Contemporary drawing has substantially emancipated itself from other art forms in the last decades. Artists nowadays more often work mainly or exclusively in that discipline than in the past. Thereby, they take advantage of the characteristics and peculiarities of the drawing and integrate these into their works on the content-level. Thus, the drawing often serves to translate already existing image contents in other media, in order to generate renewed attention for familiar images in slightly modified forms of representation. This method is also being applied by Sonja Gangl in her photo-realistic drawings. Furthermore, she addresses the aspect of time, by consciously submitting herself to a long and effortful work process. Drawing becomes a process of deceleration, a pause, in which the artist applies herself to a subject with dedication. Gangl also includes the different effects from distance and in proximity, a third feature of the drawing: individual lines, hatching and texture are only discernible in close proximity and thereby expose the actual work. In her latest group of works “Supra-Linien” (2019), Sonja Gangl unites many of these above-mentioned aspects, even if she is dealing not with drawings, but with paintings here. However, the starting point for the paintings still are drawings—doodles—which emerge in passing or in preparation of an actual drawing. In her lecture “Painting as a Large Drawing”, Elsy Lahner will illustrate which strategies and artistic considerations—in addition to the ones just described—can be detected in Sonja Gangl’s practice.
Elsy Lahner (*1975 Frankfurt am Main, lives in Vienna) is a curator for contemporary art with a focus on drawing at Albertina in Vienna since 2011. Her most recent exhibitions include a survey exhibition on contemporary drawing, Drawing Now: 2015, Keith Haring: The Alphabet (2018) together with Dieter Buchhart, retrospectives on Florentina Pakosta (2018) and Hermann Nitsch (2019) as well as most recently the exhibition A Passion for Drawing. The Collection Guerlain from the Centre Pompidou (2019/20). Before that she has worked as a freelance curator and founded as well as ran the exhibition space das weisse haus together with Alexandra Grausam from 2007-2011.