It’s a piece of architecture. It’s a sculpture. It’s a place where people gather, and talk and party, and even wait for the next bus. It’s highly sophisticated infrastructure for a multimodal transportation system. It’s “The Innocent”.
I’ve created this sculpture series for the State of Carinthia (design competition, 1st prize). First installations – in villages, towns and cities, and, importantly, on the verges of common country roads – might arrive as early as 2019, and there’s a good chance that a special edition in honour of Peter Handke will make it into the wild!
For my solo show at Vykhod, the center for media art in Petrozavodsk, Karelia, I produced a new batch of “17 Sekunden Kunst” video pizzazz. These boxes were served fresh to attenders of the private view, who had the choice between “Making friends”, “Once around the block”, “Bowing takes practice”, “Artist in residence” (my trilogy on crazy artists in weird residencies), and more.
I’m adding here the curator’s statement on this series [original title: “17 Sekunden Kunst”], written by Paolo Bianchi on the occasion of the premiere of these films at Linz09:
When dizzying changes regularly put the vulnerability of people and citizens to the test, Lena Lapschina’s work is precisely in this gap between surprise and imposition. For years she has been taking video material at international venues of art.
Lena Lapschina creates short videos from her material, which she gives an aesthetic form under the title “17 Seconds Art”. By this exact limitation in time, the films produce the effect of decoupling from reality. Through the radical sequencing, the recordings on the other side achieve a compaction, which becomes a curious and impressive image microcosmos of the social environment. The shots seem like a witty puzzle game that oscillates in content and thematically from absurd to banal. This humor does not present itself supercilious and does not have better knowledge. It appears in the gap between the sensible and the senseless.
Lena Lapschina has chosen the short time span of 17 seconds, as it is worth it to stay tuned.
When FDR, the biennial art project of the State of Upper Austria, commissioned me to do a series of six murals themed “Uninvited Guests” along Marchtrenk, I carefully shopped for benevolent walls. So I got this grainy-textured, worn-out façade at a crossroads in the very center of the town, which would become shelter for a work of particularly ephemeral character. Lit by the cars’ headlights by night, the scene depicted in the mural became vivid: For a fleeting moment, drivers could see a group of people, burdened with their personal effects, hiking across the village. Only a split second later, and they had already disappeared into the dark again. Technique: tape.
I’ve recently got an ancient, authentic farmers’ house at the edges of Niederösterreich. Together with an inspiring team from the architecture, design, coding, art and agro scenes, I want to remodel it a bit, so that it can serve a public function as a cultural laboratory or “C-Lab”.
In summertime, Austrians prefer the sidewalk café to have lunch or meet for a coffee. One of these cosy restaurants in the heart of Vienna is Salon Wichtig, where the owner decided to top the al fresco experience with commissions of art in public spaces.
So let me share the cooking instructions with you: The shiny yellow alu sheets are Signicolor by Novelis. The bright-coloured heavy-duty duct tape is Pattex by Henkel. And the words and the composition are genuine Lena Lapschina.
London-based contemporary art theorist Estere Kajema has written a beautiful essay about murals for Arterritory. I’m grateful that my work has been discussed and assessed among the works of Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ai Weiwei, and Michael Craig-Martin.
There are two very important conclusions in this text. One is about my murals: “By putting images directly onto the walls, Lapschina is almost letting her figures grow free – dogs, magical sword-fighters, gnomes, and even flowers, mountains and trees. These red forms surround and occupy the space, and by doing so they somehow become the hosts, the owners, the ghosts who are attached to the architecture. The characters, which one might be fortunate enough to meet in the stairway of one of these buildings, seem to be participating in some unearthly and transformative performance, completely and utterly revolutionizing the space they are in.”
The other is about the qualities of walls in comparison with relocatable matter: “It is important to understand the crucial difference between a painting or a drawing on a wall, and one done on a piece of paper, canvas, cardboard, or any other surface that can be dismounted or relocated. A message that is conveyed on a wall automatically achieves a different status, even if it happens on a subconscious level. A space that is antipodal to a white cube is a story; it becomes a home, a shelter. A wall that has been transformed by the artist him- or herself is a story and extension of his or her studio work. A voice from beyond, a hint that comes directly from the creator. A thing to remember is that sometimes, walls can tell more than the audience expects them to.”
I’ve been equipping a central London villa with a mural of considerable size. In fact, it is a multi-part drawing which meanders gently through the space. You are going to meet mountains, and people, and text, and even – in the salon – a giant.