At the end of my four month residency in March 2018 in Solothurn, Switzerland i was able to achieve a Soloexhibition at the Gallery S11. The gallery is run by a local art collective hosted in an old building in the centre of the town it runs over four floors. The opening was a great success with a lot of friends and we partied into the night. Distributed over the building I could show a wide spectrum of my work which I created at the spot. Photography, drawings, paintings, garments wax sculptures and some taxidermy pieces showed an impressive insight into my work. For the first time I was able to show my portfolio in Europe as I was busy all the time before running residencies in Asia mostly. This happened about two and a half years after I started again to concentrate on my professional art career.
about a year later I got again an invitation to the residency in Solothurn where I could finish my portrait sessions.
My first time in Korea started about three month after I left Shanghai. So actually I had to come to Seoul for some visa issues before but now I was invited for a three month residency. The exhibition took place at the end of my stay in a dedicated venue. This gave me due its space also the opportunity to create a performance with some of my garments I created in Korea. Alex, a fellow artist and the only non-Korean I met in this time became the protagonist in the play. Some of the Korean artists I learned to know were educated in German language which was a great relief for the opening. In retrospect it was a fine show with quite an audience which also led to a second exhibition in Busan a couple of weeks after this show.
In Shanghai Anita Gratzer shows a body of work that articulates her memory of lost stories, interest in Eastern traditions and forges links between them and the world as it is experienced today. Mourning the narratives she finds, Anita Gratzer first preserves in the process of her work the printed fragments of antique books by transferring them into new conditions. Constructing clothes and sculptures out of this historical artefacts of a gone-by era she deals with hermetic narratives and analogue materiality at the same time.
Worn by the protagonists of her photographic work, these kind of clothes cover up the relation between the bodies and their symbolic representation by connecting the layers of historical materiality and contemporary personality. Anita Gratzer herself has experienced South-East Asia multiple times in the last decade and worked in Japan, Korea and China at different residencies. The dichotomies of order and modernity, creation and tradition draw her awareness to the constant transformations undergone by those societies. Learning about Asian cultures she delved deep into segments of the past, always keeping the human body at the center of her attention. In this focus, clothes as a symbol of culture, history, and tradition, as well as an expression of personal taste and individual sense of identity are a main concern in Anita Gratzer’s work.
The exhibition was set about a half year after I left my Shanghai residency, therefor I could also show some of the portraits I did back then. The other part was selection of my earlier work from Japan.
A scenic tour of the Botanical Garden after Raymond Roussel’s novel “Locus Solus”. In seven stations Anita Gratzer refers with her works of organic art to the surrealist author and his novel from 1914.
So what is “Locus Solus” about? It’s about a walk through a park that has the same name as the novel. Its owner, master Canterel, leads a group of friends through the grounds. They encounter a mixture of machines and living images, each of which Roussel describes in detail before telling the story behind the scene. His fantasies depict machine enthusiasm and ancient human dreams of survival and resurrection.
pos#1 Danton’s resurrection in the Aqua Micans – Chapter III, p.61 pos#2 Epidermis of the flower child – Manuscript, p.363 pos#3 Liberation of the eleven servants by dividing the female hanged in two – Chapter II, p.29 pos#4 Striking ribs in hollow tone – Typescript II, p.369 pos#5 Eight nocturnal tears from hour – Chapter IV, p.109 pos#6 The cure of the madness in the Federal – Chapter I, p.7 pos#7 Pharaoh’s snake stitch or the chance meeting of a sewing machine and an umbrella on the dissecting table – Chapter V, p.21
My first show since a couple of years with a set of new works. Although the residency was on the short side, I was well prepared and could process some new ideas. Set on the backside of the Egon Schiele Art Centre the studio was gorgeous and huge, the apartment cosy and comfortable. For one weekend the city hosted a medieval festival which brought me an opportunity to cast some characters for my portraitshooting.