Galerie Raum mit Licht



Opening: Wednesday, 17.01.2018, 18:30 – 21h
Duration: 18.01. – 09.03.2018

Image © Heidi Harsieber & Friedl Kubelka, 1971

An artistic discourse. A creative dialogue lasting almost five decades.
Two lives intertwined, stimulating and inspiring one another.

In the exhibition Harsieber & Kubelka, the gallery “Raum mit Licht” enquires relationships between both oeuvres. A dialogue that has consistently inscribed itself into both of their artistic creations as well as into their lives. Insofar as their works fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle to form a whole, visitors of the exhibition are enmeshed in a network of interrelationships.

The exhibition consists of many facets, shards of mirror in the shape of self-portraits. Ever decadent Vienna is the middle-point and provides the background — where possible, both. The period of their friendship and mutual influence stretches from 1970 to 2017: The setting includes the working conditions as a commercial photographer in the 1970s and 1980s, teaching photography, national political developments, artists working here and, of course, the families they both founded. The past and the present are digested and secreted in very different ways, frequently under protest. Nevertheless there have been very similar photographic reactions to the past half century, which Harsieber and Kubelka spent for the most part in Vienna. They are often mistaken for sisters.
Friedl Kubelka, October 2017

Both Harsieber's as well as Kubelka's works are characterised by a curious and psychologically motivated approach. The attention paid to the individual cannot be overlooked, regardless of whether they are strangers, close relatives or the artists themselves. By engaging with intimacy, loneliness, ageing bodies, sexuality and temporality they penetrate deep into the identity of those portrayed. Their unsparing self-portraits become the embodiment of their own self-empowerment — its expression continually shifting, developing and converging.

In 1969 Friedl made a portrait of me at the local graphics college. What didn't we chat about back then? We'd known one another since Autumn 1968, but only superficially. In 1970 we were standing on the grass in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. We'd hitch-hiked there. What did we chat about? In Vienna, at any rate, about Burberry, hot pants, the scene in Vanilla, Voom Voom, Atrium and U4, and about the political past, changes and developments in the country. Friedl took an interest in palm reading — Friedl said she had noticed that Franz Zokan (Franz West) had a very marked artistic hand line — that was a topic, too. Also, back in 1970 — I was 21— we started pursuing a career as freelance photographers for fashion, industry, portraits and articles together. A rented room in Gloggnitz was our business address, most of the commissions came from Vienna. Alongside our work we exchanged ideas eagerly, especially on the topic of art photography as opposed to so-called professional photography, which we wanted to go beyond. Our love affairs ended abruptly with a suicide and a fatal car crash in 1972 and 1973 — We supported each other. Now we sometimes talk about growing old and about saying goodbyes.

Heidi Harsieber, October 2017