December 2, 2016
Richard Nonas: SLANT, Press Release, 2017
January 15, 2017
Fergus McCaffrey at The Art Show 2017, Booth C11
Fergus McCaffrey is pleased to present a solo exhibition of works by the Viennese artist Birgit Jürgenssen (1949-2003).
The presentation will feature a group of Jürgenssen’s photographic works, presented in combination with a selection of her sculptures. This juxtaposition underscores Jürgenssen’s refusal of a single approach or influence, and created work that is abundant in sources and techniques.
The selection will center on Jürgenssen’s photographic works, focusing on her experimental works, primarily the series Stoffarbeiten (Fabric Works), created from the late 1980s to the early 1990s. These works consist of photographic prints mounted on canvases, which are screwed to iron frames that she herself constructed. Thin, translucent fabrics such as gauze, are stretched over the surface, veiling and slightly obscuring the images. The photographs themselves are created through a range of processes, including photograms, solarization, and multiple- exposures.
In another related series, Jürgenssen employs cyanotype, one of the oldest contact printing techniques, through which a blue tint creates an almost dreamy effect. The blurring effect reduces figures to silhouettes, thus rendering portraits unrecognizable. Jürgenssen's multiple overlays increase the sense of dreamscape and indecipherability. The cyanotype process recalls architectural blueprints, and Jürgenssen's adaptation of the form also points to the figure of the botanist Anna Atkins, the first woman to make photographs and the first to use blueprints as illustrations. While references to Feminism, abstraction, and Surrealism are plentiful in Jürgenssen's work, her practice is at the same time marked by a modernist concern with and intense awareness of issues of representation and originality.