Artists in Residence

The Austrian Sculpture Park annually invites national and international artists or art students to join the debate around the concepts of sculpture and the park itself, developing new artworks for the collection.

 

Through mutual utilisation of the synergies created by this programme and the atelier programmes of the Land Steiermark, the artists benefit from residential studios, the profound library of the Institute for Art in Public Spaces and their curatorial expertise, which can be accessed in case of content related consensus. 

 

 

 


Fernanda Gomes

Untitled, 2011

01.04.-31.10.2011


Fernanda Gomes’s materials include things thrown away, left over, forgotten and unheeded. Her work is rooted historically in Arte Povera, minimal art, and the neo-concretists. The salient aspect here is not merely the link in terms of materials but above all their studies of space and time and the incorporation and consideration of one’s own body and the search for primary structures, taking sensitive energies into account. Turning away from all things mechanical and expressive-gestic, breaking down boundaries between an art of space and an art of time, as proposed by Lessing, are cornerstones from the 1950s to 1970s that are equally important to Fernanda Gomes. However, while the neo-concretists were still searching for a poetic space in motion, they caused lines and shapes to vibrate, filling their canvases, existing spaces or cities, Fernanda Gomes withdraws, cautiously engaging with the specific environment, emptying it and herself as far as possible and making herself the work, allowing us to catch a glimpse inside.

Without wishing to be a political artist, she reacts to neoliberal capitalist attitudes, expressing herself with the utmost concentration and reduction in what is an almost invisible elegance, silence and aesthetic. She remains so ephemerally detached in her work that she does not cater for those seeking quick satisfaction, but instead invites us to engage with processes, peculiarities and focuses on special atmospheric densities. Being in the moment, expanding perception, is as decisive for her as for the viewer. To her, then, the work is not important as a commodity, as a saleable end product, but rather the process of accepting it, taking it in, and experiencing it. Her modus operandi thus consists in engaging with spaces and places with an idea, but without any prefabricated exhibits. Investigating the materiality and essentiality of the place by entering it, allowing it to speak to her, opening herself and entering into contact with it is an intrinsic, force-consuming part of her work. At the Austrian Sculpture Park she found an environment constructed in terms of landscape architecture, within which she discovered a location resembling an unnoticed glade. In this place, intentionally left to grow wild, where lawn clippings are dumped and plants grow and react to each other in a biotope protected by high trees, she removed a circle of roughly double human size, approximately 3.6m, diameter with her own hands from the field. The circle was drawn with the aid of the only tools she brought along, a branch and a piece of string. She carefully sieved the soil thus revealed, smoothing it down with a brush.

 

This circle not only centres, it reopens our eyes, awakening our perception in a different way. To Fernanda Gomes, who often works with and incorporates the elementary forces of air, water and earth, it is important that she has not added or taken anything away. It is a point that focuses on the permeability of apparent boundaries: everything leaves traces: the weather leaves them from above, as do hares or other animals; from below it is grasses or other plants, perhaps moles or rivulets. At the same time, the circle focuses, causes us to perceive the surroundings differently, for example an insect flying inside the circle, and raises the question of both disappearance and total concentration. The essential factor is the immaterial, with the paradox being that the immaterial must be created from the material so as to materialise and become autonomous. This is not, however, land art, instead Fernanda Gomes’s work pursues a kind of permeability that both suggests eternity and also communicates disappearance and becoming invisible. She is concerned not with conveying information but setting a point in a specific natural setting whose continued existence and development is not predefined by the artist, with all of the possible changes, but continues to live dynamically – with observing the work at a given moment, but also in its genesis, being the crucial factor.

In this way, Fernanda Gomes has manually opened a special space by means of a simple action, without any transportation or use of machinery. This is as essential a component within her modus operandi as her physical “being in the work”. This space now changes, grows dark when rain falls on it, it is grown over from below, trod upon by animals, things that fall on it remain there, it has its own climate and also influences the perception of the field surrounding it. Equivalent to appreciating seemingly insignificant things, Gomes turns a “non-place” into a place in the sculpture park. “Art”, she says, “is capable of turning ordinary things into extraordinary ones.” And it is these “things” that attract her, for everything and every “thing” appears to her extremely rich and valuable.

Based on her mentally, emotionally and physically stimulating impetus, she invites the visitor to engage with this special situation, to see and recognise it.

In this way Fernanda Gomes created a central energy point that successively releases the traces of time, while also permitting memories and storing history.

Similar to an archaeologist, she uncovers layers so as to allow the Being to develop in a laboratory-like situation contrary to any idea of loud spectacle. She herself observes nature from the focus of art. Seeing and breathing are her existential states, her comprehension of sculpture as a continuous work is a special one, influenced by sunlight, shadows, alternating between still life and real life, exposed to noises, smells, wind, rain or snow. Just as she drew the sculpture in the ground, she understands this drawing as a sculpture, divesting it of all unambiguity and allowing it to float in its ambivalence.

Curated by: Elisabeth Fiedler

Austrian Sculpture Park

Thalerhofstraße 85
8141 Premstätten, Österreich
T +43-316/8017-9704
skulpturenpark@museum-joanneum.at

 

Opening Hours
01. April 2020 to 31. October 2020 Mon-Sun, public holidays 10am - 8pm

 

Office address:

Marienplatz 1/1, 8020 Graz
Mo-Fr 9am-5pm

Requests for
guided tours: T +43-699/1334 6831