The Transcendent in the Painting of Eva Kaiser

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If one wants to characterise Eva Kaiser's painting, terms such as expressive, powerful, dynamic come to mind. Hermann Nitsch, one of her teachers, found the beautiful word "intoxicating" in this context. This is a profoundly lively, worldly, sensuous art. It has great depth of content, but is far from ascetic, meditative. It is pure energy, pure life. How can such painting be sacred?

If one leafs through Eva Kaiser's catalogue of works, one finds, alongside purely abstract paintings, parallel pictures that correspond to the classical genres of European painting in the expressionist style language that has proven itself for over 100 years. The human figure as a nude plays a central role here, landscapes appear less frequently. And quite naturally Eva Kaiser also deals with sacred themes, a Pietà, an Annunciation, time and again crucifixions. This is a pictorial world that many painters nowadays give a wide berth to, or try to approach with rather clumsy means. "The spirit of God blows through my pictures" is what I sometimes hear when I stand somewhat perplexed in front of a composition of billowing colour surfaces. Eva Kaiser does not need such attempts at explanation. The great emotional power contained in her works is felt immediately and directly by all who look at these pictures. And she seamlessly transfers this emotional power to the sacred sphere. In her crucifixion paintings, the brutality of the event becomes almost physically tangible through the multi-layered application of paint, the powerful brushstrokes, the trickling drops of paint. At the same time, the light mood conveys the promise of resurrection and redemption, without this needing to be explicitly stated. Via Appia", which is entirely in grey tones, is perhaps an exception here, but it is often precisely this exception that confirms the rule. Where does the sacred sphere begin in Eva Kaiser's painting, where does it end? As in many areas of her work, the boundaries become blurred. In addition to the paintings that deal with classical biblical themes, works such as "The Law" , "The Storm", "Adam's Power" or "Behind" can be interpreted sacrally, or against an agnostic background, generally humanly. Therefore, it is probably better to speak of transcendence rather than sacrality in the context of these works.

Eva Kaiser sometimes gives her paintings titles that are open enough to leave the viewer plenty of room for his or her own interpretations. This is one of the great qualities of her art and demands from all who stand in front of her pictures an intensive examination that cannot be completed with a fleeting glance. In addition, the texts she herself provides for her pictures (if she does so at all) are so ambiguous that they pose more questions than they answer. And that is a good thing! For the monumental painting "The Thought", which fills an entire wall in the museum of Klosterneuburg Abbey, we have already received 5 or 6 completely different interpretations from visitors. And the beauty of it is that each one is correct in itself and for itself! To look at art - to reflect - to harmonise it with one's own wealth of experience and one's own world of feelings, to find oneself and something new, hitherto unexperienced, in it. Whoever manages to get people to do this in our day and age, in which sensory overload is becoming ever greater and attention spans ever shorter, has already achieved great things!

Curator Mmag. Wolfgang Huber

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Firenze during the festive season

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Museum Stift Klosterneuburg - Sala terrena Gallery - The Good Works

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hermann nitsch action painting

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