Interviews | May 4, 2023 |

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Image courtesy of Brigitte Gaggl

Interview: Brigitte Gaggl
Luca Curci talks with Brigitte Gaggl, during MIXING IDENTITIES second appointment of CANVAS INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2023, held in Venice at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello, during the 6th Edition of ROME INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR, at Medina Art Gallery and during SUPERNATURAL, held in London, at THE LINE Contemporary Art Space.

Brigitte Gaggl lives and works as a photographer and visual artist in Vienna and Zurich. Her work has been exhibited in Switzerland, Italy, Austria and England. She was a finalist of renowned Premio Combat Prize and Arte Laguna Prize and exhibited her work at the Arsenal in Venice.

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Image courtesy of Brigitte Gaggl

Luca Curci – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
Brigitte Gaggl –
I have been working in photography and visual artist for over 25 years. Already during my education I was fascinated by historical analogue photo processes. Cyanotype was particularly well suited to the idea of putting photographs on fabric. After a lot of testing and trial work, my first artwork was created. I especially liked the fact that I was transforming a digital image, a modern technique, through processing to the third oldest historical photographic process. I break down the binary system, dissect a pixel image and add variables from analogue chemical processes. To get the final artwork, the single images are sewn together. Each individual part contains image information and it is only by sewing them together that the final artwork is created. It is a similar process to that of a pixel image. A pixel alone does not show much. I always talk about a “parabola in blue”. Normally you digitise analogue material. I simply turn the process around.

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Image courtesy of Brigitte Gaggl

LC – What are your thoughts while you paint? Do you have any habits or rituals while
you work?
BG –
It takes over 15 steps for my sewn-together cyanotypes. There are some habits on my part. While I am photographing, I focus all my visual perception on the image detail. It is like a kind of pause, a moment of complete silence. Then comes the image processing and the technical preparations. A habit of mine is to work with headphones while doing this. Depending on the work step, it’s music or an audio book. Of course, I can’t do without my work coat. As soon as I put it on, I step, metaphorically speaking, into the world of my artwork.

LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
BG –
I find inspiration for my work somehow everywhere. Water is a particularly intense source of inspiration for me. I love the coast, the sea, the lake, the river. I experience creativity by, at and in the water. Maybe it’s also because of the colour blue and the transparency.

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Image courtesy of Brigitte Gaggl

LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
BG –
Cyanotype is the third oldest photochemical process dating back to 1842, for which I mix the light-sensitive chemistry and coats each piece with a brush. Working in analogue is an exciting challenge in times of digital photography. The processes take more time and factors such as air pressure, humidity, water temperature, water hardness and much more play a significant role. Many of my artworks consist of several single images. Even if I try to make everything the same, the results often look different. This was a variable I had to struggle with in the beginning. But it is precisely these variables that give the artwork its own character. No two single images are alike, no two pieces are alike. Another part that requires a lot is the sewing together. I sew on the back side, so I have to connect the single images very precisely. I always have to make sure that the single parts do not warp. I only work with cotton gloves. Sensitivity is the most important thing in my work. Because of this combination of historical and contemporary photographic techniques and the elaborate craftsmanship involved, it is impossible to make a duplicate. Not only is the entire artwork unique, but so each single part of the artwork is unique.

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Image courtesy of Brigitte Gaggl

LC – How do you feel when you see your work completed?
BG –
When my artwork is finished, I am happy, exhausted and excited at the same time. Happy because it’s something new, exhausted because it’s been many hours of ups and downs, and excited because I’m curious to see how people react to the artwork. With every artwork I make, I learn something. About the technical process, the do’s and dont’s and about myself. But there are also moments when I am not satisfied with the result. When you realise that the artwork doesn’t work, for me or for the viewer. That’s all right, too. You just have to keep going. It is a process.

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Image courtesy of Brigitte Gaggl

LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the
exhibition’s theme?
BG –
The theme SUPERNATURAL analyses the relationship between body and space. The structure of my artwork reflects the relationship between people, their bodies and the space around them. The protagonists in the picture, the artwork itself communicates with the viewer. It extends perception from the two-dimensional into the three-dimensional. I think the term “supernatural” fits quite well here, doesn’t it?

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Image courtesy of Brigitte Gaggl

LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
BG –
To do this, I have to start with the name of the artwork, which is: “Is this it? Is this life?” The view from the “I” on the protagonists of one’s own existence. The human being as a construct. One part supports the other. Together they form a unity. The physicality serves as a cloak and protects the inside from outside glances. Humans take on different roles in their lives. They are a part of us. Like travellers, they move through our lives and fill us with emotions – stormy or gentle, loud or quiet, light or dark. They are a part of ourselves. At some point, we all ask ourselves the questions: „Is this it? Is this life?“ These questions highlight the finite nature of existence. The colour blue often suggests infinity in our perception and thus stands as an antithesis to the question. The cyanotype on fabric – flowing soft – like a protective cloak. Consisting of 12 single parts sewn into each other. 12 parts that support each other and form a unique whole.

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Image courtesy of Brigitte Gaggl

LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
BG –
I hope so. I think itsliquid group gives artists a good opportunity to present their artworks

LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
BG –
Sure. The communication with the responsible persons worked smoothly.

LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
BG –
The platform presents itself professionally, stylishly and internationally. You can quickly find
your way around and it offers many possibilities.

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Image courtesy of Brigitte Gaggl

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