Elisabeth Weissensteiner.


Elisabeth Weissensteiner.



1. Pin Baby, 2006
Wire mesh, paper, paste, pins
50 x 50 x 20cm
2. Alert, 2006
Wire mesh, glass matt, polyester resin, rust, found object
13 x 40cm

IMAGES courtesy and © the artist


“Understanding is for me a two-way process, it goes outward and then inward, and it always has to cross this body boundary.”

INTERVIEW by Ella Mudie

1. Your upcoming show is called “Intro-Spectatio”. Can you explain a little about the title?
In Latin “intro” means the movement from an outside into an inside, and “spectare” means looking at something. I put that into a word that now means moving inside and looking outside at once. Besides, I like the habit of some sciences, like medicine or biology, to attach (often invented) Latin names to the objects investigated. This has a mystifying effect on the understanding of an outsider of the field. He/she tends to attach a much higher authority to a Latin term than to an English term. So that also gives my title an ironic twist – don’t let yourself be tricked, you are responsible for what you understand.

2. You could say your work, then, challenges the conventions of inside and outside. Why is this so? Where has this fascination come from?
It comes from my interest in the process of understanding. As I mentioned, understanding is for me, a two way process, it goes outward and then inward, and it always has to cross this body boundary. Thus perception and meaning depend on each other, are continuous processes that condition each other. So what’s first: What I see or what I feel? What I sense with my eyes or what I see in my imagination? The feelings or the stories? It is quite fascinating to me that many people, also many young people, respond strongly to the works that have lots of pins pointing inwards, into the object. The ambiguity of pain seems to strike a chord in them.

3. What kind of materials do you like to work with and why?
My preferred materials are from our daily lives. I like to go to hardware stores or office supply shops or the like. Often I use wire, paper of all sorts, plastic and lately a lot of glass fibre and polyester resin. I choose these materials because I am interested in both the inside and the outside of an object. Therefore I find materials that have a certain resemblance with shell or skin and that have a certain translucency. Often they are fragile.

4. You live in Melbourne, Australia and M_dling, Austria. (The similarities between the place names are quite uncanny) How does belonging to two cultures and countries influence your art?
Yes, we have joked about the similarity of the names already before I left for Australia…First I expected the countries to be much less different as I find them now. The longer I live here – by now it has been three years – the more I find out about the subtleties. That means the better I know my second home the less familiar I feel. Looking at my first home, Austria, it probably is the other way round: the longer I stay away the better I seem to understand. This already shows the influence on my art – to question imagining and understanding currently shapes my everyday life.

5. What are you working on at the moment?
First thing is the show at Uber Gallery in Melbourne. It opens on October 24. Then there is a whole body of work in my head that deals with my experiences in China as artist in residence of the Red Gate Gallery in Beijing this year, and a plan of a series of children’s figures referring to the story by E.T.A Hoffman “The Mysterious Child” that goes about creativity and reality. But first of all I have to look for a new studio where I can do all my experiments without bothering anybody. If something comes along, please let me know.

Elisabeth’s solo show “Intro-Spectatio” is showing at Uber Gallery in St Kilda, Melbourne from 24 October – 26 November 2006







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