Brigitte Kowanz

M / Light 2017

Opening: April 2017

Palais Herberstein, built in 1602 as a town palais of the Princes of Eggenberg, and owned by Styria Province since 1939, owes its current-day appearance to a conversion performed in the late baroque.

With her piece created especially for the north entrance, Brigitte Kowanz engages with the architecture, opening up the entrance visually and enabling new experiences. In this way she connects the museum entrance with the visual urban setting, forging a new dynamic link between the listed building and contemporary technology. Attractive in their simplicity, subtle neon lines accentuate the arch, giving it clear form, and also link history and the present. The weight of the baroque portal contrasts with the lightness of the luminous vocabulary of form, openness and permeability are inscribed in architecture as the human being’s third skin.

In addition to examining space and light, Brigitte Kowanz also focuses on language and writing in her work. Above the entrance of the museum, reduced to the essence, we see a neon letter, the Schwabacher M. The Schwabacher typeface, developed in the 15th century, was used above all for the Nuremberg Chronicle and Dürer’s Apocalypse. Banned during the Nazi era, in this context it makes reference to the politicisation of writing, to the essentiality and purpose of the media used. As such, Kowanz draws our attention to the ascriptions of writing in public space, highlighting the different levels of meaning by making differentiated use of various block and cursive scripts.

By formulating the piece using modern-day neon technology, she not only makes reference to history but also creates confusion by opening up a field of discourse. Neon light, commonly used in advertising, raises the letter M to a level of meaning that oscillates between logo and cipher, evoking the theme of media influence and the significance of communication in this building steeped in history.

- Elisabeth Fiedler

Installation view, Brigitte Kowanz, "Die unendliche Falte ist das Charakteristikum des Barocks", 2017,

Brigitte Kowanz

Die unendliche Falte ist das Charakteristikum des Barock

Discover another artwork by Brigitte Kowanz in Palais Herberstein!


Art in Public Space

Marienplatz 1/1
8020 Graz, Österreich
T +43-316/8017-9265



Palais Herberstein, Sackstraße 16, 8010 Graz
47°04'21.0"N 15°26'12.3"E