Berthold Ecker, 2007
Constructing memories, opening remarks, Galerie Geyling
Brigitte Konyen´s woven photograph spring, shown on posters and invitation cards for the exhibit ex-sampling (Künstlerhaus Wien 2006), provoked a very unfamiliar irritation to my senses of perception. It felt as if my seemingly well known classification of habits would come crashing against a wall of mirrors, forcing my perception into unfamiliar territory.
In this specific photo-weaving, the familiar and unfamiliar combine to form a new phenomenon that clearly awakens essential questions concerning our social conventions of perception.
The first thing I did was to question myself, what else do we see when we perceive an image, do other aspects of personal experience, knowledge and even the act of reminiscing come into play?
This work captures the core questions of perception in a simple and convincing visual image.
What is an image, especially when aiming at reproducing reality? How does the image change our reality, or even become a new reality in itself? How does the image superimpose on our reality which already consists of multiple layers of perception, filtered by the reality of the image we actually see. All questions that Brigitte Konyen has been working with for a long time.
In our age of globalization we live with a general excess of the visual. Images are omnipresent. Their constant presence overstrains our perception and allows us to only absorb them superficially. Only fragments of their full messages are absorbed. It has been proven that images are loaded with more information than any other medium and actually can not only be absorbed very quickly, but also have a long lasting effect. Our memories are built and preserved with images more than anything else. These realities create a paradox, a contradictory situation that Konyen deals with supremely well, making it the initial point of her artistic concept.
For her series abstracts she starts with strips of photographs showing structures found in nature, intertwining them with strips of structural acrylic painting – an interplay of painting and photography, of supposedly true invention and supposedly true reality.
Then there are photo-weavings like flieg II, where she weaves together two identical photographs, thus making her artistic concept very clear by reducing the process of abstraction and - when weaving a „hand-made" pixel granulation, intensifies the mistrust towards mere mimesis. The smooth surface of the photographic picture breaks open with the woven structure, the varying width of the strips creates an undulating surface instead of giving the illusion of space. The explicitly constructed nature of the photographic memory-image seems completely exposed.
In her more recent works, Brigitte Konyen uses a more complex form of narration. Numerous photographs are woven together, proportion as well as color scheme are calculated in advance. The created image turns out to be a construction of both the composed image and the memory.
The recent works also seem to tell a story, but not a specific one. It is a story that to the viewer opens up as both subjective and associative.
By creating a subjective story of memories, the aritist creates a subjective story of memories for all of us.
[© Dr. Berthold Ecker 2007; Department of Culture, City of Vienna; Director of the MUSA (Museum auf Abruf)]