are quite different, not to classify. Despite the intrinsic appeal they are abstract and speak their own artistic language. The forms are organic, and seem matured, after many development processes and transformations. This is connected with a long development process, in which color and form ideas condense in ongoing dialogue with the material.

Paper and the medium of ink drawings form the basis for large-scale installations by Birgit Knoechl (Austria) as well as the artistic method of paper cutting, as the pioneer of modernism Henri Matisse applies. He called this technique "drawing with scissors". Birgit Knoechls interest is mainly the possibility to expand the line of the drawing into the room. The paper as a two-dimensional image base shifted to artworks made of paper. The material itself becomes the center of the, and its physical characteristics paired with the inherent laws are reinterpreted. The basic material becomes dissolved and processed from its original function.

The artist Jae Ko (US), whose work is displayed at Just paper, for the first time in Vienna, has developed and refined her experimental paper technology in a 20-year creative process. Starting from natural forms, such as a drop falling on a water surface, Ko manages complex, finely crafted paper objects. From countless delicate layers of paper, that seem massive at the first glance, turn out to be skin-like fins at a second. The color and material effects are putting the viewer under their spell, the works arrange a sensual level peace and introspection.

The works of Katharina Meister (Germany) seem irritating and relaxing at the same time, raise questions and are not exactly easy to classify. Place and time remains undetermined, being discussed by it. In old, discarded showcases or cabinets taken from natural history collections, where formerly dead insects were kept, Katharina Meister puts her installations together. The boxes show clear traces of time. If one makes their self aware of their former purpose, it supports the idea of transience. They represent life and death and what remains of it. At the same time, the shape of the case, its depth allows to build itself its own image space. New spaces are created, become addressed and being put, although seemingly incompatible, together. Paper cuts, drawings and sculptural elements, often finds, partly old and somewhat weathered, grouped in the image space. References to past, present and future, both indoor and outdoor can be found, but their relationship does not reveal itself immediately, requires an intensive examination.

The cutouts Stefan Saffers (Germany) are, what their name purports: Snip. The artist designs, draws, "paints" line and form of abstract compositions, which are sometimes also for text or accept figurative bonds. Saffers cuts into the seemingly unspectacular material of paper or cardboard, pulls the cutter along the outlines again after. The compound in the first draft lines and surfaces are reconsidered and either approved or subjected to the radical section and being cut off. As far as the artist describes his work as cut-out it’s more of a cut-in, so a deliberately left standing paper surface. The, in a destructive manner, cutaway mutates into an empty space of the work. The almost sculptural fragment of fragile paper is hung in series, one above the other or as a solitary over fine needles and so finds its place not on the wall, but in front of her. Stefan Saffers consciously describes his work as “Drawing-Cutouts casting shadows on the walls.”

At First glance, Silvia Schreiber (Germany) sculptures may seem like heavy clay figures, on closer look they turn out to be featherweight and out of paper. The lightness can hardly be seen, almost giving them a sketch like appearance, bodies with a generous ductus and portraits. Trough that the sculptures seem to constantly find new positions and take possession of the whole room. The figures their self are anonymous beings with an intense presence in the room. Silvia Schreiber: “I am concerned about the compound of sculptures both, with the room as well as the observers: About the fleeting existence of human life in the fictional and real space, and therefore, that each and everyone connected to everything else; changed a little change everything.”


Reinhard Wöllmer (D) comes from painting or better from the study of the specifics of the color effect. Nevertheless, his development of the plastic-spatial in the work is important. It involves the movement of the viewer and works with the living, changing nuances in color effect by light and shadow. His works are an approximation of two previously parallel artistic clashes – the graphical linear and picturesque. None of both is treated in a classic manner, plasticity always plays a role. He will not colorize the work afterwards, as someone would normally. Wöllmer admixes pigments directly to the paper pulp, rolls it out, presses, bulges and converts it in this way to color objects on which light and dark values are obtained by layering, curvature and depth. Wöllmer focuses on the formal aspects of ball and circle and their superposition and questioning by linear structures - deliberately renouncing the intrinsic value of color.

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