Carl Aigner (english)

Remarks on Andrea Bischof´s Art

…how painting is worthy

of occupying

all our attention

and all our efforts.

Leon Battista Alberti


Transparency and subtle density, fine differentiations and nuanced colors are the first eye-catching characteristics of Andrea Bischofs images. They result from the very precise processes and compositional strategies of her oil painting, which are based on the principle of using layers, beginning from the priming of the canvas and extending to the distinctive punctiform areas left open in the end.

This significant architecture and „tectonics“, in other words the painterly structure of the images thus produced, give rise to their pulsation in the rhythm of depth and surface. Thereby it is no longer questions of traditional picture composition that are at issue, mere abstraction or (post)modern self-reflection, but rather the achievement of a valid relationship between picture plane and picture space or depth with regard to thematic implications and intentions.

Since the development of abstract painting at the beginning of the twentieth century, the art form is no longer a space of representation (of power, symbolism, reality etc.) but an autonomous field of possibilities and transfer. The imaginative, the meditative, the spiritual- in short, aspects of an inner reality and inner flow of consciousness as we have known them since the literary work of James Joyce- are brought into the field of vision of artistic work and visual creation. Thus the painted image can become a space of energy, of intensity and inner extensity, that can be unfolded in the sensuousness of the artist´s approach to painting.

Bischof´s painting is neither gestural nor monochrome, neither abstract nor figurative, neither constructive nor expressive, but rather poetic, vibrating, intuitive, cosmic, „pulsating“, as she herself cogently describes it. The direct and spontaneous aspects of the medium of painting play just as much of a constitutive role as color itself, which for the artist ist the visual medium par excellence. The lucidity and liquidity, the lightness and „legerete“ of her painting gives rise to a state that can best be described as „floating“, this meaning not only the atmospheric, the emotional or the perceptual, but also referring the questions and aspects of visibility and invisibility, of presence and absence. It is no coincidence that the field of tension between making something appear and making something disappear is an emphatic substantial accentuation of the work and not a mere compositional means of covering and leaving out the painting discourse itself.

Heinz Gappmyr is correct in writing that one of the artist´s key objectives is „the differentiation of the relationship between the visible and the invisible.“

Here Bischof is pointing out a pivotal problem with our current experience of the world and of reality, which on the one hand is marked by an intoxication of visibility, a flood of images (the actual pornography of our time), and on the other hand is based on cognitive experiences that are hardly ever visually constituted or based on visibility, occurring instead in the form of abstractions. In that her painting retreats from this phantasm of visibility, she succeeds in establishing an autonomous artistic position.

This is particularly apparent in her charming works on paper (generally tissue paper) and in her in situ works (painting directly on the wall), which display a strongly experimental character and a minimalist gesturalism. It is seen when she drips watercolors onto colored tissue paper to obtain a rhythmic structure of chaotically formed, color-dissolving punctations, or when she evokes a similar structure by using cigarettes to burn patterns of holes into tissue paper, or when she randomly sets down coffee cups on tissue paper to leave behind brown rings, or when she embroiders tissue paper to create quasi infinite lineaments. Here the sensuous quality of the material also plays an important role, whereby the works´ haptic element adds a sculptural touch. Generally these works are filigrained, extremely fragile visual creations that are strongly characterized by transparency (tissue paper!)and a lusty game of searching and discovering, just as the selection of titles represents a further differentiation of the artistic process.

Andrea Bischof is an artist who works carefully and diligently: swift or hasty creation is foreign to her. Conceptual deliberation and concidental enablement are the trademarks of her artistic discourse, which again and again retreats from verbalizations and directs our attention to an experience of end enrichment by the world beyond language. Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one should not remain silent, but rather show it visually! The great French painter Eugène Delacroix once remarked that the first task of a picture is to be a feast for the eye- in this sense Bischof´s images are, beyond all philosophical and artistic reflections, also a feast for our eyes…

Carl Aigner