Brigitte Kowanz "Codes and Cables"

Exhibition, Häusler Contemporary Munich

Häusler Contemporary Munich presents new light works by artist Brigitte Kowanz, who engaged herself intensely with the phenomenon of digitalization. Predominant in these new objects is a neon line full of verve that was designed by hand and reminds of a cable which hides codes. Kowaz visualizes light as an independent phenomenon that does not just illuminate, but that – similar to language – transfers information and generates meaning.

Predominant in these new objects is a neon line full of verve. © Wolfgang Stahl

Brigitte Kowanz (*1957, Vienna) who officially presents Austria at this year’s Venice Biennial ranges among the most renowned international artists with her genuine light works. Ever since the 1980s the artist has been combining light and language or linguistic codes, to reveal the complex entanglements of vision and comprehension, of perception and cognition.

"Codes and Cables". © Wolfgang Stahl

In the context of her much-noticed installation in the Austrian Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennial, Kowanz engaged herself intensely with the phenomenon of digitalization. Only rarely, the artist presented herself as political as she does in these new works in which she reflects important moments of Europe’s recent history against the backdrop of the digital revolution. Häusler Contemporary presents now these exclusively new works.

Predominant in these new objects is a neon line full of verve that was designed by hand. It reminds of a cable and is placed within a multimirrored cuboid. From a close distance, one can perceive on the glass surface a code running parallel to the neon. It is Morse code which the artist uses to note down important dates related to the European contemporary history: the effective date of the UNO Charta on November 24, 1945; the Fall of the Wall in Berlin on November 9, 1989 or the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo’s editorial office in Paris on January 7, 2015.

"Codes and Cables". © Studio Kowanz

All these dates mark key moments for the supranational association of today’s Europe or moments where this union was put to test. In these works, the cable as a link, as means to transfer electricity and data becomes a symbol for the third industrial revolution that began in the 1970s and that accompanied and influenced the different stages of the European Union in many ways.

With her exhibition at Häusler Contemporary Kowanz succeeds in visualizing the complex phenomenon of digitalization partly by transferring it to the sensual language of art.

Brigitte Kowanz "Codes and Cables"
Exhibition: September 9 – October 27, 2017
with generous support from Zumtobel

With her exhibition at Häusler Contemporary Kowanz succeeds in visualizing the complex phenomenon of digitalization. © Wolfgang Stahl

Since 1997 Brigitte Kowanz is a professor at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. In 2009 she was awarded the Grosser Österreichischer Staatspreis für Bildende Kunst (Grand Austrian State prize of fine arts). As early as 1984 and again in 1995 she was represented at the Venice Biennial and in 1987 at the Biennial of São Paulo. In the past few years, she had solo exhibitions in institutions of global reputation such as the Centre for International Light Art in Unna (2005) or the Museum of Modern Art (MUMOK) in Vienna (2010). The invitation to exhibit at the 57th Venice Biennial 2017 in the Austrian Pavilion once more proved and honored the international significance of Brigitte Kowanz’ work.

(Guest author: Deborah Keller, Häusler Contemporary)

Häusler Contemporary Munich presents new light works by artist Brigitte Kowanz. © Wolfgang Stahl