Born 1975, studied arts at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. During her studies Christina Gschwanter did stays in Greece, Mexico and New York. Followed by a one-year residency in Australia. She received the scholarship from the Sussmann Foundation and from the University of Applied Arts. Since then she has been working as an independent artist.
Gschwantner’s current body of work is quintessentially abstract, derived from her previous ocuupation with painting her “stranger creatures, peculiar beings, and picturesque figures”. Colourful and eye-catching, vibrant and lively, Gschwantner’s characters inhabit the picture plane, claiming their surroundings for themselves or gathering in orderly groups. It is this order that birthed the artists shift to even greater purification of colour and form, and what was once a meditative practice used by the artist to recaliberate after engaging intensively with her characters, has now become the artists current style – dots or splashes of pure colour harmoniously arranged on canvas.
With multiple shifts of perspective and refusal to be pinned down or defined, Gschwantner’s motifs explore creative “gray zones”. Situated on the fault line between fantasy and play, Gschwantner’s work can at times appear naive—yet it is precisely here that her intrinsic seriousness lies. Gschwantner’s rigorous artistic methodology is based on a reconfiguration of form, a metamorphosis of the visible, a process of interpretation, and an approach of continual variation.
Gschwantner’s works have been purchased by the State Museum of Lower Austria and the Krems City Council.
INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTINA GSCHWANTNER – Written by Monique Di Russo.
“Is the artist a channel?”
A few days ago Austrian artist Christina Gschwantner replied to my interview just as I started reading a copy of ‘Basquiat – Boom For Real’ that was gifted to me for Christmas. It’s a theme that is prevalent for me as I connect with more and more artists…Basquiat certainly achieved it. Apparent in both the style and process of his work, Basquiat ferociously regurgitated an integrated (and elegant) version of the information and experiences that had been fed into him from the world around him. And with such profound and beautiful effect that I lament how his personal story may overshadow the merit of his work sometimes, at least in mainstream circles.
I’m talking about the flow state, where the brain produces fewer, but much deeper connections and sophisticated creative production switches to autopilot. It got me thinking, akin to an instrument that produces the music the musician feeds into it, is the artist merely a channel for the unique life (and intelligent force behind it) that informs the experiences around them? No doubt influenced by my current pondering, I couldn’t help but visualise an eager and focused Christina as such an instrument, standing brimful with ideas and ready at her blank canvas as I read her words in response to my question; What activities outside of painting help develop your creativity?
She wrote, “Many things actually, almost everything. I like to dance Swing and Balboa, I like to cook, I like to travel and I love to be with people. Also, the movies and all kinds of exhibitions, all these things influence me and make me love to return again and again to the otherwise rather lonely place in front of the canvas.” So too, in recalling a childhood memory that shaped her creative self, Christina hints at an already imaginative child able to creatively synthesise and produce wonder from the ordinary. “As a child, I spent a lot of time at my grandma’s house. I would often lie in bed spending hours looking at the walls with their old-fashioned wallpapers and the opulent curtains. Little by little textures and creatures would come to life and whole worlds would emerge before my inner eye.”
But it is the resolute words she uses to describe her various creativ e elements throughout her interview that has me convincingly suspicious that Gschwantner works much like an attuned channel, words like “obsessed with colour”, “seriality” and, when asked how the world around her influences her art, my personal favourite, “In times of crisis and uncertainty, I tend to cut back. This was already the case during the pandemic and the first lockdowns. Then I started to paint my series called Rundlinge, repeating circles that helped me find some peace and sort out what was important to me. I now found myself in a similar situation. – able to lose myself contemplatively in my repetitive polkas series, in order to generate the power again for the confrontation and creation of my beings.”
Unlike shows that unfold like a linear storytelling or are bound by theme alone, it would seem the pieces in Gschwantner’s upcoming mini solo show “Colour and Kin” are interdependent. The meditative recess achieved producing the colourful mishappen polka dots pieces “Flakes of Joy” was necessary for the artist to conceptualise and create the characters she considers her “Creative kin” in the balance of the series.
2001 DIPLOMA mag.art.
1997 UNIVERSITY OF APPLIED ARTS, Vienna
2023 METROSPECTIVE, Konsum163, group show, Munich, Germany
2023 COLOUR & KIN, 19 Karen Gallery, Australia
2022 NOWADAYS EXHIBITION, Florence Contemporary Gallery
2022 ART VIENNA, Galerie Ursula Stross, Orangery Schönbrunn, Vienna
2022 … ALSO COLORFUL?…prav tako barvita?, Ecoart gallery, Palais Niederösterreich, Vienna
2022 WARNING, Galerie Ursula Stross, Graz
2020 H23, Linz
2019 PARALLEL VIENNA
2019 ART AUSTRIA, Vienna
2019 ART VIENNA, Hofburg Vienna
2017 BONBONIERE CARACTÈRE, Vienna
2017 GALERIE LENDNINE, Graz
2017 WESENSART, Gumpoldskirchen, Lower Austria
2016 FEDERSPATZEN ANDERSWO, Galerie Weihergut, Salzburg
2015 ART AUSTRIA, Leopoldmuseum Vienna
2014 KLEINE MONSTER, GROSSE TIERE, NÖ ART, Langenzerdorf Museum
2014 PAINTINGS, Galerie BH Melk
2013 GOOD VIBRATIONS, Kleine Galerie, Vienna
2012 DIALOGE, Galerie Weihergut, Salzburg
2012 FEUERWIRKLICH, Galerie in der Poststelle Hirschbühl, Schwarzenberg, Vorarlberg
2011 Jahresausstellung 2011, Kleine Galerie, Vienna
2011 Galerie am Karmelitermarkt, Vienna
2010 EIGENARTIG, Landhausbrücke St. Pölten
2010 FRÜHLINGSBORTEN, Kunsthandlung Christine Ernst, Vienna
2009 LEICHTSINN, Galerie am Karmelitermarkt, Vienna
2009 Kunsthandlung Christine Ernst, Vienna
2009 ROTATION, Galerie am Karmeltiermarkt, Vienna
2008 Medizinische Universität Laibach, Slowenia,
2008 SALON FANTASTIQUE, Galerie Frenhofer, Berlin, Germany
2008 Kunst für Menschen in Not, Museumszentrum Mistelbach
2008 SOMMERLOCH, Galerie Frenhofer, Berlin,
2007 GALERIE AM KARMELITERMARKT, Vienna
2007 KUNSTHANDEL CHRISTINE ERNST, Vienna
2006 WESENSPIEL, Galerie am Karmelitermarkt, Vienna
2005 SINNESFREUDIG, Alte Schmiede/Schönberg am Kamp,
2005 WINTER, Galerie am Karmelitermarkt, Vienna
2005 GALERIE DÖRR, Marbach/Donau,
2005 FABELHAFT, Galerie am Karmelitermarkt, Vienna
2004 GALERIE FIGL, St. Pölten
2004 WINTERFARBEN, Galerie am Karmelitermarkt, Vienna
2004 WUNDERSAM, Dominikanerkirche Krems
2018 MUSEUM OF LOWER AUSTRIA
2010 MUSEUM OF LOWER AUSTRIA
2006 LAND NIEDERÖSTERREICH
2004 MAGISTRAT OF KREMS
CHRISTINA GSCHWANTNER, Dr. Elisabeth Voggeneder, Vienna, May 2007
ALL I WANT, Christina Gschwantner, Dr. Christiane Krejs, Vienna, January 2021
RUNDLINGE, Christina Gschwantner, Dr. Christiane Krejs, Vienna, January 2021
EMERGENT REALITIES AND THE FABRIC OF NOW VOL.2, Contemporary Art Chronicle, 2022