Weekly Conversations with…Lena Rosa Händle

© Lena Rosa Händle, I (We) Feel Seen, 2018 (Detail)

This week, we are eager to talk to Studio Artist Lena Rosa Händle about her upcoming group exhibition: Guerilla of Enlightenment. „WE WOMEN* ARE GOING TO INSIST ON FIGHTING FOR OUR RIGHTS“ at <rotor>, in Graz.


The exhibition opens on the 8th of March – the international women´s day. Could you give us a brief idea about your work at <rotor>? What is your statement there?
In the exhibition I am showing my work I (We) Feel Seen, 2018, which I developed during my residency 2017 in New York City. It deals with representation and visibility of queer-feminist artists with diverse backgrounds. This work gives voice to the protagonists I worked with and opens up a lot of perspectives about diversity in terms of class, race, age and religious backgrounds. It is important to emphasize the role of women in the arts and to support each other in this time of feminist back clash. We have to create and live solidarity between women, queers, women of color, trans people and so on. At one point in my career I decided to focus my work on empowerment for and between people who often don’t get a lot of attention. In New York, I saw how much attention is given to Trump (also through criticism) and how many great queer-feminist artist don’t get any attention. With this work I am creating a kind of (temporal) community or network and I give my energy and focus to people who do great and interesting work. I am getting a lot of positive feedback and invitations to show this work, also international and that shows how important it is to work with this subject in these capitalist times we are living. It’s great to see that many spaces, like the fantastic contemporary art center Rotor in Graz, work in a similar direction. They do a really relevant and high quality program and it was a great pleasure to work with them! I will continue to work with them because they invited me to realize my project in Graz!

In your work, do you often deal with subjects like representation or visibility? Is this the case also in your new exhibition?
In my new work Cuidarse es Revolucionario / To Care is Revolutionary, 2018, which I developed during my one-month residency (thanks to das weisse haus and Orbital) in Cantabria, Spain I worked with a similar concept but with women of different class, age and social backgrounds. In this short time, it was not possible to find queer-feminist artist or women of color, which also tells a lot. But I included, for instance, the housemaid of the residency hotel where I was staying. She has been working there for 17 years and never got a lot of attention or visibility in her life, but she does great and very important care work, this is something that all women that I photograph for that project have in common.

I am going to show this work at FOTO WIEN (Office Shows, Festivalzentrale Postsparkasse) the Opening is March 20. Moreover, there will be Studio Visits on March 23 and April 6, 2019 from 2 to 5 pm. I look forward to welcoming your then at Hegelgasse 14, 1010 Vienna.