Galerie Hubert Winter

Birgit Jürgenssen
Painted Photography
14. January – 5. March 2011
Und ich denke an sie, während sie sich auf einem langsamen,
stillen Rückwärtsflug von mir entfernen, mein Gesicht verlassen,
meinen Körper, den Geräteschuppen, die Villa mit ihrem Efeu, den Garten,
das Viertel, die Stadt, die Welt, den Himmel, die Sterne. Ich bin noch da.
Jetzt habe ich eine Geschichte. Also bin ich nicht mehr allein.
Die letzten Zeilen. In: Walter Veltroni, Die Entdeckung des Sonnenaufgangs. Dt. v. A. Kopetzki. Stuttgart, Klett-Cotta, 2010.

Birgit Jürgenssen fittingly called her scratched photographs “painted photography”.

The American writer Louisa May Alcott (1832 – 1888) suggested that hard working female writers put on a “scribbling suit” when barricading themselves in their rooms to write and to furiously scribble onto paper. It seems Birgit Jürgenssen has put on her “scribbling suit” when she started to work on her photographic papers, created similarly to drip paintings, in the darkroom. The violation of the surface of photographic paper in itself is a tremendous breach of a taboo, and historically undescribed. Katharina Sykora writes extensively about Jürgenssen’s small body of work from the early 1980s (twenty-five works are known so far) in her essay for the catalogue edited by Gabriele Schor and Heike Eipeldauer and published for the artist’s retrospective exhibition at the Bank Austria Kunstforum, Vienna:
In a group of large format photograms the artist experimented with photography without camera.

In this process she moved the light sensitive photo papers in the developing and fixing baths in a way that an erratically marbled display of delicate shades of grey was created. She also poured photochemistry directly onto these, leaving behind dark traces resemblant of drip paintings. Through exposure to light and a final fixing bath an abstract photogram was produced, the fluid pattern of which results partly from the autogenesis of the image and partly from Jürgenssen’s painterly gesture. This mutual interaction is primarily based upon the hand’s intuitive response to the material and not on eyesight. It is an open-ended process that contains an element of uncertainty, since the result during the developing process cannot be completely calculated and will reveal itself only after the final fixing bath. To Jürgenssen, the double movement that lies within the surface of the finished photogram was more significant than the final aesthetic result: a pas-de-deux of the photographic surface and the artist’s hand.

Since 2006, Galerie Hubert Winter annually exhibits a selection of works produced during a decade or a body of work by the artist Birgit Jürgenssen (1949 – 2003). We would like to refer to the artist’s current retrospective, curated by Gabriele Schor and Heike Eipeldauer, at Bank Austria Kunstforum in Vienna, where more than 250 pieces from all periods of her oeuvre are on view, and the formidable exhibition catalogue. The exhibition will be on view until March 6, 2011.