Eva Schlegel's No Man's Space offers visitors a completely new way of experiencing the voestalpine open space at Höhenrausch 2016. The renowned Austrian artist talks about her installation, its creation and impact...
How can visitors experience the voestalpine open space this year?
I would say they can experience confusion. Reality is twisted, tilted, and reflected in all directions. The result is a three-dimensional labyrinth. Visitors are invited to sit down inside, or to walk through the labyrinth, look into the virtual heights and depths, allow their eyes to wander, and take a playful approach to discovering this terra incognita.
So not a hall of mirrors?
That’s precisely what it isn’t! A hall of mirrors distorts the body, making it thinner or fatter. That’s not what I wanted, it’s not about mirroring the body of the viewer–you anyway see your reflection everywhere, in every mirror, every shop window, every pane of glass. This space with its mirrors is about reflecting the room and extending it.
The concept of space is a key focus of your work; what fascinates you about space?
Modern man has always striven to create new spaces, in philosophy, in art, in architecture. I find it simply great when spaces, both material and immaterial, are deconstructed and redefined. Exploring these spaces and opening up an avenue for perceiving them is exciting. It’s about longing.
Does the voestalpine open space evoke a sense of longing?
Yes, in its own way. It leaves much open, not least because of its structure. I spent time in it during the last Höhenrausch and the one before that. It’s a pretty cool construction, positioned up there and jutting out into space…
What was your artistic approach to the voestalpine open space?
It quickly became clear that I wanted to use a modular system for my work. I’ve often worked with mirrors in the past, and we built a 1:100 scale model of the voestalpine open space in the studio, followed by individual modules at 1:30, and then constructed the mirrored labyrinth.
The installation consists of 102 double mirrors. How does No Man’s Space correlate with the theme of angels?
Angels exist in the spaces in our imagination, spaces we can’t touch, in heaven, in an intermediate realm. The spaces in No Man’s Space are also projections, images of reality. And yet it’s not clear if they exist or not. Just like angels (laughs).
"You can experience confusion. Reality is reflected in all directions."
Eva Schlegel lives and works in Vienna. She is one of Austria’s most renowned artists.
- 1960 born in Hall in Tyrol
- 1979-85 Studied at the University of Applied Arts Vienna under Oswald Oberhuber
- 1997-2006 Professor of art and photography at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
- 2011 Commissioner for the Austrian Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale
- Numerous national and international exhibitions