Weekly Conversations... with Marie Reichl

© Anna Sophia Rußmann

Marie Reichel – a 27-year- old graduate of Transmedia Arts at University of Applied Arts Vienna. She’s exhibited in numerous spaces in Vienna and Lower Austria and recently she’s been offered an artist residency at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago which we’re more than happy to hear.

You’re currently sharing one of our studio spaces with David Meran and Ismini Adami. Do you prefer shared working space or having place completely on your own?

I would not commit myself — I like both very much. Of course, there are pros and cons everywhere. During my studies I had a shared studio with six colleagues. We found an art association called ‘perlimpinpin’ to work collectively on art projects. We used our space more for exhibitions and events. It was a very important experience but afterwards I realised that I had rarely worked there on my own stuff. This had also probably something to do with the fact that we had no heaters there but especially because working in a collective with six other people can be pretty intense and enervating. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this time very much. I live alone, and I am always very happy when I have other people around while working from time to time and by the way having coffee breaks is so much more fun with someone else. In the new shared studio space it seems to be pretty perfect for me because during daytime I’m mostly alone there, and during late afternoon it is mostly two of us. So it feels like having both of the opportunities.

Having graduated from Transmedia Arts at University of Applied Arts in Vienna, naturally you seem to use a rather wide range of media. Where do you feel the most secure in?

Working in that wide range of media comes from a simple reason: I can’t decide — and I don’t want to. Of course, it goes a little further: the project defines the media. Mostly it is objects which shrink to drawings which blow up to paintings which grow to installations which transform into film which get some fragmented text which dissolve in sculpture — or in a completely another chronological order. In my tiny little body of art, materiality has a strong symbolic character and plays an important role for an intangible narrative. Sculptural installations are mostly broken by poem-like texts and suggest a way to read the story I want to tell. The artworks are made on the basis of my reality but are only really intended for someone else.

My working process always starts with things I am surrounded with and which directly affect me. Then I arrange those things again and put them in a new setting. I see these settings more like scene pictures which open new spaces and levels in which objects and humans go into a common story. However, the result is controlled improvisation and a combination of a series of coincidences that get translated and transferred. Nevertheless, my answer to the question what kind of art I do is mostly: sculpture and a bit of drawing, a bit of film, a bit of painting.

What work / project is keeping you the busiest at the moment?

Because of my working process, which almost always starts with my direct surrounding, the finished artworks seem to be pretty personal and one probably feels kind of bit too much intimacy. At the moment I’m trying to explore more possibilities of creating such intimacy and to combine that with our social, political and economical standards. That comes rather from a feeling about our social coexistence than from knowledge about it and I think that is what my intention actually supposed to be: It is not to exercise criticism, but rather to evoke thoughts and much more to evoke feelings in any sort. Hence, I try to express subliminally rather than obviously.

Among others for example I am into a vase which I got as a birthday present a few months ago. What this vase did to me is unbelievable but kind of funny too. As I took it home I started to reorganise my whole flat because I felt it had to be necessary giving the vase the perfect space. I live alone and after time it started to feel like as if it had become my new flatmate. That sounds weird, I know and I see it as a joke too, but I also take that experience seriously and make it part of my work. I think there is more than just a funny story to it, for me it has much to do with topics around getting older and all the duty that comes with it like settling down somewhere, getting a steady job, having a partner or even bringing up a family. One may see that too far-fetched. So my interest is to make that clear in some way.

You’ve been given the opportunity to take part in AIR – ARTIST IN RESIDENCE in Chicago for the upcoming summer – how did you get to taking part in it?

I was always pretty interested in going to the USA for some time — particularly the Middle West like Chicago and Detroit. My interest came rather from a feeling than from knowledge about that area. Especially Chicago always had something appealing to me, which probably came from films and TV shows.

The residence program is a cooperation between the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and AIR Krems which is part of the cultural program of the federal state of Lower Austria. To apply for AIR program you need some kind of relation to Lower Austria and of course an artistic portfolio and all that stuff. As I was born there I was able to do so and I got it. The residency starts at the beginning of June and for me it is the perfect time to go abroad as it is exactly one year after graduating from university.

Interviewer for studio das weisse haus: Simona Lacinová