In den Flüssen nördlich der Zukunft
"Nocturnal the river of hours flows from its source, the eternal tomorrow …"
Miguel de Unamuno
The work of Viennese artist Olivia Kaiser vindicates the temporality and persistence of painting in its relation to the historical gaze of the spectator. A producer of work of slow processes, of poetics that fuse language and time, she is interested in investigating the pictorial and its drifts.
The artist nurtures her work with moments deployed in the first person: poetry, political commitment, and the awareness of the passage of time. Her pieces are thought and created in a past voice, in retrospective journeys, as if she reversed what has already been seen, to complete and project, to reactivate in the contemporary. Everything in her production coexists in a melody that sounds irremediably autobiographical.
Time, that jarring question, is perhaps, as Borges suggests, “the most vital problem of metaphysics”. One of the great uncertainties of humankind in the course of history has been to define its nature, whether that of mathematics or that of living beings. Determining its flow has been an obsession, and it is commonly held that it flows from past to future, but the opposite notion is no less logical. This is also Olivia’s concern, which is translated into her artistic cosmogony.
In her works there emerges an unconscious and mysterious plot that the artist encourages. Aware of her style and with a defined palette, she observes the space and its potentialities and includes her desires. Subtle, corporal, mental, direct. Her stroke and gesture, vision and movement, guide the viewer’s gaze through and beyond the canvas, to the architecture of the artist’s imagination.
The compositions reveal a body: telluric volumes of color that highlight the poetic light, and layers of texture capable of confiscating time from the abstract composition. They fluctuate between the atemporal and furtive, functioning as a repository of experiences, concepts and images. At first glance, the pieces are rough and inflexible, but once the gaze has travelled the canvas, its planes, colors, light and texture, that is, after experiencing them, they are liberating. This attitude evokes a fluid place beyond the inevitable flow of time that comes from the future and advances unstopp - able to the past.
Fleeing from labels, the artist opts for a provocative timelessness, for a set of islands that are metaphors of internal exiles, of shelters and dreams. Her production is a place where time converges with the pictorial, a dance of perspectives, a procession of languages and forms that leads to the personal, to the intimacy of the artist. In this way, we discover compositions that reconstruct possible pasts while trying to undo conflicts of the present, processes governed by its end.
The selected pieces are works that arrest the gaze first, fragment, concatenate, vanish, and incarnate time. Afterwards, they develop in techniques of accumulation and depuration from the abstract, emphasizing the rhythm, the conquest of a moment, melodically subtle and ephemeral.
The autonomy displayed by the pieces unleashes a harmonic process of perception and understanding that opens up new meanings and ways of comprehending the aesthetic. Resumed in slow and almost silent action that coexists between the complex and the essential, the artist’s quest is released in dialectics between the pictorial and the inevitable course of time, just like Celan’s rivers: flowing from a time that is the north.
OLIVIA KAISER 1983 in Wien geboren, lebt und arbeitet in Wien und New Jersey,
USA / 2002–2011 Malerei, Tapisserie und Animationsfilm, Institut für bildende
und mediale Kunst, Universität für angewandte Kunst, Wien / Ausstellungen
(Auswahl): 2018 Dean Borghi Fine Art – purple noon, New York / 2017 Residency,
CCA Andratx, Mallorca / Third Room: Olivia Kaiser – quick heatened, Christine
König Galerie, Wien / 2016 Painting, kuratiert von Dietgard Grimmer, Galerie
im Traklhaus, Salzburg / 2015 Ghosting, kuratiert von Christian Egger, Künstlerhaus
– Halle für Kunst und Medien, Graz / Pong 2 mit Katherina Olschbaur,
Kunstraum am Schauplatz, Wien