Auf einem Gitter aus Stahl sehen wir verschiedene Motive aus farbiger Keramik. Die Wandskulptur von Verina Schwarz ist in allen Details von ihr. Die Künstlerin wurde sowohl im Metallschweißen als auch im Keramikhandwerk ausgebildet. Ihr Werk aus dem Jahr 2021 enthält nichts weniger als eine Kosmogonie und zugleich ein Programm der Lebenskunst, was bereits sein Titel signalisiert: „Cosmic Service – at your service - zu Ihren Diensten“.
Der Begriff „Cosmic Service“ findet sich in Keramikbuchstaben prominent in der Mitte des Werks. Er deutet darauf hin, dass uns Lebenskräfte aus dem Kosmos zuwachsen, was Schwarz in ihrer Bilderzählung visualisiert. Oben treiben Wolken, unten sehen wir die Erde. Dazwischen ranken grüne Pflanzen als Energieträger, die uns mit der notwendigen Kraft für das Leben ausstatten. Die Ästhetik des Werks erinnert an die Vitalität der Metal Szene, die Ironie von Camp und die Zartheit des Jugendstils.
Die Künstlerin, die in Tanz und Meditationsübungen sich und ihren Körper entdeckt hat, will uns mit ihrer Kunst für ähnliche Erfahrungen sensibilisieren: Dass wir hinter den Horizont schauen. Freiheit im Leben entdecken. Die Kraft erkennen, die Gedanken auf unsere Gefühle haben. Und realisieren, dass Liebe ihre feinste Ausprägung nicht in der Selbstliebe, sondern in der Liebe zum Nächsten hat.
Text: Michael Stoeber
Interview with Christina Gigliotti (curator)
When and why did you start making art?
I first started out with photography and nude drawing. Through that, I came to think about composition and how to become looser in drawing lines. When I started painting on canvas about six years ago, I believe that was the initial point when I first dared to express my authentic self.
It was an inner need for me to begin with that, and I could not begin with that before because I was just too restless.
You use a variety of recognizable symbols in your work: some old, others more contemporary. What does it mean for you to combine these together in your compositions?
For me it means that everything can exist together right now. These symbols from the past and these new metaphors we are creating rely on certain images we’ve seen from childhood. The others might not exist without the ones that came before. I want to remember and appreciate these irritating and hermetic symbols from the past.
Thoughts or theories about life’s mysteries may have been more refined in the past than we think, and these ideas might be represented in symbols that elude us in today’s age.
I’m playing with new age ideas today, which again seem contemporary for my generation. I like creating art in a playful, slushy way, focusing on ideas from spirituality. It’s both experimental and serious for me. Through art-making I allow myself to play with my conception of the world. Humility typically comes from an experience of crashing or failure, which leads to learning something we perhaps didn’t know previously. This experience can be elucidating!
Female figures are often present in your paintings and collages. Could you talk a bit about this?
I recognized that I love to surround myself with paintings of women who are pictured alone, like “strong loners”, and noticed a link to my personal history. I’m searching for strong presentations of women, because that’s been missing in my life. So I try to invoke strength out of these images I create. These expressionist paintings of women are more just out of the moment. It’s a completely different process to create these as opposed to my ceramics and airbrush paintings.
I see some elements of Romanticism in your work. Would you say that you are creating narratives?
The unconscious of the human psyche is lived out and appears. Neither form nor content are specified. In this way, songs, stories, fairy tales and poems are mixed together, and poetry, science and philosophy are combined. This marks the time of Romanticism, and I feel this very strongly. I think the narrative present in my paintings is about how to locate and feel myself in the world, how to remember myself and what I want to be aware of.
So yes, there are paintings where I choose the composition quite precisely. In my wall sculptures with ceramics I also try to tell a story out of that composition. For example, in my work Cosmic Service I create a map illustrating the flow of energy coming up from the universe down to earth,
but you have to know how to gain that “cosmic service” and then you can be aware of what is happening in this image.
The work Ace of Swords shows a hand appearing from a white cloud holding a sword, which is symbolic of the mind and intellect, draped with a wreath, symbolizing success and victory.
This scene is drenched with symbols that stand for nature and the universe. So the sword symbolizes the mind, which in this case is me. I want to remember myself that I am surrounded by so many beautiful elements in my own life. And it also reminds me that I will need mental resilience to navigate through life’s path of challenges.