press release

"Although the body seems to be at the centre of my work, what I do would also be conceivable without it. It is present, because I am forced to deal with its blunders, but usually with those caused by the spirit and the way the reaction of the body to the spirit can effect the spirit." (Elke Krystufek)

Elke Krystufek (who was born in Vienna in 1970) exploits different media, such as drawing, photography, video, performances and installations. Sometimes she combines her own spoken or written comments with verbal or pictorial quotations from the sphere of philosophy, art, everyday life, advertising or caricature, to form sophisticated and poetic pictorial structures, in which her own body becomes the object of an investigation of (female) identity.

In "Elke Krystufek reads Otto Weininger" (1985-1995), a series of 45 photos/text collages and a video, Elke Krystufek for instance deconstructs Otto Weininger's anti-semitic and misogynous statements about "the inferiority of the female that springe from of her seeming inability to curb or sublimate her sexual appetites."

Krystufek's installation "Satisfaction" (1994, Kunsthalle Vienna) - which was also the setting for a masturbation perfommance by the artist - seemed to continue methods tested by Viennese Actionism in the 60's and 70's. These tended to place the body in a social and political context, but Krystufek intermalised their political outlook. Her artistic standpoint is described by Christian Kravagna as the reflection of a chartging social frame of reference "that culturally sanctions what had once been brought forward as examples of repression (Wiener Aktionismus) and which institutionalises this process of recall as a typically "artistic" task, so that breaking these taboos now produces much different reactions to the 60's".

Thus, Elke Krystutek upholds a form of fictitious privacy in both her installations and performances (and similarly in many of the photographic and video works) with the aid of an exhibitionist presentation of her own personal circumstances and the state of her body to generate works of art. In a way, Elke Krystufek provokes a form of voyeurism by making her body a projection area for pornography, female sexuality and masculine fantasies.

Under the title "i am your mirror" Elke Krystufek shows an installation of partitions in the Vienna Secession that act as mountings for her paintings, drawings and photographs. The partitions, which are lined up in narrow rows behind one another, not only hinder any glimpse of the whole exhibition and its architectural parameters, but also safeguard the works from "being perceived too quickly". They hide a series of self-portraits that are placed on the wall furthest back: the rear ends of the partitions present photos, that were taken since 1985 - the year in which Elke Krystufek decided to become an artist.

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Elke Krystufek
"i am your mirror"