Texts about art and artists

Specialisation – Contemporary art

I specialise in texts on contemporary artworks. I am happy to create texts and essays according to a requirements profile defined together with the client. It is important to have a detailed preliminary discussion and to get to know each other.

I specialise in texts on contemporary artworks.

Il faut être de son temps" - (Honoré Daumier) - You have to "be of your time" to have the right feeling for your own time.

When I write about contemporary art of the 20th and 21st centuries, I try …

… to experience the work of art with all my senses, rather than searching for words ...

In contemporary art, the boundaries between artist, artwork and viewer become increasingly blurred. Adorno (1903–1969) speaks of the Verfransung (intermedialisation) of the arts.

What does the artwork want to tell me?
What am I feeling, can I sense and perceive something?
Is something happening to me?
Does it create a cold, brusque impression, or does it seem to want to embrace me with open arms?

It is also a question of aesthetics – what makes a work of art a work of art? The question of "aboutness" also plays into this.
Porte-bouteilles (bottle rack) by Marcel Duchamp is considered a key work of 20th-century art.
Andy Warhol (1928-1987) is considered a pioneer of Minimal Art and accomplished a cultural change with his works.

The recourse and paraphrases of contemporary artists to previous stylistic epochs are exciting. Traecy Emin from the Young British Artists takes up the work of Edward Munch (1863 - 1944) and interweaves her work with his.

It is not just our eyes and ears that convey the message of a work of art. It is, rather, an experience that involves all the sensory organs. Touch is of particular importance. Following in the same vein as Clement Greenberg (1909–1994), Michael Fried speaks of the "theatricality" of works of art, which feeds into the performative.

This is about the phenomenological approach to the artwork that became popular in the 1960s. However, works of Minimal Art only become theatrical through their "stage presence" (Fried). In Hermann Nitsch's work, the viewer experiences the artwork in his own body.

Modern and contemporary art, in particular, pose significant challenges for the viewer. Simply observing with the eye is no longer sufficient. One must be actively involved in perceiving the art. This is where the book Phenomenology of Perception (Maurice Merleau-Ponty, 1908–1961) comes into play as a great tool to crack the art work. 

Look at, circle, walk into, walk through,
Smell, taste, feel and
Acoustically perceive; much is possible here.

I view my task as conveying these themes and ideas in my texts in a way that is comprehensible, yet also vivid to the mind's eye.

A short excerpt from my references:

Text: Gertraud Kamml, BA

Franziska and Mercedes Welte. The Making of NONOS.

The Welte sisters produce three-dimensional, graceful female sculptures made of steel, carbon, epoxy resins, and lightfast pigments.

Franziska and Mercedes Welte are now considered specialists in figural, female sculptures, for which they have created the term NONOS.
The sisters have been working together on their œuvre since 2005.

In the early stages, they made figurative miniatures out of wire.
Over time, the size and format of the works have been fruitfully increased.
NONOS comprises sculptures with a pronounced feminine silhouette that act as a kind of allegory for joie de vivre. They represent a congenial fusion between art in its own right and primal female principles:
Heartfelt love, wisdom, beauty and mindfulness paired with creative power are rooted in these works.

Theme, background and iconography

The autobiographical life experiences and perspectives of the artists find expression through the design language and choice of colour. Where the name NONOS comes from, and what it is all about, is a closely guarded secret.
The title NONOS has been protected by copyright since 2005.

The primal female principles serve as templates. The primary task is, therefore, to visualise this creative potential. The NONOS appear self-confident in their aesthetic design language and full of visible inner strength. However, they also convey delicate poetry, freedom and independence.
The NONOS represent sensuality and joie de vivre and also reference the cosmological cycle of becoming, being and passing away.

It is this freedom of reception that makes these works so thrilling for the viewer and that encourages them to actively engage with the art. There is a close bond between the artists and their NONOS.
Happily, their sanctuary – Residence Wellenstein on Lake Constance – offers enough space for a symbiotic community.

NONOISM represents, now and in future, a delicate yet powerfully interwoven assemblage of colour, form and movement. The NONOS convey femininity paired with sensual joy and unrestrained, life-affirming creativity. However, they also present an artistic approach to questions of self-determination and external determination, or of present and future.

Artistic classification

These three-dimensional sculptures in the round range from smaller than life-size to larger-than-life works and expansive installations.
They begin to oscillate, causing their surroundings to vibrate energetically.
The new works for the Giardini della Marinaressa park in Venice make a strong impression through their monumental appearance. Despite their size, these elongated, Gothic-looking structures retain their graceful, aesthetically balanced design language. They convey a dematerialized weightlessness, a kind of spiritualization that leads from the earthly to the cosmic realm.
Colour arouses strong energetic responses in the viewer. According to one Indian sutra, colours emerge between heaven and earth, between light and dark.
The green and turquoise tones represent the sky and the sea; but also self-awareness, transcendence and spirituality.
They appear as iconic symbols for sea, air and sky.

In their sculptures, artists Franziska and Mercedes Welte realise anatomical perfection with expansive dynamics that interact directly with the recipient. It is this oscillating sense of space, coupled with the glossy, refined-looking colouration of the surface finish, that enables the viewer to experience art that engages all of the senses. Depending on the viewer's perspective, mysterious reflections and shadows are created by the varying play of light.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty describes perception as penetrating into the dimension of creation. In phenomenology, reflection is the uncovering of the unreflected.
The graceful, floating design language of the sculptures creates a transcendent perceptive experience for the viewer.
The aesthetics of reception as a sensory perception of art enables the continuation of this experience, with the accomplishment of the open work of art ultimately in the eye of the beholder.

Reception and iconography

"In the age of social media, the smooth is the signature of the present". The aesthetics of the smooth leads to a kind of ennoblement of the familiar.
Perception is a union of the gaze with that which is being seen. Sometimes it is necessary to look through what is visible to discover what is hidden.
The NONOS fuse the polished ideal of beauty with the sensitivity, vulnerability and brokenness to which the beautiful owes its seductive power and eroticism.
The poetry of beauty goes hand in hand with desire and joie de vivre.
A delightful duel between the sublime and the beautiful also plays a role here.
The elongated, dynamically moving design language invokes the aesthetic of a Gothic "Beautiful Madonna", thus accentuating the sensually sublime appearance of the sculptures. A sense of blissful wonder is aroused in the viewer. The graceful, shapely exterior and aesthetic layer of colour achieve a beauty that stirs feelings of love.


Franziska and Mercedes Welte are always finding new forms of expression. In addition to painting, reliefs and sculpture, they also create furniture and other design objects.
The NONOS have been widely acclaimed and can be viewed at international art fairs and exhibitions.
The installation of the Margravine Agnes has been acquired by Klosterneuburg Abbey and will be exhibited once more from May 2019.
The next step takes the NONOS to Venice, as part of this year's Biennale.
A thrilling liaison between the NONOS, the Giardini della Marinaressa and the sea that is sure to inspire!


Copyright – text: Gertraud Kamml, BA

Commissioned press release Franziska & Mercedes Welte Klosterneuburg work

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The artists Franziska and Mercedes Welte from Feldkirch in Vorarlberg show their work from 2004


...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.[1]

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.[2]
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.[3]

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.[4]
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.[5]

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. [6]

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.[7] The artist couple

Christo and Jeanne-Claude have been creating their spectacular wrapping projects since the 1960s.[8]

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.[9]
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.

[1] Kemp, Wolfgang, Der Betrachter ist im Bild. Kunstwissenschaft und Rezeptionsästhetik, Ostfildern 1991.
[2] 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.
[3] Vgl.: Assman, Aleida, Jan Assman (Hgg.), Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels, Frankfurt a. M. 2018.

[4] Vgl.: Bubmann, Peter, Hans Dickel (Hgg.), Ästhetische Bildung in der Erinnerungskultur, Bielefeld 2014.
[5] Vgl.: Nora, Pierre, Les lieux de mémoire, Paris 1984.

[6] Kandinski , Über das Geistige in der Kunst. Insbesondere in der Malerei, München 1911.
[7] Vgl.: Werner, Elke Anna, Die Schleier der Venus. Zu einer Metapher des Sehens bei Lucas Cranach d. Ä, in:

[8] Goldberger, Paul, Christo und Jeanne-Claude, 2019.
[9] Adorno, Theodor W., Ästhetische Theorie, Frankfurt am Main 1970.

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