Matta Wagnest

1964 (Graz), lives and works in Vienna

Matta Wagnest studied visual media design under Peter Weibel at the Academy of Applied Arts in Vienna and at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. The installation artist and singer works in the fields of spatial and video installation, electronic music, painting, computer animation, and performance. She was awarded the Art Prize of Styria Province in 1991 and the Art Prize of the City of Graz in 1994.

A solo show at Neue Galerie Graz showcased works with glass for the first time, the artist declared the baroque exhibition rooms to be an auction lot at an art auction (FOR SALE, 1992). In 1992 she exhibited at the Istanbul Biennial, her original work human rights was censored by the exhibition curator and presented with the title no comment. In 1994 she converted a gallery in Tokyo into sleeping quarters (WATCHED WHILE SLEEPING). She featured at the Venice Biennale in 1995. There followed numerous exhibitions in Austria and abroad and a collaboration with Gerwald Rockenschaub in New York (DAS LABOR, 1996). In 1997 she carried out a project for “Kunst am Bau” (Percent for Art) in Gleisdorf, that she called Calendarium der Zeit. At the 1999 steirischer herbst festival Wagnest exhibited paintings and the sculpture ORANGE GLASSHOUSE at Galerie Edition Artelier. For the Augartenhotel in Graz built by architect Domenig Wagnest developed the outside sculpture Glassconstruction No. II BLUE FOUNTAIN, 2000. Other exhibitions were shown at the Art Front Gallery in Tokyo, at the New York Kunsthalle, Vienna Secession, Kunsthalle Vienna, and at the Palazzo della Permanente in Milan.

Since the beginning of the 90s, the artist has been working on the subject of “space behind glass”. As in the existing works Glassconstruction No. I – III, in Glassconstruction No. IV, the Labyrinth, 2005, created for the Austrian Sculpture Park, the artist reduces the material to the essentials so as to allow the landscape to appear as a “visualisation of transparency”. The possibility of entering the object allows the visitor to experience the sculpture, with an open view of the sky. This symbol of movement and path has always fascinated and accompanied people.