Karolin Braegger

„Stealing the Limelight” Feb 25, 2021 - Mar 25, 2021

While an overarching curiosity for aesthetic choices and their interpretative realms seems to unite Karolin Braegger’s interests within sculpture, fashion, painting and their crossroads alike, you will have to look upon the textures, through the surfaces and across their materiality to understand the performative and subversive potential that her works contain:

From the ongoing negotiation of tensions between absence and presence, active and passive, intervention and circumstance, Braegger started to conjure this, for her personally useful image of a servant. An unnamed fluid character that accompanies her production process and which would allow her to squeeze into different contexts; allow her to cater, to host, to give, to be of use, and to perform… without, well… actually performing.

The topic of performance, or better said 'non-performance', has a history with the artist and is expressed in various states and shapes throughout her previous pieces as well as in the given presentation. We find disguised performative gestures in colors that function as characters, in the installation choices that activate one of the most passive objects in human history, and finally in the mediation towards the viewer.

Quite fittingly, addressing this servant of modern-day life, the pieces presented at 1o1 are part of an ongoing series revolving around the topic of the box. Playing with loaded metaphors of boxing – as in categorizing or as in locking something up –, it is easy to misunderstand this choice of focus as a sole ode to a symbol of artistic production in times of a pandemic. Whereas the meaning of this ultimately consumerist tool to package and ship poses a layer to the work that is undeniable, the box scenario opens to a more complex move.

Emancipating from the minimalist idea of white paintings found throughout the 50s and 60s, Braegger makes use of a white of her own, to camouflage and to start over. To interact with the previously coined, mostly male-dominated notions of this gesture, of painting something blank, Braegger overpaints her containers not just with white paint, but also with restrained colorful interventions. She empties a previously filled plane but that just to fill it up again –– with a crowd of stains.

As the artist paints the packaging as a form of relaxation and uses the final boxes as displays or backgrounds, this production process and usage of the box – given its current context – seems to comment on matters of reconciliation and deceleration.
In this way, she creates new independent actors, sometimes even adding pieces of fabric or bits of felt which were specifically produced in workshops organized by the artist, together with collaborator Janek Ackermann. By quoting „typically female“ textile work, she ultimately turns the white oil paint into the background, using it as a moment to offer space for new narratives.

Overall, this can serve as a fitting example of how Braegger approaches the history of artistic production as well as the commentary that constitutes her practice itself– trying to say things not yet formulated and undoing things that are yet to be overwritten, always looking for things that will, in the end, serve herself.

Karolin Braegger (born 1993 in Zurich) lives and works in Zurich and Vienna. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Zurich University of Arts and is currently enrolled in the Diploma Fine Art at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna as well as the Diploma Fashion Design at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna.