liquid existence

Günther Moschig,  art historian, kurator  about the exhibition  liquid existence - the image is within me - it`s not in front - I am inside - it is I


René Magritte and Heinz von Förster. Magritte's famous La trahison des images from the year 1929 — a painting is not the reality of an object (This is not a pipe) and von Förster's It's the listener, not the speaker, who determines the meaning of an utterance. — The hermeneutic principle.


In her latest work Nora Schöpfer is concerned with the perceptual patterns of reality and art. And they are the same. The transitions are fluid. The question of truth is not posed in this context, although the term “perception” seeks rather disingenuously to delude us into believing so.

But in liquid existence it is an existential experience — the experience, remembering, imagining of something — that Nora Schöpfer investigates. Set out as a spatial installation incorporating photography, painting, video and object, it is not about the question of an object's reality and its image but –— in a universal sense — about an integrated perception of reality in space and time, and the possibilities of visualising that in the artwork. Here, Schöpfer puts faith in her imaginativeness. What becomes obvious is that the background to experiences is our observation and not the given environment. Reality is the sum of all our sensory perceptions.


But Nora Schöpfer also has faith in the visitors' subjective imagination, and so invites them to reflect upon their experiences in the exhibition, to note them down and put them up for discussion. The viewers are involved; it is only in their perceptions that the exhibition becomes visible as such (The image is within me – it´s not in front – I am inside – it is I).

The fact that Nora Schöpfer argues her case using images, clearing up this complex question in pictures, is naturally connected on the one hand to her visual competence as a painter. On the other hand, however, it also depends on our everyday experience of the Internet's picture stores and the current media society's digital flood of images, which have made the image into the central information medium today. What is known in cultural studies as the “iconic turn” — signifying the start of growing attention towards images as opposed to language — becomes a way of thinking with the aid of images in Schöpfer's work. It is only through images that reality is generated. In the process, she takes into account the broad range of visual practices from seeing, paying attention and remembering to observing and imagining, and combines them as a spatial experience in liquid existence.


The fleeting quality of the moment, and extension of the moment were also features of earlier works by Nora Schöpfer. Here, time is understood as the blink of an eye, as the moment at which what we have experienced is just beginning, already, to fade and so turn into the past. Nora Schöpfer now operates in this field of tension between experiencing and remembering, using the media — which are mutually defining in her work — of painting, photography, video and object. In a spatial installation she extends this field to create an integrated experience, and the sequence of gallery rooms becomes one image. Here, reality is constituted from the experience of light, narrative, art-historical citation, fluid colours, landscape, social encounters — from the present, memory and imagination.





Mag. Ingeborg Erhart


 Nature is a temple in which living pillars 

Sometimes give voice to confused words;
Man passes there through forests of symbols
Which look at him with understanding

 Like prolonged echoes mingling in the distance 
In a deep and tenebrous unity, 
Vast as the dark of night and as the light of day,
Perfumes, sounds, and
colors correspond.
Correspondences, Charles Baudelaire, The Flowers of Evil, (trans.William Aggeler, Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)

In her artistic work, Nora Schöpfer focuses upon connections - the interconnection of accidental and real landscapes, of the empirically observed and the scientifically proven, of micro- and macrocosms, of reason and emotion, of fleeting movements and the presence of the moment, of photography and painting, of computer graphics and drawing…

The artist explores the nature of things in her own way and discovers that structures reveal themselves everywhere. Sunshine that falls through the foliage of a tree onto the floor of her atelier looks similar to DNS under the electron microscope, and the depiction of a human mammary gland in a medical textbook in its formal structure resembles an agave. She traces the incidence of light through a window on the floor in regular intervals, and in the evening lines are left behind that create a fan-like space.

"Lines open up dimensions", says Nora Schöpfer. Thus, for instance in the work "free" (2006), she connects photographed branches that reach into the picture from the left and expressive-abstract gloss painting, which occupies a little over the right half of the picture, with a single, thin felt-tip marker line. It is not certain to the observer wherein the connection between the tree and the gestural painting lies exactly. The line, however, that brings the two areas together, is firmly in place. Nora Schöpfer sees the connection in the structures bought forth by nature in the branch and in the chance blotches and rivulets of the poured paint. For her, it is a fractal structure that is revealed in both instances.

Large-format mixed-media works such as this, and the works on paper, reminiscent of Asiatic calligraphy, of the past few years are logically connected in their (partial) reductionism with the "Fadenkörper" (string objects), which the artist has been installing since 2002 in natural settings as well as in exhibit rooms. By means of the lines, that is, the strings, a total illusion is evoked. The created space is pure imagination. Nora Schöpfer makes it clear how strongly humans are bound to the material in their perception, and that the idea of a reality is enough to create a spatial entity.

Nora Schöpfer's artistic visualizations arise from a search for analogies, the discovery of connections and integrating lines of thought. The multilayered-ness of these explorations is also reflected in the fact that -- despite the predominance of painting and installations --she does not restrict herself to a single medium.

The central theme that unmistakeably winds its way through the artist's oeuvre is "landscape" in the widest sense of the word. Nora Schöpfer allows the alert eye to partake in the dynamic dialogue she holds with Nature in its manifold forms, and surprises with ever new observations and artistic cognitions.

Ingeborg Erhart

. Ecologically speaking, a landscape is a geographical area that distinguishes itself from other areas by means of its common characteristics. Landscape as a section of the Earth's surface is the basis for human existence, is respectively perceived individually and is in constant, dynamic change. One differentiates between natural landscapes and landscapes moulded by humans. From a psychological standpoint, landscape is a sensory overall impression and is equated with environment. Culturally connected landscapes are called regions (…).

 translated from



gaps between seconds

“[…] two aspects are obvious in the work of Nora Schöpfer: on one side, thematically and as well content related, her
artworks are dealing with compression and dissolution, precisely  with the moment in between.
On the other hand,  it seems to be an interface  on a medial layer  between photography,  painting and vice versa. […]
In her work, the moment, through her very personally view on what is happening around her, becomes a poetic dimension in a very originally sense, as the perception   of a moment, as an aesthetical and mysterious experience which is barely presentable.
In addition, it is this ‘just now being able to capture’, which seems to be interesting for Nora Schöpfer.
Somehow, her pictures are ephemeral and light if they are hanging in a material form on the wall.
Nora Schöpfer is locating the secret of the human existence in the moments and gaps of compression and dissolution,   in the aesthetic product of a  picture,   and she  begins  there     ,      where the  forms are starting to change again.
When she is speaking about the quality of the intangible moment, it may point out, that this moment is just meeting the sudden fleetingness with an experience of happiness”.

Mag. Günther Moschig, art historian and curator from Austria.