Interview: Heidemaria Abfalterer
Luca Curci talks with Heidemaria Abfalterer during the 7th Edition of ROME INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR, at Medina Art Gallery.
Heidemaria Abfalterer’s works of collage confront the viewer with bold statements reflecting the impressions of the artist. Having worked as a newspaper archivist for her first job, Abfalterer found inspiration in the images discarded with impunity on a daily basis – she began collecting and arranging them, creating her own signature pieces. Beginning with an aesthetic approach, Abfalterer’s process starts with the newsprint images on top of which she layers paint and critical statements. Her oeuvre demonstrates a clear commitment to freedom of speech, and the press as well as individual freedom, tolerance and equality – no matter where you come from. Abfalterer hopes to effect positive change with her art as well as in her life where she works as a content- and copywriter.
Luca Curci – Which subject are you working on?
Heidemaria Abfalterer – Since I work with newspapers, the topics arise from current events all over the world, but especially in German-speaking countries. It is important to me to stimulate people to think in a positive way. The statements on my collages should stimulate thought and open up new perspectives. My work upholds the importance of free expression and carries the message that it’s never too late to turn things around for the better.
LC – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
HA – My choice of medium was born out of my first occupation in a newspaper archive. As we catalogued the papers, we were left with piles of them to throw out at the end of the day. I loved the beautiful photos I saw on the discarded pages and I started to collect them. In my work, I collage newspapers on canvas and wood panels, which I finish off with a layer of acrylic paint and a lettering statement channelling my daily impressions and fears. Each piece brings attention to a topic that is dear to me, such as climate change, greed, and immigration, while preserving the value of the printed word, which risks disappearing in this digital age.
LC – Do visitors’ suggestions enrich yourself and your art?
HA – No. But they can assign me a specific topic.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
HA – I started with watercolors in the 1990s but soon switched to powder pigments and acrylics in the style of Marc Rothko. For the last 15 years, I have been dealing with the increasing disappearance of classic print media and the associated loss of a natural, unconscious basic aesthetic education. The quality of the different newsprint merges with its structure and color to form a unit that can hardly be surpassed in terms of elegance and impressiveness.
LC – Which art themes do you pursue? What is your preferred subject, if there is any?
HA – My favourite topics are how people interact with others and their environment, but also themes such as luck, wealth, fame and coincidence.
LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this event? How is it connected to the theme of the entire exhibition?
HA – “OURS FIRST” deals with the topic of foreign identities and migration. Also with the attitude people are right in looking down on others. The newspaper photos in the background tell the story of immersing yourself in their world without prejudice and connecting with it. “ARE WE EQUAL” aims at inequality and the right of freedom of every human being. Identity develops from experience and is always a mix of self-reflection and curiosity about others. Different lifestyles and expressive ways of thinking enrich society all over the world.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the exhibition?
HA – I think it’s very good that very different artists and techniques are brought together in one exhibition on such an important topic. This broadens the horizons of everyone involved.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
HA – The platform is a very good opportunity to present yourself outside of your country. I’m very grateful.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
HA – Unfortunately I can’t take part on site but I feel very well looked after and thank the organizers.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
HA – Yes, of course. Your services are great. Thanks.