An installation of works developed during an artist residency by the sea on Ireland’s West Coast.
The title is suggestive of different meanings. The climatic and political systems we are living in right now are warming, or rather, they are heating, even in places boiling. But heat need not be a disruptive force, energy is needed for comfort and movement, engagement, exchange, even love.
Warming Systems considers artistic working processes. What keeps us going, what keeps us warm and engaged? Most artists don’t belong to the few who can earn enough to enjoy middle class lifestyles. Yet we are envied at the same time for our perceived freedom that we are expected to possess, that we do indeed have to an extent: our outsider status permits certain space to depart from conservatives conventions and life- models. At the same time many of us are struggling – usually money wise sometimes with recognition and occasionally with the work itself – yet we still don’t want to let go. We don’t want to let go of the time we spend in our studios, the time we spend working and thinking, challenging ourselves, looking for something that we don’t yet quite perceive, even when our studios are cold.
Artistic residencies are special times. They are intense. Set up for a limited time in an unknown surrounding. Some of us come with specific research concepts, some bring their studio practice as a starting point, some (me) bring impossible tasks like wanting to print the surface of the sea, some bring books and some are just tired and needing to recharge.
On a residency we meet people, we meet other artists. We exchange thoughts, show our works, share ideas, views, food, bad jokes, and work together or alongside each other. In this, we are fed with different ways of doing what we were doing before, reworking the objects, thoughts, shapes, colors we brought from home, reconsidering them in a new seascape. We bring birthmarks that suddenly become landmarks in a different surrounding. We change the colors we use, as the light is different, so to the moods and the colors holding presence in new cultural geographies.
We might also change taste or try something else, looking for the odd, being critical of the beautiful, while we admire rainbows and dramatic changes in lighting.
All works were made over October 2023 in Westport, Ireland, at “The Custom House Studios”. The pattern of the wallpaper was developed based on blueprints that show the directions of the water that flows through the heating system of the printmaking workshop of the studios.
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I particularly want to thank Caroline Masterson, who is in charge of the workshop in Westport for sharing her knowledge on print, catching bubbles on copper plates despite all the odds, for caring, collaborating, providing a seemingly endless supply of paper and teaching me how to play the tin whistle.
Thank you to Fiona, Linda and John from Custom House Studios and thank you to the one, who made me swim in the Atlantic, joined me from a distance, edited this text and didn’t get tired of discussing grey tones. Thank you also to so many other people, friends, colleagues and family, without whom work and shows don’t happen, but who we rarely mention: my brother Tobias and my dad for helping out with framing (again), Peter Fritzenwallner, Stefan Wirnsperger and Vika Prokopaviciute, who always find time to share their perspective, who criticize and support, Heti Prack, who kindly and patiently helped with installing for very little money, Philipp Patkowitsch, Kirsten Borchert and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna for letting me expose the screens for the wallpaper, Nino Svireli for reading and supporting this text, Andreas Hoffer for inviting me to the show, NOEDOK for providing the space and financial support and AIR Krems for sending me to Ireland.