Barbara Husar is an Austrian artist who deliberately distances herself from her European cultural origins, not only on a symbolic level but also in the proper sense of the word for every year she spends a few months among the Beduins of the Sinai Peninsula. This habit has become a challenging experience which underlies at present a series of projects called DATA EXCHANGE and consisting in several exhibitions organized in important European cities. The latest exhibition in this series is called DATA EXCHANGE – 09 and is held at the Atelier 35 gallery, in Bucharest. The title of the project gives us a hint about its main theme: communication mechanisms. However, the title doesn’t give us any clue about the connection between the data exchange theme and some recurring symbols (the buckle, the chip pan and the umbilical cords) functioning in Husar’s work like multimedia organisms. In the following interview, the artist shared with us a few secrets of her vision.
You are what one may call a “multimedia artist”. Your work involves photography but also drawings, mixed media, graphic art, paintings, videoprojections. What draws you to use such a variety of media?
I try to find the best medium for the information i want to transport.
Every workingprocess starts with drawing and from there i search for the strongest form of expression through a medium. the particular mediaworks oftentimes are interacting in bigger installations. they are supporting each other, i call them multi media organisms. but they can stand alone as well. a varity of media opens different approaches and for me it is a chance to explore and share subjects through many perspectives and layers.
Your photographic art is very peculiar because to the photo itself you add an “external touch”. Can you tell us more about your technique?
Because i am overworking the photos with crayons and aquarellcolours they show more of my individual subjective perception. most of these photos are integrated in my films and where actually therefor done.
Your current exhibition at “Atelier 35” includes photos taken in the desert, among the Beduins. Where did your interest for the world of Beduins raise from?
Since 1996 i know this tribe on the Sinai peninsula and stay with them every year for a period. i like the simplicity , living around the fire and the nature of the desert is very mindexpanding to me, as for many others too.
I understand you have your own herdof goats there. Is it true?
Yes i own a herd of goats there. an old beduinwomen is taking care of them. I collect the umbilical cords of the newborns. This is part of the process DATA EXCHANGE.
What was the most challenging experience of your life among the Beduins?
The switches back to Europe are challenging me with every time harder. It is not about that i don´t want to come back, but every stay with the bedouins gives me more insights of their life and i explore my enormously split inbetween the cultures more differenciated and this is not so easy for me to integrate.
The title of your current exhibition – “Data exchange – phase 09” – explicitly states a major theme of your work, that is the information transfer, the communicative mechanisms. Do you use the image of Beduins as a symbol for a more authentic communication in comparison to communication in our urban world?
I would rather say i use the image of a desertgoat as an opposition to our information overloaded society. With DATA EXCHANGE i try to work on the flow of information between these poles. Actually my approach to the term communication mechanisms is more physiologically and as well subliminal. i am interested in the communication between cells. That is one important reason why i am interested in umbilical cords.
What was the reaction of the European public to your project?
From the beginning on the resonance is very good . First i had good luck in raising money for this project. the department of new media supported my acquirement of the herd and the purchaising of the umbilicalcords as well as my filmdocumentations about this process. And i am very happy that i have now the chance to exhibit this multi-media work in galleries and museums.
Two other symbols of connection you also focus on in your work are the buckle and the chip pan. Can you tell us a few words about their significance?
The buckle reflects for me the function of synapses and the chippan is a buckled network.
If you were to use three words, how would you describe your style as a visual artist?
Multi media organisms
What do you do in your free time?
Absorbing inspiring informations.
1995 – university of applied arts / prof. mario terzic / vienna
2000 – diploma / university of applied arts / vienna
Prizes and grants:
2007- austrian national grant for fine arts
2008 – silvrettatelier, bielerhoehe / artist in residence cph air, copenhagen / artist in residence
2009 -hubert berchtold award / austria
2009/ data exchange – phase 09 / atelier 35 / bucarest / ro
2009/ big fisch – am ursprung des kunststroms / kunst.box / bregenz / a
2008/ my second herd – copenhagen office / copenhagen / dk
2008/ data exchange – MAK-nite / vienna / a
2007/ data exchange – englaenderbau / vaduz / fl
2006/ interbuckling – theater kosmos / bregenz / a
2005/ degravitation – RBK liechtenstein / vaduz / a
2005/ the meteoritstrap – schloss gayenhofen / bludenz / a
Large format projections
amsterdam / damrak (NL), rotterdam / williamswerftgebouw (NL),
london / royal albert hall (GB), liechtenstein / castle vaduz (FL), st.gallen / openair (CH),
feldkirch / poolbar (A), montafon / gaschurn (A), vienna / leopoldmuseum (A)
viena 2008 / mini dv / 28:14min
vienna 2008 / mini dv / 04:20min
"evolution of the buckling people"
vienna 2008 / trickfilm / 02:28min
barbara husar / la lee lena / frl.mueller & soehne
sinai 2007 / dv / 36:00min
barbara husar / frl.mueller & soehne