Interview: Regina Altmann
Luca Curci talks with Regina Altmann during MIXING IDENTITIES, second appointment of CANVAS INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2023, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello in Venice.
Regina Altmann is an artist born and actually based in Austria. At the beginning she start studied Art Education and Industrial Design at the University of Linz then her interest move to nude drawings, paintings, graphic arts and photography. Since 2010 Regina is a lecturer of Art Education at the University of Education Upper Austria in the Pedagogical Training for Primary Education and Inclusive Education. For Regina painting is a form of engagement with the world in which we live in. She doesn‘t want to paint decorative pictures showing a beautiful, perfect world. Where there is pain, she paint it. Her purpose is to touch people with her pictures, she want people to ask new questions about themselves, about what we are, what constitutes us within this world apart from the visible. It is not about the question of guilt, she doesn’t want to impose her thoughts on the viewer, but she want the viewer to perceive one’s own feelings instead of repressing them, also if something hurts.
Luca Curci – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most? Regina Altmann – I am interested in the place where the inner intertwines with the outer world. In my work I deal with philosophical and psychological questions of being in the invisible space between inside and outside. It is very important to me to be authentic, regardless of what others would like to see. Most people want to see a perfect world, they are longing for an ideal, perfect world. But the world we are living in is not perfect. Children are very spontaneous and honest, but at the same time very sensitive and vulnerable. That’s why I painted the children’s portraits of the series “Children of the Universe”. Even though the portrait of a child plays a major role in these paintings, the portrait should not be seen autonomously and isolated as such, but as part of a complex composition.
LC- How did you get to your current artistic practice? RA – As a young artist I studied the old masters of art. I did a lot of nude studies and portraits and I made a lot of drawings and etchings. Currently I am particularly impressed by Jenny Saville’s painting style, with its spontaneous, almost playful brush stroke. A decisive stroke shows skill and confidence in the use of paint. It’s important to me that I don’t have to think while I paint because I don’t have to struggle with proportions and technique anymore. Both the narrative and the creative aspects play major roles in my paintings. Content, rhythm, colour and form are very important for me.
LC – Among the several techniques you use, which one do you prefer to practice and which of them are most compelling for you? RA – Until 2018, I painted exclusively with oil paint. Because of the long drying process of oil colour, I currently prefer to work with acrylic paint or with mixed media. It allows me to work more spontaneously and dynamically. To emphasise details in the picture, I use the contrast between painting and charcoal drawings or printed elements within one composition.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays? RA – Being an artist nowadays is a hard job. In our time, the values of neoliberalism are very much focused on economic growth and profit. The idealistic, spiritual values of art are often no longer perceived. That is a great pity. The quality of a painting is often mistaken with its market value. It is very difficult for artists to attract attention if you don’t have a manager, especially when you are a rather shy or introverted person.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the exhibition? RA – I like the theme of the exhibition, because of the different ways of interpretation.
LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the exhibition’s theme? RA – The title “Mixing Identities” fits well with my series “Children of the Universe”. The children’s portraits reflect different identities and are a kind of in-between world between inside and outside.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us? RA – Yes, it was the first time I worked together with an organization like ITSLIQUID so I could gain new experiences, which are important for my future.