The artwork of Sonja Gangl, with its conceptual content and methods, urges the beholder to look closer, to think outside the box, and to transcend boundaries. The Austrian artist is known especially for her outstanding naturalist drawings and the sustained probing of this medium. With her solo exhibition “I borrowed optimism from the past” at the Künstlerhaus, Halle für Kunst & Medien in Graz, Gangl is now opening a new chapter in her artistic oeuvre and devoting herself to abstraction with a comprehensive new production.
Situated at the center of the exhibition “I borrowed optimism from the past” is the large-format series “Supra-Linien” (Supra-Lines, 2019–20). With this cycle of works, the artist ventures for the first time from figurative representation to the field of abstraction. The bright light of the show spotlights basic graphic forms like the line and the dot. The large-format paintings expose graphite-colored hatching of varying depths against a white background. At first, her composition seems almost haphazard. But upon closer examination this impression is inverted: the painted motifs in this series hark back to the lead and color drawings created by the artist during her work on earlier naturalistic pictorial subjects, in order to engage with the medium of drawing by appropriating the thickness and qualities of the drafting utensils—what she calls “Supra-Linien.” Here, Gangl translates drawing, as an artistic concept, into painting through a process of transformation, thus fostering a manner of zooming into the structure of the material.
Sonja Gangl (*1965 Graz, lives in Vienna) studied at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna under Markus Prachensky and at the University of Applied Arts Vienna under Ernst Caramelle. Since 2003 she has been a member of the Vienna Secession. Her exhibition “Dancing with the End” (2013–14) was the first solo presentation that the Museum Albertina dedicated to a woman artist. Gangl’s work has also been shown at numerous other art venues and is known beyond the border of Austria.
The exhibition project “I borrowed optimism from the past” is aligned to the echo of the Achievement Prize for Fine Arts of the Province of Styria.
01 02 2020 — 02 04 2020
I borrowed optimism from the past
Styrian Government Honorary Prize for Fine Arts
Opening: 31.01.2020, 6 p.m.
Ed Foxtrott & Walter Slowfox / DJ Set
Curator: Jana Franze
Catalogue: Revolver Verlag, Berlin