Oklahoma Contemporary
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New Light

March 31, 2020

#ArtistSpotlight: Eva Schlegel

Get to know the artists behind Bright Golden Haze
In a print of an abstract photo, light creates distorted angles and squares in the corner of a room
Eva Schlegel. Untitled (231), 2015.

Light and architecture collide in the dizzying work of Viennese artist Eva Schlegel. By blurring the focus — as in her Untitled (231), on view in Oklahoma Contemporary's inaugural Bright Golden Haze she strips images of their details. The resulting photo offers angles and lines that disorient the view and challenge our perception of space.

Since 1995, Schlegel has completed numerous public art projects in her home in Austria and around the world. Her work has been collected by more than 40 major institutions, including the Albertina Collection in Vienna, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the New York Public Library and more.

In addition to photography, Schlegel's work includes objects and installation works, which are implemented experimentally and spatially by using different media -- such as photography on lead, mirror or glass. She questions the limits of perception of common viewing habits.

"It's not what it seems. It's not a door where the light comes through," Schlegel said of Untitled (231). "If you watch the angles and search for it, they're not right angles. It's not what it should be. But still you have the feeling that it's drawn or it's painted with light and shadow."

In works like this, Schlegel begins by creating a photograph in perfect focus. She then manipulates the image digitally, or re-shoots it as a printout. "Blurriness is not blurriness," Schlegel said. "There's a certain state of blurriness where the image seems to appear, or seems to disappear. It breathes in a way."

SPACES - Eva Schlegel from KA21 / CastYourArt on Vimeo.

Get to the point

Schlegel studied graphic arts at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. "I was trained as a photographer, but I wasn't interested in photography as such," she said. "I was interested in experimenting and working with different materials to visualize the concept right to the point."

That drive to experiment opened the doors for Schlegel to explore architectural spaces and light in a way that traditional photography could not. "It's more a fascination with space in general," she said. "I try to find new languages, new spaces ... and new ideas to express in the work."

Once visitors are able to experience Oklahoma Contemporary's now-delayed Bright Golden Haze for themselves, they can get up close and personal with Schlegel's beautifully disorienting work. In the meantime, consider how the artist's use of light and space can change your perceptions of everyday spaces with our #AtHomeArt activity below.

Try it yourself:

Eva Schlegel. Untitled (231), 2015. Photography, print on Hahnemühle paper. 202.0 × 136.0 (cm). 79.5 × 53.5 (in). Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco. 

Photo of Eva Schlegel by Dennis Spielman.

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photography Bright Golden Haze light architecture Artist Spotlight Exhibitions

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