Brigitte Kowanz brings light to the austrian pavilion at the venice art biennale

Erwin Wurm and Brigitte Kowanz are representing the austrian pavilion at the venice art biennale 2017. curated by christa steinle, the presentation highlights both artists’ use of installation to extend the notions of sculpture and space. while their contributions are very different from each other, they function together as a whole. Kowanz uses light as her ‘immaterial medium’ of sculpture, working with mirrors to multiply physical space into a series of virtual scenes. developing her own artistic vocabulary over the course of more than three decades, kowanz deploys light as language and as a code. therefore, the architecture of the austrian pavilion is turned into a data space, using light not to illuminate or colorize, but to disseminate and impart information

www 12.03.1989 06.08.1991, 2017 neon, mirror / steel | b 450 cm x l 895 cm x h 35 cm photo by tobias pilz © bildrecht, vienna 2017

the austrian pavilion at the venice art biennale represents the culmination of kowanz’s vocabulary – the use of neon light, mirrors, reflective metals, writing, codes, and information. the exhibition ‘infinity and beyond’ presents the intertwinement of physical material space and immaterial virtual space. while visitors are situated in real space, it is simultaneously expanded through kowanz’s use of two-way mirrors and artificial light, leading them t0 a conceptual and intangible encounter.

www 12.03.1989 06.08.1991, 2017 neon, mirror / steel | b 450 cm x l 895 cm x h 35 cm photo by tobias pilz © bildrecht, vienna 2017

kowanz also references the internet’s global data space, not only offering a sensory experience, but also addressing a technical development that radically altered human life: the internet. two landmark moments from the internet-age have been translated into morse code: the date 12.03.1989 references the presentation of the internet at CERN in geneva, by tim berners-lee; 06.08.1991 commemorates the moment when the first website went online and when the internet became accessible to everyone.

1. google 15.09.1997, 2017 | neon, mirror | b 80 cm x l 190 cm x h 19 cm 2. wikipedia 15.01.2001, 2017 | neon, mirror | b 80 cm x l 190 cm x h 19 cm 3. iphone 09.01.2007, 2017 | neon, mirror | b 80 cm x l 190 cm x h 19 cm photo by tobias pilz © bildrecht, vienna 2017

a new light pavilion contructed especially for the austrian pavilion’s garden comprises a virtual environment designed by artificial neon lights, mirrors and data from the internet.

as a whole, ‘infinity and beyond’ represents a virtual infinite space. kowanz’s light installation can be seen as a cosmological model — a miniature of the universe. the cosmic messages of light also require receivers. if light is the message of the universe, then kowanz becomes a messenger of light.

iphone 09.01.2007, 2017 (detail) | neon, mirror | b 80 cm x l 190 cm x h 19 cm image © designboom

follow our dedicated instagram account @venice.art.biennale for live coverage of the exhibitions, installations, and events in venice.

iphone 09.01.2007, 2017 image © designboom

installation view of ‘infinity and beyond’ image © designboom

portrait of brigitte kowanz photo by alfred weidinger © bildrecht, vienna 2017

brigitte kowanz morsealphabet (morse alphabet), 1998/2005 objekt / object neon durchmesser / diameter 280 cm

photo: matthias herrmann copyright: bildrecht, vienna 2017

brigitte kowanz metaphora i, 2016 objekt / objekt neon, spiegel / neon, mirror b 70 cm, l 170, h 19 cm photo: tobias pilz copyright: bildrecht, vienna 2017

brigitte kowanz objekte v.l.n.r. / objects f.l.t.r. escape, 2007 neon, spiegel / neon, mirror b 60 cm, l 80 cm, h 60 cm coincidence, 2007 neon, spiegel / neon, mirror b 60 cm l80 cm, h 60 cm memoria, 2006 neon, spiegel / neon, mirror b 60 cm, l 60 cm, h 60 cm spatium, 2006 neon, acrylglas / neon, acrylic glass b 100 cm, l 120 cm, h 100 cm in: vo_lumen, 2007, kunsthalle krems, krems photo: peter kainz copyright: bildrecht, vienna 2017

brigitte kowanz morsealphabet (morse alphabet), 1998/2010 installation neon, spiegel / neon, mirror durchmesser / diameter 280 cm in: now i see, 2010, mumok museum moderner kunst stiftung ludwig wien, vienna photo: matthias herrmann copyright: bildrecht, vienna 2017

brigitte kowanz licht bleibt nie bei sich, kennt keinen ort, ständig in veränderung mit seiner umgebung, 2003/2005 installation (permanent), dkv deutsche krankenversicherung, cologne architektur / architecture: ksp engel und / and zimmermann, jan störmer partner photo: stefan schilling copyright: bildrecht, vienna 2017

brigitte kowanz n 46°38´47´´ e 14°53´31´´, 2007/2008 installation (permanent), museum liaunig, neuhaus architektur / architecture: querkraft architekten photo: lisa rastl copyright: bildrecht, vienna 2017

juliana neira I designboom

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