The exhibition platform, “Starting from Hystyria” in Raum D downstairs at the Künstlerhaus, Halle für Kunst & Medien, has been showing different and diverse positions of contemporary art from the expanded Styrian region since late 2013. Each show in the series is accompanied by a fanzine. Now, the series continues in 2105 with “kill your darlings”, a presentation of current photographic works by the artist Zita Oberwalder (born in 1958 in Leisach, lives in Graz).
Born in eastern Tyrol, the artist received the 2014 Federal Chancellor’s "Outstanding Artist Award" for her photographic work, most of which has been produced in analogue black-and-white since the mid-1980s. The current visual records of her travels are primarily photographs of places, towns, spots, and staged situations in both natural and urban spaces in very diverse countries, whose creation and distribution is ascribed to globalization by the anthropologist Marc Augé in his book, “Non Places.” Examples of these places are airports, train stations, refugee camps, supermarkets, or hotel chains. For Augé, they are not “anthropological places,” but “places of the placeless,” and hence, the opposite of “memorable places.” In this documentary project and in her documentation of the places she has traveled on her countless journeys, the artist adds motifs that affirm Augé’s arguments, but, on the other hand, her artistic work leads her to have social experiences that are not possible in these places, according to Augé and his thesis. Thus, several layers are at work in Oberwalder’s photographs. In her fascinating images, one sees not only the way that these places appear to the author, how her choice of motif hints at individual experience, but also her own reflections on the act of taking photographs, which involves stepping back from the subject, yet storing information about it. The pictures arise from a sensitive point of view, from her knowledge about the many, barely perceptible details that comprise each picture, which requires familiarity with the place that is photographed. Hence, the process of observing Oberwalder’s photographs generates space for new ideas and different perspectives.
Awards and Exhibitions
Outstanding Artist Award – Fine Arts Photography, Federal Chancellor’s Office (2014)
Transition, Theological Department, University Innsbruck (2014, solo)
Transition. Lied eines Straßenhundes, Fotogalerie im Grazer Rathaus (2014, solo)
Amores – Flucht mit schlechten Schuhen, Rhizom in der Keplerkoje, Graz (2013, solo)
exil, Fotoforum, Innsbruck (2012)
details, UNO St. Claude Gallery, University of New Orleans (2012)