Exploring, telling stories and arguing through painting and drawing with Katharina Höglinger

Katharina Höglinger (b. 1983)

2004 -2011 Universität für künstlerische Gestaltung Linz, Fine Arts / Painting
Diploma October 2011
2010/11 Abroad scholarship, Kunsthochschule Weißensee Berlin, Theory

based in Vienna, Austria


What inspired you to be an artist? When did you begin expressing yourself through creative avenues?

The idea of a structured 40-hour job freaked me out since I was first asked “What do you want to be (profession) as an adult?”. I guess one of my main reasons to choose artist as a profession was that you can go on questioning established structures and find your own life design, etc. despite that I see painting & drawing as my language, with which I can explore, tell stories and argue.

Tell us about your artistic journey: where did you receive an art education, or are you are self-taught or currently studying? Where are you from and where do you currently live and practice art?

Before I started studying art at Kunstuniversität Linz, painting+drawing was one of my favorite spare time activities. I didn’t have any art background, so at university it was very confusing and I wasn’t able to express myself as I imagined. I got more and more interested in art theory and went to Berlin for an abroad scholarship and studied one year in the theory class at Kunsthochschule Weißensee. I quit painting/drawing just before my diploma for about 3 years and worked on a very open art network project together with my close friend Lisa Kainz. We made publications, exhibitions and events, were we would invite people and let them realize whatever they had in their mind. When I moved to Vienna I started painting again and found somehow back to this natural need for producing artworks in my studio. I am self-employed as a professional artist sine three years now.  I often think about how weird it is, after having chosen becoming an artist for partly rebellious reasons, being overly dependent on the capitalist or structural system you were always suspicious of.

What ideas are you currently exploring in your work?

Therefore I choose to use a quote from a text by Flora Peyrer-Heimstätt on my last solo show ‘a posture for something else’ at TOWER Vienna:

“What is depicted does not represent objects only, but rather: suggestions to reinvent ourselves as active individuals, and reinterpret the environment as material of our thinking and feeling (instead of subordinating ourselves to whatever expectations): ‘Self portrait as struggling flowers.’ In this form, this symbolism helps us grasp our ontology by putting it onto the canvas, marking it with her signature and therefore making it accessible. At the same time, it illustrates the possibility of free choice, of taking the opportunity to recapture the means of selfdetermination as human beings (and artists): ‘Don’t let anyone control your palette.’

The aim is therefore necessarily that someone feels addressed, – that the picture gets ‘Liked’ in an expanded sense. For this purpose, Katharina Höglinger uses the technique of ‘borrowing’ (Richard Wollheim). In addition to historical models (‘Carrying Raphael’) and the works of contemporary artists, everything is potentially a visual source for image reference. The challenge is to expand the subject matter in a certain way. Höglinger tries this by, as it were, completing a train of thought, and shows what the chosen motive or topic could be to us: ‘8 apples from him*her to you personally (helping you cope with your situation)’, ‘no nutcracker at home, I wanted to crack nuts for you (F. M.)’.”

Which mediums do you use in your work, and what appeals to you about them?

From oil to some random school pencils, I really use the whole palette of painting and drawing supply. Recently I have been working a lot with markers, oil pastels, watercolor, acrylic and oil paint. Often I discover a new material just because someone forgot it in my studio. For example, I never used spray paint until a friend of mine came from spraying outside and left his cans on my couch. Since then, I often use them as a further layer in my oil paintings.

Tell us about some of the highlights of your artistic career, such as memorable shows/exhibitions where you have exhibited or publications and blogs where your work has been featured?

The highlights for this year are clearly my recent solo show at TOWER Vienna and I will participate in an amazing film, art & music festival “Fey Rencontres D´Arts” in October.

Last year I got invited to a group show called “Symbolisms” at Cooper Cole gallery in Toronto, curated by Chris Sharp. It was very exciting for me for several reasons: I love the work of Chris Sharp, I like the program of the gallery a lot and most of all, my work was shown amongst great artists like Bruce Sherman, Rachelle Sawatsky & Santiago De Paoli.

Regarding blogs, I am always happy when my work is featured at Kuba Paris (my favorite online magazine <3).

What’s next for you? Feel free to share any of your future plans such as exhibitions, travels, residencies, collaborations or any other interesting information relating to your art career.

As I already mentioned before, I will show paintings in the vegetable garden of a castle in France/Burgundy in the frame of the festival “Fey Rencontres D´Arts”. They have a list of artists I am really honored to be part of and excited that Peggy Pehl is also invited, whom I like a lot as an artist and a person.

Wishful thinking: I can make my living without any part time jobs, get an amazing gallery, have an artist residence in NY, so I can visit my close friend who left from Vienna.

Are you inspired by the work of your peers or anyone else in particular?

Endless list, here are some:
Lee Lozano
Wolfgang Tillmans
Peggy Pehl
Tau Lewis
Dorothy Iannone
Ida Ekblad
Maruša Höglinger
Louis Fratino
Frieda Toranzo Jäger
Amelie von Wulffen
Allison Katz
Paul Branca
Frida Kahlo
Joan Mitchel
Sonia Delaunay
Henri Matisse
Maria Lassnig
Rene Daniels
Albert Öhlen
Cindy Ji Hye Kim
Santiago de Paoli
Bruce Sherman
Toyin Ojih Odutola
Quinn Latimer
David Hockney

And of course a lot of inspiring artists I hang out with here in Vienna – they know their names. I suggest to have a look at the Viennese art scene – it is lovely here!

Can you share any fun facts about you or something that you like to do apart from making art?

Puhhh, maybe we have to get to know each other little better before I share my fun facts.

Interview by Olha Pryymak for ArtMaze Magazine.

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