YYYYMMDD: QUESTION#0 Would you like to eat with us? Where?

Unfortunately we didn't have the possibility to eat together and talk about the interview questions in person, as you are in Lisbon at the moment and without stable internet, so even Skype isn't an option. I think this changes the tone of the conversation and the way thoughts are developed a lot. Writing has totally different qualities than speaking.
I also find the dynamics of the interview quite interesting: It's always the same 8 questions you ask and they are very straight forward with some of them not easy to answer. The informal situation of sharing a meal and talking stands in a stark contrast to the clear and minimal structure of your language. We miss out on this part, which is a pity - so I suggest we catch up on it when you are back in Vienna and meet for Gulasch at Gastwirtschaft Blauensteiner or have dinner at yours or mine.
For now I am writing to you and waiting for your feedback via e-mail!

QUESTION#1 Why did we pick you? What do you think?

Because we know each other.
Because we appreciate each other and each others work.
Because we share specific interests (like language) and a similar taste
(I know you wear the same sunglasses as I do and I doubt that it was a decision for a fashion trend).
I guess we are picky, which I think is a good thing.

YYYYMMDD — Interview Bernadette Anzengruber — http://www.yyyymmdd.de/interview-bernadette-anzengruber.php

Photo: Bernadette Anzengruber

How about you?

I was always fascinated by your strong appearance - you have this glow/aura around you. I still remember the first time we met each other. After that I started following your work - and was impressed by your professionalism, the perfectionism with which you produce/execute your pieces and the theoretical background of your work. The playfulness and the colors you use - in daily life and your art.

YYYYMMDD — Interview Bernadette Anzengruber — http://www.yyyymmdd.de/interview-bernadette-anzengruber.php

QUESTION#2 How would you like to be (re)presented?

Professionally and intelligently.

QUESTION#3 Where would you position yourself?


In transit - on a spaceship travelling faster than light, which is exciting but also tiring, so I am planning to transfer to a clipper ship in the near future.


There is a fine line in thinking, that makes a big difference: between neoliberal flexibility and the ability to move. If you play, you should be able to adapt the rules of the game concerning your needs and your demands and mainly your wishes, desires and visions. The art world promises you this freedom but actually you easily find yourself trapped in precarious states
of flexibility.


As an artist, I try to be not so much concerned with fulfilling what
I sometimes believe is expected from me, but focusing on what I aim for and what makes me feel satisfied.
I do remember Laurent Garnier claiming in an interview in the late 90ies, that he would start making jazz music or whatever, if it was the hot shit he fell for in a few years time. That was at the peak of his career as an electronic music producer. I don't really know, what he ended up doing and
I didn't understand his approach back then, but now I think it's a healthy and vivid way of thinking about change in one's work and possible futures.
I also remember the scene in Chris Markers film Sans Soleil, where the narrator talks about ones own list of things, that quicken the heart.
I think, that's a good position: one that makes the heart beat faster.

YYYYMMDD — Interview Bernadette Anzengruber — http://www.yyyymmdd.de/interview-bernadette-anzengruber.php

Still from "Sans Soleil - Poetry will be made by everyone"
Full video available here.

QUESTION#4 Show us your favourite work you did. / Someone else did.

There is not a single favourite work by someone else for me, but many different pieces and some of them change from time to time. I will pick one, that comes to my mind spontaneously:

Zoe Leonard
You see I am here after all, 2008

I guess I decided for this piece, because to me it's one of the most poetic and powerful artworks I have come across - and because there is a very simple and at the same time deep beauty in it.

YYYYMMDD — Interview Bernadette Anzengruber — http://www.yyyymmdd.de/interview-bernadette-anzengruber.php YYYYMMDD — Interview Bernadette Anzengruber — http://www.yyyymmdd.de/interview-bernadette-anzengruber.php YYYYMMDD — Interview Bernadette Anzengruber — http://www.yyyymmdd.de/interview-bernadette-anzengruber.php

Photos from Zoe Leonard's "You see I am here after all", 2008.
Website of the Dia Art Foundation.

Concerning my own work, I decide for my latest photography. Not because it is new, but because it is heading into a new direction. The photo is not edited yet, as I am still in the process of finishing - so I am going to show you the raw version.

YYYYMMDD — Interview Bernadette Anzengruber — http://www.yyyymmdd.de/interview-bernadette-anzengruber.php

Flower still life, 2015
Bernadette Anzengruber
(photo by Diego Mosca)

I've become interested in traditional subjects in painting and photography, as portraits and still lifes, and I started to work on a series of family portraits. I am wondering, how I can create friction within a classical representational image. I am searching for a visual form of the hidden and underlying structures that bond family members in a discomforting way. The tension between the stiffness of such an image as a representational portrait, and what is shown by the bodies in this image without themselves noticing, is what I am looking for.
The flower still life is the first image of the series and can be understood as an establishing shot or intro for what will follow. The photo was taken for me by Diego Mosca, whom I work with a lot. It's way quieter than most of my recent work, that's important to me. It's also a break with my focus on queer/gender issues of the last years. It's still about performance although the stage has changed and become the photographers studio. I am going back to my interest in language and power structures in communication, which always has played a central role in my work, as my approach to performance is strongly influenced by language and speech act theory. The central question
I am concerned with, is how actualities come into being - by saying or doing something that is part of a different realm than logics (true/false) - and how these actualities change our position in the world. I also feel a strong need in trusting the visual/the aesthetics. One cannot explain everything, that's why it's art, I guess?

QUESTION#5 How do you start your working-process?


QUESTION#6 Which is/are your material/s?

I think, that's a question one can answer in many different ways, which makes it a difficult question for me.
On the one hand we could talk about the media I work in and which varies from piece to piece and through time. I started out making art with abstract drawings, later on there was a big shift to live performance and video. At the moment I feel a strong affirmation to photography and objects. I am also moving back to abstraction. In general my approach is, to find the "right" media for each individual piece. Sometimes I try to develop a performance and it turns out to end up as a video or text because I feel the need to edit/to make cuts, which is difficult in front of a live audience. I see media as a toolkit - sometimes you need a hammer, sometimes a pair of scissors and glue will bring the better results.
On the other hand we could talk about influences that are important to ones work. Things that surround you and produce images, narratives, realities, so-called truth - which you might want to question or pick up, just to turn them upside down. That's something I like to do. Usually I don't search out for these kinds of material, but I come across them and get touched in a certain way that makes me want to take a second look. That's usually when a working process might possibly start - which in some way brings us back
to question #5.
Finally, I would say that my most important material is language and what comes along with it. Sometimes, or maybe very often, language fails. For me that's exactly the situation, where language becomes interesting. What do words and sentences mean: what do they want to mean, what do they pretend to mean and what do they communicate between the lines? How does a certain structure function and what happens when it becomes dysfunctional? What's the difference between making a list and making a promise? And can one make a promise by making a list? And might there be certain circumstances, where one, by the act of making a list gets closer to the idea of making a promise than by the act of making a promise? One can translate these question into any other material, which again can be understood as a linguistic act. At the same time one cannot translate. That's why I like language.

QUESTION#7 Show us your network.

This is the first question I tried to answer and the last question I am responding to now. I've been thinking about it a lot. I also took a look into the previous interviews because I wanted to know, how the artists before me dealt with the question. I finally got the feeling that this is the question everyone tries to avoid by making a rather sophisticated move.
I just came back from Tokyo, where networks are shared in a totally different way than I know it from Vienna. Sometimes I feel a certain greediness here. Everyone talks about the idea of sharing, but when it comes to the actual act of sharing, it gets difficult.
So how would I myself deal with this straight forward question? Making a very straight forward list of names and institutions? This didn't seem to be useful. So I asked myself, what the qualities are, that make a network a good network for me. I think, the central quality of a network is the connection, the knot. That's what makes a network a network. For me this knot first and foremost is a shared interest and a shared idea of how the world can be perceived, a way of thinking you have in common with someone else. It also has a lot to do for me with feeling safe and being able to rely on the other person as well as the assurance that the other person will rely on me - it's a certain trust you have in each other, whatever happens. This gives me the freedom to experiment and to expose myself to my own uncertainties. That's in some part how I am able to question what I am doing in the process of doing. It leads me to precise decisions in the result of my work - or sometimes to the moment of failure. I think, a good network is a network that endures.

Bernadette Anzengruber was born in 1980 in Austria and lives and works
in Vienna. She studied at the Academy of fine Arts in Vienna, the University of Greenwich and Kingston University in London. Anzengruber works in the fields of performance, video, photography, installation and text.
Her artistic practice focuses on power structures in language and communication, identity, agency and counter narratives. Her works have been shown at exhibitions and festivals in numerous countries. Awards she has won include the Organizers Award of the International Video Festival Bochum (2011), the Birgit Jürgenssen Prize (2012), the Emanuel and Sofie Fohn Grant (2013), the Theodor Körner Prize (2014) and the promotion prize of the city of Vienna (2015).