Interviews | July 12, 2022 |

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Image courtesy of Michael Kopplstätter

Interview: Michael Kopplstätter
Luca Curci
talks with Michael Kopplstätter during VISIONS, third appointment of ANIMA MUNDI 2022, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.

I am a German artist who lives and works in Austria. When I was young, I spent some time in New York where I got to know the German artist Salome, an artist from the art movement The New Wild (die Neue Wilde). In the 1980s, Salome’s group was considered a counter-movement to the prevailing conceptual art scene during which they shifted to painting. Needless to say, I was infected by the spontaneous and expressive elements of the Neue Wilde at a young age. I currently work and live in Dornbirn and Schwarzenberg, Austria. My works are mostly large-format oil and acrylic paintings which are simultaneously realistic and alienating. Shapes and contours are blurred, out of focus, distorted or alienated. However, the realistic impression is retained and is heightened by a dynamic color composition. Since 2011, I have been working in my studio located in Hohenems in the historic Villa Rosenthal, as well as in my studio loft in the building of the Arche Noah Museum since 2018. My switch to representational painting may have been impacted by my prior work as a designer, or be interpreted as a counter-movement to the still prevalent conceptual art genre. The influence of the artist Salome in my early years can still be seen today in recurring “violent” details. If noted that the general trend is back to painting in recent years, especially in its figurative formulation, this would mean that my works are associated with these mediums: individual handwriting, expression, singularity, and references to historical positions. Portraits and depictions of women play a vital role in my work.

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Image courtesy of Michael Kopplstätter

Luca Curci – Which subject are you working on?
Michael Kopplstätter – Inspiration I find more or less everywhere, but especially in female faces and bodies. Thus the main subject is a kind of figurative, big-scale Oil painting. Working in a traditional and timeless realm. Before the surface dries, I treat it to reveal a distorted image frozen in time and space. Iconic paintings waver between abstraction and figuration. Then, when I have a ‘perfect painting’, I deconstruct it, leaving in its wake traces of what was. Thus what remains in the present is a single transient, but a captive moment. The newest paintings unite the precision and nostalgia of realism with the bold dynamism and pulsating energy of gestural abstraction. Creating mysterious and eerie. Effects are lost in the fog of memory, time and space. The signature style encompasses bands of pigment that alternate between static, thick marks and blurred, flowing sweeps. The human figure remains at the core of his explorations, courting the viewer’s memories, and leaving him with a vague gnawing that he has missed something lying just beneath the surface.

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Image courtesy of Michael Kopplstätter

LC- How did you get to your current artistic practice?
MK –
Actually I did work a bit with the faded technic of Gerhard Richter, but moved it into a more modern, stylish way. By working with the faded technic I experimented to bring this silent expression into a more progressive kind of “blurred expressionism” movement. Generally, my artworks are full of juxtapositions, tension, release, and intensity but also silence. The paintings are emotive and sensual, realistic and figurative representations from blended with abstract elements to memorizing effects. The work beautifully captures the vulnerability of the subjects, dissolving into the canvas, each screen is full of movement, intensity and light.

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Image courtesy of Michael Kopplstätter

LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
MK –
I am working mainly in series. Thus my latest works were really these figurative, sexy images with this super blurred, expressionism which seems to reflect a very unique own handwriting of mine. This cycle I have finished now and I am going with my blurred expressionism now into and landscape series.

LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
MK –
I think being an artist is a gift of the universe. And I take this gift in honor. Working as an artist is kind of humbling and it touches my soul deeply. Each day is a development which fulfils my heart. And if you get good feedback from your collectors and they are in love with your paintings it makes me really happy. With most of my collectors, I became friends over time. So I guess it is great being an artist and I think it is quite easy, touching live. Sure you have to see it a bit like a business. Your setup has to be professional, you have to be serious about your work and you have to commit to your collectors. But that’s fine. Social Media is a big thing which is a bit annoying, but again you have to do a bit on that side too. Working with galleries seems to become more and more tricky. You have to be aware to choose a good partner.

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Image courtesy of Michael Kopplstätter

LC – Do visitors’ suggestions enrich yourself and your art?
MK –
Certainly I get influenced by visitors’ and especially collectors’ suggestions. For some of my collectors, I commissioned works which were really inspiring and moved my art forward.

LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
MK –
I love the concept of ITSLIQUID in Venice. Their locations are bohemian, which suits perfectly to my paintings. An exhibition during La Biennale is a great opportunity for international success and for my collectors, it is an interesting aspect.

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Image courtesy of Michael Kopplstätter

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?
MK –
The link to ITSLIQUID Event is the idea that the human soul is connected to the human body. With my figurative paintings, abstracted with the blurred expressionism and the achieved effect to leave the viewer’s memory with a vague gnawing that he has missed something lying just beneath the surface I think the paintings are nicely fitted to the theme. I did not make special works for the event, but I think Luca Curci made a really good selection on the point.

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Image courtesy of Michael Kopplstätter

LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
MK –
Certainly I recommend a collaboration for artists with ITSLIQUID Group. The services are very good, all is very professionally organized.

LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
MK –
As said communication, transportation and all other is perfectly organized. I like the taste of Luca Curci, he has a really good eye and hand for selecting the right artwork.

LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
MK –
ITSLIQUID Group is for me a great platform to be present in important locations for some international references.

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Image courtesy of Michael Kopplstätter
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Image courtesy of Michael Kopplstätter

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