Claudia Nebel

is an artist who wanders between the cultures and analyses thresholds and interfaces.

Especially the culture and society of the Near East fascinate the artist – on the grounds of some of the oldest cultural traditions the frictions and contradictions are mirrored in a burning glass.

As a border crosser, which artists always are, Claudia Nebel integrates her own sensitivity, yes the entirety of her existence into her art and the about-turn that is significantly being found in her last name, from mist (German translation: “Nebel”) to life, appears surprisingly programmatic.

Thick fog (also translated as “Nebel” in German), that hinders the sight, the veil of Maya, that symbolizes the delusions of the phenomenal world, the different ideologies, cultural conventions and social constraints represent in a very unpretentious way the basis of her artistic reflection, without any claim to create new truths, yet driven by the desire to reach forward to “life”.

Claudia Nebel reveals und lifts masks by working with schemes.

There are processes of compression through reduction that she uses various media for.

Claudia Nebel finds new angles to look at what she is really interested in.

She is looking for the essential in momentary compressions; she looks for it in friendly unmaskings and helpful exposures.

Her art is hereby influenced by a very substantial feminist perspective.

In history as in the presence, women are subjected much stronger to social norms – especially concerning the image of the woman; individual, collective, religious and national…identities are being debated.

The values and religious perceptions of a society are made visible through the social role und public image of the woman.

Conflicts and complications between nations and communities are symbolically taken out over the body of the woman.

The "inferiority "´of the woman is inherent to this process of instrumentalization.

The starting point of this special artistic reflexion that marks the golden thread through the work auf Claudia Nebel, is the picture of the woman in different religions und regions of the world.

A trip to Syria, for example, gave rise to a photo series in Graz which dealt with the symbolic form of the bandanna.

The artist wanted to take pictures of places in Graz, where the absence of mundane consumer culture represented a certain absence of space and time.

In front of this abstracted urban facade the artist represents herself wearing a scarf.

In different variations, the scarf disguises hair and face, a sign of the individuality of the person.

The interior and the exterior connect, interfere and run through each other in an irritating way.

Hair, as a representation of bodily energy, strength and frugality, is being hidden in the sense of a religious denomination.

The single hair, embroidered in the visible surface, mirrors the imprint of female biography and identity through religious conventions.

It is not the one-dimensional perception of the picture of the woman in the Islam that Claudia Nebel is presenting, but the attempt to express the intertwining and tension that happen on various levels.

Another topic in the works of Claudia Nebel is the compression of “life essence” through the increasing abstraction of the photograph.

The result seems to resemble the portrayal of the traces of memory in the brain, a short sequence of the trace that we leave with our whole existence in this world.

At the 52nd biannual of Venice in 2007, Oscar Muñoz, one of the most popular Columbian artists, presented a wonderful work that dealt with dying and the commemoration of the dead.

In ‚Re/trato’ he painted the schemes of photographs schemes of obituaries on a heated stone.

These ephemeral portraits pale along with the vaporisation of the water on the sun-heated stone.

The vanishing of the portrait that reminds us of the fading memories of the deceased is not only a physical abdication but at the same time a compression, which had its climax shortly before its disappearance.

In an artistic congeniality, Claudia Nebel takes up that very form of compression in her revision of photographic portraits und attempts to achieve that very intensity by using the minimal media/means.

What happens – one may ask – in this process of superposition of different visual techniques photography, painting and drawing?

As it is not the intention, as it traditionally is, to create the perfect simulacrum of the perceived world, the contrary is the case.

This superposition does not serve the increase of a characteristic reality with detailed descriptions, but it is a process where the artist even takes away as much physical reality as possible by attempting to achieve that mysterious climax of compression shortly before the picture falls apart.

Thereby, something comes forward, actually unspeakable, a feeling of the moment, a sparkle of the possible.

Aspects appear that the physical appearance sometimes blocks the way.

Sometimes the artist lets enough visibility remain that the individual is still recognized, sometimes so little that the only the atmosphere, the weight of the moment remain, applied to the last framework of the physical, like the traces of the bright light that remain as purple stars in the eye for a while, burned into the retina like a unconsciously felt detail which revokes expectations und colours our thoughts with feelings past.

The schematic traces of recollection are sometimes applied to a rather strong background , wallpaper-like materials, like brocade. They offer a hold to the ephemerals und still lift the actual moments

„Me Whore“ is a series of portraits that that are painted on large formats on skin-coloured, large-patterned brocade. The larger than life portraits…appear as if being burned into skin.

The splendour of the precious fabrics is contrasted with the faces of tired women.

The „not so being“ of „the being“, the rupture and the inner contradictions that people especially at the edge of society approach, are being painfully brought in the foreground.

And again: the picture of the woman. Prostitution. Disguise. Barbie Dolls on the cross.

Claudia Nebel is taking the social and religious pictures of the woman rather drastically apart and does not shy away from the breaking of taboos to maker social means of suppression visible.

Barbie is the child-woman, disfigured by the exaggerated expectations that force the little girl into the codes of a patriarchal consumer culture.

For Claudia Nebel, Barbie is the tortured body of the woman on the cross, put into bandages, as involuntary bride with cut-up skin, decorated with flowers like on her deathbed, ready in various poses of devotion – as it is depicted in a comparatively harmless way by a nightgown exposed in the “Volkskundliches Museum”. There, above a cut in the dress, the fatalistic “Dieux le veut” – “God wants it”, can be read.

The woman in monotheistic religions is first and foremost regarded from a male perspective; women are the victims of a transformed conflict between the divine and the female.

It’s Claudia Nebel’s intense intention in this series, to make the history of hundreds of years of suppression visible and palpable.

A nice metaphor describes art as the acupuncture of society.

This correlates perfectly with the process-oriented works in contemporary art.

Not the work is at the centre, but the whole process of development and design has artistic relevance; the work itself is more to be understood as the trace of doing, a new seed for new processes.

What should happen in these processes of work in creative thinking and doing is a work on society itself, in all mutual attitudes, in different moods, memories and hopes for the future.

In acupuncture, small, comparatively unimportant stings are being made, if those are well applied, they are rather painful, effective and long-lasting. It is the same in art. And especially in the art of Claudia Nebel.

                                                                                                                 Astrid Kury/Akademie Graz

Claudia Nebel                                                                           --> deutsch

born 1972 in Graz, Austria

1990-97 studies of german literature/Graz

1993-94 studies of fine arts /Norman /U.S.A

1995-97 Studio Muhr/Graz

2002 International Summer Academy of Fine Arts/ Salzburg

2002 work stay Zanzibar/ Zanzania

2003 work stay/ Berlin

2003 foundation of AC Parma

since 2004  work in progress, Studio Oswaldgasse 28/ Vienna

2008 work stay. Granada/ Nicaragua

2008 work stay Damascus/ Syria

2008 work stay Havanna/ Cuba

2010 Künstlerklausur Stift St. Lambrecht

2012 Shaman Studies, i. A.


2012 FOOTPRINTS, Oswg 28, Wien

2011 Unsicher, Steinernes Wehr, Südsteiermark

2011 WOMEN OF MY LIFE, Oswg 28, Wien

2011 Do You Know Who I Am ?, AAI Graz/ Akademie Graz

2011 WIR SIND BETTLER, Stadtmuseum Graz

2010 PRO.PHET Stift St. Lambrecht

2010 WANTED- found, Galerie Kon-temporär, Graz

2010 Arte y Moda, Museo Nacional de Bella Artes, Havanna, Cuba

2010 OHNE GNADE, invited by KAVN,Galerie Lisi Hämmerle, Bregenz

2010 OHNE GNADE, invited by KAVAN, The Absence of Art, Berlin

2009 Crossing Cultures Cuba_Art, Akademie Graz, Reininghausgründe, Graz

2009 OHNE GNADE, invited by KAVAN, kunst.wirt.schaft., Graz

2008 STYRIA MEETS SYRIA, Mustafa Ali Art Foundation , Damascus, Syria

2008 perceptiones_realidades, Galerie G 69, Graz

2008 Assembly, graz

2007 „Emergence“ European Forum Alpbach,Tyrol

2007  „Werkschau“ studio Karimi, Vienna

2006 „Marathon“ City Hall Graz

2006 „the best nignt“ Le Méridien,Vienna

2005 „1949“ State Capitol of Styria, Graz

2004 „run fort he universe2“ BSA, Vienna

2003 Open Art, Summerstage, Vienna

2003 Marathon, Wassergalerie, Berlin

2002 „Oktoberfest“, Stein’s Diner ,Venna

2002, „run for the universe“ Artforum Czernin, Vienna

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