texte 

Art revealed itself to Christiana Althuber in the form of a call late in life: or to put it better: a call to life. For that, precisely, is what her pictures are: dynamic and vital, sometimes powerful and loud, sometimes trembling, bottomless, and at other times calm and concentrated. They speak of contradiction, revolt, the will to create a new order. Against the background of a secure existence that she has abandoned, the voluntary loss of a well-regulated working day, the works of the artist, her paintings, drawings and prints, are not only portraits of a long-smouldering passion but also the chronicle of her gradual liberation and process of discovery, steps in her search for genuine visual expression. Her paintings and drawings of nudes offer insights into her innermost being. Frequently, they are marked by physical deformations: figures and silhouettes that overlap each other, flow into each other or surround each other until they arrive at an amorphous, unrecognisable state. The parts of the body disintegrate; limbs – above all the hands – are often expressively exaggerated and disproportionately large. For Christiana Althuber painting and drawing are, first of all, manual work, not only in the sense of technique and handcraft but also as the painterly act of discovering by touch the structures, edges and corners, the resistances and loop-holes of a human personality. This process can even go as far as the radical abstraction of her formal idiom. In the motifs of the series of lino-cuts titled Odysseus the physical quality is no longer expressed just on a purely visual plane but also in the form of her manual work. The confrontational, insistent moment of her handling of line tells about an inner drive to research, about her own exoticism. These prints express a survey of the self that resembles a chart of the soul. Together with her shattered, fissured, and blurred body pictures that clot to produce forms which could suggest landscapes she creates her very own form of naturalness. Her bodies are never just a body but are always also that from which they have emerged; always also those bodies with which they share their limitations; and they are always, in one, the people who they are, those they could be and those they wish to be. Christiana Althuber’s pictures bear witness to the physical manifestations of emotional eruptions. They are the depiction of an inner journey.

 

Sebastian Müller, Vienna

Theatre, film and media expert shaped by the study of philosophy