The artists Franziska and Mercedes Welte from Feldkirch in Vorarlberg show their work from 2004
...STILL WARM, YET ALREADY FAR AWAY...
...Still warm, yet already far away
where are you going?
will we meet again
you are missed...
Are we going into the light? Is someone there waiting for us?
Will we be able to "see" or only feel it?
We don't want to know... or do we?
Screen prints 200 x 100 cm Screen prints 2004 – owned by the artists
This work grapples with the sudden death in 2001 of the spouse of one of the artists. It can be seen as part of the annual exhibition, curated by Wolfgang Christian Huber at Klosterneuburg Abbey, under the title "Was Leid Tut" (01.07.2020–15.11.2021).
The exhibition illuminates forms of suffering through the centuries, with their differing style epochs and forms of expression.
This work poses the fundamental questions that occupy our thoughts and that change when we lose a loved one.
The aesthetics of reception of a work of art is an oscillation of different levels of perception by the human senses; seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling.
Ekphrasis, as a rhetorical discipline or literary genre, enables the visual power of language and its ability to describe what is seen, clothed in words. The description of a work of art therefore requires an oscillating coexistence between the different disciplines.
It is about synaesthetic perceptions that allow what is being seen to speak and that load spoken words and thoughts with images.
Eternal questions of meaning that go beyond the death of the human being – many of which are deeply woven into Paul Gaugin's 1897/98 magnum opus, Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? (Museum of Modern Art, Boston) – also form a fundamental basis here.
As is the poem "...STILL WARM, YET ALREADY FAR AWAY...", the painting is a memorial work in the sense of Jan and Aleida Assmann's culture of remembrance; the work has both a biographical and testamentary character in the sense of memoria as a culture of remembrance.
The key question is: "How do we want to remember?"
Thoughtful reflection of this very intimate work allows the viewer to view the convergence of artistic substance and artistic realisation.
Culture requires memory. Memory requires culture.
Shared memory flows into the personal and individual culture of remembrance.
Places of commemoration and unifying rituals to stop us forgetting form a lasting landscape of remembrance.
The work consists of three banners with three faces, in different modes of representation. The work is designed as a triptych and is embedded in an arched niche that is reminiscent of a church apse, lending it a solemn, temple-like quality.
The connecting element between the three faces is the nun's veil, which provides a protective covering for the head. On the third banner, a diaphanous, net-like veil hangs over the figure's countenance.
The veil brings a mysterious, sacred component to the work.
The white face is designed as an entrée to the piece. Facing the viewer head-on, it confronts its opponent with tightly closed eyes. Blackened eyelids with drawn-on accents of colour convey the heaviness, sadness and immeasurable suffering caused by the loss of a loved one. This great heartache is perceived by the viewer with all of their senses.
The white flesh appears pale and lifeless, an allegory for the people who have to leave this world. The morbid odour of transience and death, in a similar vein to the Baroque memento mori, pervades the space.
Insecurity and fear of one's own mortality course through the viewer's emotional world; the border between this world and the afterlife opens up hazily before the mind's eye.
Closing the eyes of the deceased in preparation for their final rest is among the tender rituals performed when saying goodbye.
Closed eyes bring peace to the soul for its final rest.
The aura of eternity transfigures the space and imbues it, in fine waves, with the ether of the eternal universe.
The soul increasingly detaches itself from the body and prepares itself for its journey into the vastness of the cosmos, full of brilliance and light.
Will there be a reunion?
According to John in the Book of Revelation (Rev 22:12), the colour white represents the Alpha and Omega and symbolises the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
On closer inspection, the red lines of the right eye reveal the outline of a newborn.
Will there be a return?
The second face is nestled in a niche, which is set back slightly like an altarpiece. It is framed by a crimson veil. There is airy expanse leading upwards.
The red colour brings warmth and faith to the chapel-like space.
Red also represents eruptive emotional arousal. The figure's porcelain complexion appears fragile and delicate. Plays of light and shadow, coupled with the silence of the room, underscore the solemn, sacred arrangement.
The flesh is whitened and emits the odour of lifelessness and pain. The work draws on the iconography of the "Seven Sorrows of Mary". The Pietà is a symbol of the suffering of the Blessed Mother following the loss of her beloved son to crucifixion.
In Christian iconography, the colour red symbolises the Passion of Christ and the suffering of the Blessed Mother: "And a sword shall pierce through thine own soul," is written in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 2:35).
Brilliant, intense purple is the colour of emperors. Purple is precious and conveys strength and power. The process of manufacturing purple dye from the Murex snail is described in detail by Pliny in his work Naturalis historia.
The transcendent lighting lends a mystic aspect that stimulates synaesthetic perception. 
The face observes the viewer with its eyes slightly open, encouraging reflection on one's own Nietzschean landscape of the soul.
The third banner depicts a brightly lit face in three-quarter profile. A loosely woven, transparent veil covers the face.
The veil exposes what it appears to shroud. Lucas Cranach masterfully perfected the use of the veil as an artistic device. The artist couple
Christo and Jeanne-Claude have been creating their spectacular wrapping projects since the 1960s.
A transparent, extremely fine veil highlights the erotic quality of an image.
The veil is a means of exposing, rather than covering.
It accentuates the vulnerability and fragility of the emotional world.
The diamond-shaped mesh conveys restlessness and uncertainty.
As a veil, the mesh creates distance and obscures a clear view of what is to come. It represents a symbol of the unknown that awaits in the deceased in the afterlife.
The veil holds a mystery within it whose solution is a reconciliation between nature and spirit.
The mesh has a soft, supple structure. A feeling of warm-heartedness and tender affection sets in after the heavy pain of grief.
This concealment using a mesh veil underscores the mystery of the apparent. Only by being obscured does the face become visible. The cloth does not cover, but is solemnly worn by the face. The veil acts as an expression of hope following hopelessness and pain.
"PIETÀ 2000" by Thomas Naegerl (2014) openly presents itself as a compassionate dialogue partner for a "silent conversation". The smooth, polished light marble surface highlights this new beginning through its shimmering, brilliant white colour and amorphous design language.
Lucas Cranach the Elder was a master of the use of the veil as an artistic device. A transparent, extremely fine veil highlights the erotic quality of an image. It is a means of exposing, rather than covering. It accentuates, in an emotive way, the vulnerability and fragility of the emotional world. The veil-like mesh lends a relief-like vividness to the landscape of the face.
The face, in three-quarter profile, leads the viewer's gaze into a hopeful future. The sombreness of death subsides. It must make way for the tender glow of the morning goddess Aurora, who bathes the dawning day in powdery pastel shades.
Cranach the Elder. Catalogue for the exhibition at the Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main – 2008, pp. 99–209.
Peace of mind and warm-heartedness bring renewed courage and creative power to the facial expression. Soft contours surround the mouth area and shape the forehead lines into a romantic, lovely hilly landscape.
Serenity and weightlessness now become perceptible to the viewer.
..."A magic dwells in each beginning" (Hesse, 1941).
Franziska and Mercedes Welte live in Feldkirch and work together in their studio in Lochau. Their castle sanctuary, located on the southern shore of Lake Constance, provides them with inspiration, along with an abundance of primal creative force and warmth that makes their art extraordinary.
 Kemp, Wolfgang, Der Betrachter ist im Bild. Kunstwissenschaft und Rezeptionsästhetik, Ostfildern 1991.
 Boehm, Gottfried, Bildbeschreibung. Über die Grenzen von Bild und Sprache in: Grenzen der Bildinterpretation, hgg. v. Michael R. Müller, Jürgen Soeffner, Hans-Georg, Wiesbaden 2014, S. 15-37.
 Vgl.: Assman, Aleida, Jan Assman (Hgg.), Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels, Frankfurt a. M. 2018.
 Vgl.: Bubmann, Peter, Hans Dickel (Hgg.), Ästhetische Bildung in der Erinnerungskultur, Bielefeld 2014.
 Vgl.: Nora, Pierre, Les lieux de mémoire, Paris 1984.
 Kandinski , Über das Geistige in der Kunst. Insbesondere in der Malerei, München 1911.
 Vgl.: Werner, Elke Anna, Die Schleier der Venus. Zu einer Metapher des Sehens bei Lucas Cranach d. Ä, in:
 Goldberger, Paul, Christo und Jeanne-Claude, 2019.
 Adorno, Theodor W., Ästhetische Theorie, Frankfurt am Main 1970.