Isabella Kohlhuber
Austria, B.1982)

I have come to focus on language as my primary media because I consider artworks as crystalline structures of meaning. They are not only pieces of decoration for modern homes but they transports messages. In history painters were engaged to tell stories in a universal manner in order to preserve time – similar to taking a note, to writing history. At a certain point in my art career, when I was still studying painting, I was wondering what kind of knowledge allows us to “read” such images? I believe this is what we do when we look at a picture: We try to understand it. Ever since, I have worked on understanding the process of understanding.

I reflect upon how we see or read pictures and texts and where are the differences between these. There are many aspects of looking, interpreting and reading, for instance the linearity of script versus the simultaneity of images, in which elements are positioned on the left or on the right side or at the bottom, like in a spacial arrangement, while as text usually follows sequential rules like “right to left”. Nevertheless, pictures can also be constructed by principles similar to writing, like my ink drawings “untitled (lines)”, which are non-compositional, but still personal pictures resulting from “writing” horizontal lines. On the other hand, I have also used text in non- linear ways, for example with my series of “Typograms”. For these, I lay letter-like shapes over each others, creating specific images rather than sentences, but still referring to words as their original idea. For these works I normally pick terms which seem simple, like “water”, “wind”, “sky”, but refer to insubstantial matter, hard to get hold of. To paint these things would be a difficult task and often words seem to me more precise and more open at the same time, as if they were universal pictures. Thus, I created images of sky, cloud and snow, but different than all other images of skies, clouds and snows that I had seen before.

Also having studied graphic design and typography, I am specifically interested in the details of letter shapes and in what allows us to decipher their meanings continuously in same way, even though there are so many different forms of letters even within one culture. In Latin alphabet and its historic development there have been many styles of writing, some of which can hardly be read anymore today, like Carolingian Minuscule for example. I started a kind of artistic research by printing outlines of Latin characters, cutting them up into small pieces and re-assembling them using the technique of paper collage. First, I tried to make hybrid shapes, like a middle letter between “a” and “b”, or between shapes that have forms in common, like “t” and “r”, thus producing undetermined forms, the meaning of which would be defined only by the process of reading.

Meanwhile I came to considering art a way of communication in the first place. In developing my “Bastard” letters (the name referring to the ancient term for children born outside marriage as well as to specific hybrid forms in typography), I found my own language, so to speak. Once having a somewhat complete set of characters – to which I constantly add new and alternative forms – I digitalized them and was then able to work on texts which play an important role in our societies, like recently a passage from “The Capital” by philosopher Karl Marx, or a sequence from the Copyright Law, or a quote from another philosopher’s work, Ludwig Wittgenstein’s “Philosophical Investigations”. With the choice of texts I like to reflect upon specific aspects of art, be it the fact that a piece is also a product in a world of goods (e.g. Marx), be it the definitions of “work” given in copyright regulations or the difference between “what can be said” and “what can be shown” (Ludwig Wittgenstein). Finally, working with language allows me to refer to the role of “context” in art perception, which seems to be just as relevant as the work itself: What can be said or written about it?

Isabella Kohlhuber 的藝術作品,透過了「語言」(非傳統指涉的語言) 來活在藝術中,並且利用藝術做為一種量體,介入城市空間中。避免用張揚的形式,讓語言可以在藝術中自治且獨立,是一種「對理解做出的深邃理解」、更對「意義被製造的過程」有了新的詮釋,在每一回清醒便接受大量訊息的當今社會中,邀請觀眾一起解碼,追求世界真實的模樣。


Selected Solo Exhibitions

2020 It’s wet out there ,Traklhaus, Salzburg
2018 Isabella Kohlhuber Untitled – Bluerider Art Gallery Bluerider Art Gallery Taipei ,Taiwan
2018 White Cube Yellow in progress: Art in Public space U1 Schwedenplatz, Vienna, Austria
2017 Vienna Contemporary solo presentation at booth Galleria Doris Ghetta Vienna, Austria
2017 Zikadien Kunstraum haaaauch quer Klagenfurt, Austria
2017 The Substance of Value One Work Gallery Vienna, Austria
2016 No No No Artistic Bokeh Museumsquartier Vienna,Frei_raum Q21, Vienna,Austria
2016 Space for an Agreement Galleria Doris Ghetta temporary Gallery Milano, Italy
2015 You got me really interested Public space Salzburg Austria
2016 Was gezeigt werden kann kann nicht gesagt warden Werkstadt Graz, Austria
2015 Kohlhuber Sigmund Freud Galerie Graz, Austria
2012 Bastards Hallway Hallway Gallery Vienna, Austria
2012 Crosswalk Passage Wildpretmarkt–Bauernmarkt/ Lenikus Studios Vienna, Austria
2011 Seitenwechsel The Austrian Football League’s headquarter Vienna, Austria
2010 Paramusikalisches Ensemble Schloss Kittsee Burgenland, Austria
2010 Lorem Ipsum Galerie F43 Prague, Czech Republic
2009 We will do it Galerie Ve Sklepe Prague, Czech Republic

Selected Group Exhibitions

2020  Du singulier au multiple , Galerie Charivari,Atelier Vis-a-Vis, Marseille
2020  Character Image Art ,Art Granary, Beijing
2019 Buchstabenfest / Praznik črk /Alphabet day Zollamt bad radkersburg Austria
2018 Under Pressure Museumsquartier Vienna Frei_raum Q21, Vienna, Austria
2018 Buchstabenfest Zollamt Bad Radkersburg Austria
2018 Is it language that they’re after Werkstätten- und Kulturhaus Kunsthalle Exnergasse Vienna, Austria
2017-2018 Reinheit in der Unvollkkommenheit Salzburger Kunstverein Salzburg, Austria
2017-2018 Nominierungen 2017 Kardinal König Kunstfonds St. Virgil Salzburg, Austria
2017-2018 Winter 2017 Grazer Kunstverein Austria
2017-2018 Inside Semiosis Pavelhaus Bad Radkersburg, Austria
2017 Type Please (Curated_By Vienna Sabine Folie) Galerie Raum mit Licht, Vienna, Austria
2017 Autumn 2017 Grazer Kunstverein Austria
2017 The Arbitrary Nature of Language Galerija Vodnikove domačije Šiška Ljubljana, Slovenia
2017 Summer 2017 Grazer Kunstverein Austria
2017 Spring 2017 Grazer Kunstverein Austria
2016 Master Builders Zieselrot Gewölbe Schwechat, Austria
2016 Abstract Now Galleria Doris Ghetta Ortisei, Italy
2016 Sighs Trapped by Liars. Language in Art Künstlerhaus Graz Austria
2015-2016 Sharing Space Alte Post Vienna, Austria
2015-2016 Significant Other Korea Kulturhaus/ public space Vienna, Austria
2015 Encounters: Isabella Kohlhuber & Esther Stocker Galleria Ghetta Ortisei, Italy
2015 Immutable Mobiles Memphis Linz, Austria
2015 58 weasels in a trenchcoat (die Güte) wellwellwell Vienna (AT), Austria
2014-2015 From Inner To Outer Shadow Austrian Culture Forum Istanbul, Turkey
2014 Buchstabenfest Zollamt Bad Radkersburg, Austria
2014 Klangmanifeste 2014 Künstlerhaus/ Echoraum Vienna, Austria
2014 Room to Move. Isabella Kohlhuber und Imre Nagy Korea Kulturhaus Vienna, Austria
2014 Polarity and Resonance Lenikus Studios Vienna, Austria
2014 Der späte Trakl Galerie im Traklhaus Salzburg, Austria
2013-2014 Für die Fülle. Annual Exhibition 2013 Salzburger Kunstverein Austria
2013 Kunstgastgeber Gemeindebau 2013 Rennbahnweg/ public space Vienna, Austria
2013 Über Reason und Resonanz LWZ Projekte Vienna, Austria
2013 Desire Creates Distance Ve:sch Vienna, Austria
2013 Der Hundsturm bellt Hundsturm Vienn, Austria
2012-2013 Lafin C’estmerde Founding member of the cultural association Vienna, Austria
2012 Humanimals Baba Vasa’s Cellar Shabla, Bulgaria
2012 Still Lenikus Studios Vienna, Austria
2011-2012 In Passing 13 Künstlerhaus Passagegalerie Vienna, Austria
2011-2012 Metamart – Kunst und Kapital Künstlerhaus Vienna, Austria
2011 Kubatur des Kabinetts Fluc Vienna, Austria
2011 Ferne Rohr Heiligenkreuzerhof Diploma Show of Transmedia Arts, Vienna, Austria
2011 Zur Zeit–Blossoms of a Multitude Künstlerhaus Palais Thurn & Taxis Bregenz, Austria
2010 Kollateral Offspace Spenglerei Vienna Austria
2010 Videoromanzen 2 Gerisch Skulpturenpark Neumünster, Germany
2010 Schaust du noch oder gehst du schon Flatfair Ennsgasse Vienna, Austria
2009 Aquisitions 2007–2009 Galerie im Traklhaus Salzburg, Austria
2007 The Essence 07 MAK Museum Vienna Vienna (AT), Austria
2006 The Essence 06 MAK Museum Vienna Vienna, Austria
2017 Residency stipend by the federal state of Salzburg for the Cité Internationale des Arts Paris France
2016 Catalogue funding by the Austrian Federal Chancellery the federal state of Salzburg and the city of Vienna Austria
2015 Fundings for the project Significant Other by the Austrian Federal Chancellery and the city of Vienna Austria
2012 Start-Scholarship Austian Federal Chancellery Austria
2011 Sammlung Lenikus private collection scholarship and residency acquisitions for the collection
2011 First prize in the Art Challenge of the Austrian Football Association acquisition of a sculpture
2009 Acquisition by the federal state of Salzburg
2007 University of Applied Arts Vienna scholarship
2004 IT-Paper scholarship and Creative-Award

Publications

2017 Residency stipend by the federal state of Salzburg for the Cité Internationale des Arts Paris, France
2016 Catalogue funding by the Austrian Federal Chancellery the federal state of Salzburg and the city of Vienna, Austria
2015 Fundings for the project Significant Other by the Austrian Federal Chancellery and the city of Vienna Austria
2012 Start-Scholarship Austian Federal Chancellery, Austria
2011 Sammlung Lenikus private collection scholarship and residency acquisitions for the collection
2011 First prize in the Art Challenge of the Austrian Football Association acquisition of a sculpture
2009 Acquisition by the federal state of Salzburg
2007 University of Applied Arts Vienna scholarship
2004 IT-Paper scholarship and Creative-Award

Isabella Kohlhuber – An interview with Isabella Kohlhuber

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