Tag Archives: drawing

Drive-by muralism: The viewer becomes the producer

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.

The hosts, the owners, the ghosts

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.”

Read Estere Kajema’s essay here, in Arterritory.

There is a giant in the City of Westminster

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.

Art in the kindergarten


It took me several white nights to draw this little soulmate. A commission by Rakvere Rohuaia Kindergarten and the Kilomeeter Skulptuuri art-in-public-spaces programme, the mural is about eighteen meters in width and seven meters in height.

Of battery-powered chainsaws, Franz Kafka, curating, and the Art-Free Territory

I’ve sent an image scientist through my latest exhib in Austria, “Home Alone”. Here is what she brought back from the tour:

“Home Alone” is a fifty meter wide media installation, staged at the “Ausstellungsbrücke” (english: “Exhibition Bridge”) in Sankt Pölten, Lower Austria. It involves a “fitness zone”, a “living room”, a “museum”, and a “bar”. Each of these areas provide different levels of involvement to the visitors.

The show starts with a huge wall painting, depicting the exhibition’s intro text and a dozen company logos. Next to it resides the participatory video work “Get Fit With Dr. Lapschina”, which asks the visitors to work out. Stuff for engaging in the vigorous physical exercises is provided – as well as a bunch of museum benches, for people who prefer the lean-back mode.

The living room part of “Home Alone” has a comfy sofa suite, a large screen, several framed pictures on the walls, three lightboxes, a couple of books and catalogues on a coffee table, a hammock, and a bottle of wine to offer. The pictures don’t show anything though. They are only reminders. Also these aren’t regular lightboxes. Their role is to provide a distinct atmosphere to the place. And while the TV presents a 3′ loop version of Lena Lapschina’s video piece “Runtime”, it’s just the camo jacket for the smart home components everywhere in the room.

So, why not spend some time in the museum? Meticulously arranged vitrines give an impression of life in Lower Austria, in Manhattan or in Brooklyn, or elsewhere on this planet. It’s about dreams and nightmares, art and artists, battery-powered chainsaws and Franz Kafka, curating and the “Art-Free Territory”. It’s not immediately clear if the assemblage should be entertaining or disturbing. Like all museum stuff, in the first place it is educating, and that is what visitors find out during extended conversations in the bar and kitchen areas built into the flow of the “Home Alone” installation.

“Waymarks & Dialogues” at Mardin Bienali

“İşaretler ve Diyaloglar” (“Waymarks & Dialogues”) is a situation-specific work for the 3rd Biennial in Mardin. Here, on the verge of Turkey, in the northernmost part of Mesopotamia, I’ve met with people and listened to conversations in order to record the most contemporary words in the various languages of Mardin. These words I’ve mounted in the medieval part of the city, in the narrow 1. Cadde (1st Lane), starting at the massive walls of Mor Efrem Manastırı. Intertwined with a series of lightboxes, which hide in the tiny workshops along 1. Cadde, a mythological footpath is formed. Visitors can discover both their history – and their destination.

Untitled (No. 407)

Murals tend to be huge, and artists like to do magnificent things. But not every patron of the arts has got these big walls. So I decided to develop murals which fit into c-suites and – even more important – into the private salon.
Today I want to share a new work which is private and public at the same time: “Untitled (No. 407)”. It’s a tape drawing commissioned by Arlberg Hospiz Hotel in Tyrol. To enjoy it for some nights, just ask for suite no. 407!