In the fourth solo exhibition of the works of Christine and Irene Hohenbüchler, Galerie Barbara Weiss will be showing an installation composed of large-format drawings, sculptures and a video film. With these works, the artists are referring to the tradition of depicting nature that developed in a dependence on discoveries, research, economic factors and technical possibilities.
The “aetheticized” illustrations common in the 19th century exert a particular fascination on the artists: “With the help of magnifying glasses and, later, microscopes, the structures of plants became recognizable and one could discover the myriad worlds of micro-organisms. Detailed representations became possible, such as the botanical watercolours by the Viennese painter Moritz Michael Daffinger (1790-1849). Daffinger portrayed local plant life meticulously and true to life without being in service to a botanist. He worked with the subjective view of the painter who is only interested in the individual characteristic of a portrait.”
Christine and Irene Hohenbüchler combine such representations of plants with the skeletal drawings of single-celled organisms, so-called radiolarians, by Ernst Haeckl (1834-1919) that give the impression of crystalline architecture of a sculptural order. This order can be rediscovered in the standing metal pavilions in the gallery that are indicative of the microscopically small forms and the structural function of plant fibres, offering an architectural allusion to historic gardens.
In a time-lapse procedure, the video film shows ten days of rehearsals for the minimalist play “Palais Donaustadt” (Theatercombinat Vienna, directed by Claudia Bosse). During the activity on an excavation plot near the Danube, the sunlight – from sunrise to sunset – is reflected in the newly built crystalline constructions. Here again, the artists’ object becomes apparent, that of correlating configurations to be found in natural phenomena with the processes of civilization.