| Nadja HLAVKA | Bettina PASCHKE | Martina TSCHERNI |   

Exhibition duration: Friday, 3. March – 15. April 2023
Water stands for the unconscious, Eros, dreams and also for time, because one does not get into the same river twice, says Heraclitus; Goethe says that man's soul is like water and for Hans Blumenberg water becomes a metaphor of existence: life as navigation and existential failure, the river from the source to the sea as the path of life.
The unifying element in the art of M. Tscherni and N. Hlavka, both former competitive swimmers, is water. They bring it into their work metaphorically, both from a philosophical point of view and through the use of movement in water, as a universal theme that allows for numerous variations.
Bettina Paschke, on the other hand, approaches the element of water through fine webs of lines, leaf-like, net-like, which seem to glide along like veils of mist. These lines capture moods and condense themselves into atmospheres, a collection of restless aggregate states.


Nadja Hlavka - at the exhibition

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The artist deliberately focuses on classical oil painting, which is bound to the traditional. The cycles of time, the coming and going, are reflected in the technique. The colourfulness, finely formulated, often appearing almost monochrome, as well as the application of paint - pasty to glazing - are influenced by processes of collage and decollage, but are far removed from representational historical painting. The picture details continue lyrically beyond the edge of the picture.
They are not studies of nature in the classical sense, although the viewer may seem to recognise one or two familiar elements from nature. States of aggregation, forms, different qualities of water, micro-life becomes macro-life, cycles blur into one another, no top no bottom, no beginning no end.
What and where is water, soil? What and where is sky? Irritation, an essential element of unpredictability and the spaces and questions that always remain open. The most fundamental physical law, that every action triggers a counter-reaction, becomes visible again and again and reminds us of our responsibility.
Bettina Paschke - at the exhibition

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In her mostly small-format drawings, Bettina Paschke's strokes are precise and focussed, spontaneously intuitive and yet not indiscriminate. Thus, her difficult working method is based on the motto 'the way is the goal'. At the beginning of each line drawing process is the decision for a certain kind of 'line code'. The artist (she is also an architect) builds on her intuition, abandons herself completely to the cheerful abstract game that leads along the airy line guide into the uncertain, the still unknown.
Even if the abstract results are enchanting with their charmingly light and airy nonchalance, the drawing process behind them requires disciplined precision. It requires the utmost concentration and stamina and is accompanied by meditative self-absorption. A steady hand is necessary, trembling is forbidden. It is a matter of clearing the mind, letting go and immersing oneself completely in a kind of self-forgetting drawing exercise.
In this way, a dynamic, sprawling dialogue develops between the dark, filigree, graphic-looking stroke in the brisk flow of ink and the bright, white paper surface.
Martina Tscherni - at the exhibition

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Tension between the mobility of one's own "I" and transit, mobility  in general.
In the course of the project "cleandanube - swimming for a pure and plastic-free river" (www.cleandanube.org), she swam from Vienna to Bratislava and used the microorganisms she found during this period as a model and source of inspiration for her works exhibited here. These micro-organisms are "isolated and deciphered" and deciphered in different variations; the transformation that takes place in the process creates for her the tension between science, physical experience and mediated in her artistic transformation, thus the sum of her pictorial landscapes. The act of transformation occurs spontaneously as she transfers them onto the long rolls of paper, drawing "one thing after another", sometimes repeating it several times; "in doing so, I find myself in an isolated space in my own world".
Her drawings also serve as storyboards for her animated films*, which she wants to be understood only in combination with her drawings. So the "template" remains an important part of her work and is always shown in combination, as a spatial installation. The one conditions the other.
*  the film is underpinned with natural science footage, film footage taken during the swim in the Danube water,as well as personal images that occur during the long swim.Subtle changes are made visible through  slow movement, a temporal sequence is formed.
in addition, the catalogue "Wasser" /

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The catalogue features 32 pages of the artists' exhibited works.
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