Nives Widauer: minor catastrophes N° 99, 2010
geboren 1965 in Basel, Schweiz, lebt und ar-beitet in Wien. Sie studierte Audiovisuelle Kunst an der Schule für Gestaltung in Basel. Ihr Werk, das multimediale Szenografien auf der einen, und Video-, Papier- und Fotoarbeiten auf der anderen Seite umfasst, wurde u.a. in Basel, Shanghai, Zürich, Exeter, Miami, Kassel und Wien ausgestellt. Im KULTUM wurde Widauer in den Ausstellungen „Nives Widauer: SHEVIEW“ (2000) und „IRREALIGIOUS! Parallelwelt Religion in der Kunst“ (2011/12) gezeigt.
born in Basel, Switzerland, in 1965; lives and works in Vienna. She studied Audiovisual Art at the Basel School of Design. Her works, on the one hand multimedia scenography, and video, paper, and photo works on the other, have been exhibited i.a. in Basel, Shanghai, Zürich, Exeter, Miami, Kassel and Vienna. Widauer’s works were shown in the KULTUM in the exhibitions “Nives Widauer: SHEVIEW“ (2000) and “IRREALIGIOUS! Parallelwelt Religion in der Kunst“ (2011).
Nives Widauer: minor catastrophes N° 99, 2010
The media age teaches us that we need personalities to communicate content in the best possible way: This does not only go for brands but also for politics, and last but not least, for religion too. Pope John Paul II astonished the media theorists in this respect because he knew like hardly anyone else how to bring back the “religious image”, which already seemed to be subject to musealization for a long time, to present-day image use. He knew like hardly anybody else how to use the power of images for his message. From 1978 to 2005, he was the omnipresent, impersonated image of religion. He was like a media star that was captured by the cameras like a monolith of the late 20th century’s history. After all, the Iron Curtain broke down during his pontificate. He kissed the ground in countless countries he visited; already ravaged by disease, he opened the Holy Door at the turn of the millennium, or put pleas for forgiveness into the cracks of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. The camera followed him wherever he went, but not—like other public figures of our time with ‘celebrity’ status often feel—as an instrument in the hands of paparazzi but because he expressly wanted this, right up to his public dying in 2005. Karol Wojtyła was also often filmed and photographed when he was praying; pictures of him praying the rosary are still for sale today. The picture presented here was created by the theater, video and photo artist Nives Widauer from Basel (CH) and shows the meanwhile canonized Pope absorbed in his evening prayer. The blurring in the picture is not due to the low resolution but to the fact that it is a stitch picture. After all, religious imagery has not only made the world of advertising subservient to its purposes; due to the technologies of reproduction it also leaked out into the images of everyday life and thus gained a wide appeal that necessarily also transfers it into the world of kitsch and superficiality. To examine the robustness of everyday culture and images of everyday life—also in their religious context—and transfer it in a humorous and witty manner, is one of Nives Widauer’s essential artistic strategies. She picks up the homeliness of pictures of everyday life that definitely have a pictorial character in an everyday life milieu that would never deal with the reception of contemporary art. But, like in a picture puzzle, little mistakes slip into the concept of stitching these pictures, or, if we take her series literally, “minor catastrophes”: Humor, distortion, displacement—these are all strategies with a significant immanent element of truth. These pictures are not simply reproduction wallpaper but stitching templates for women to occupy themselves creatively. After all, this Pope’s doctrines terminated the desire for gender equality within the Catholic Church—also with regard to priestly ordination—which became more and more urgent in those years. Of course, all the harsher it appears when this image and working material marks pictorial worlds that jar with modern gender mainstreaming, at least according to public opinion. What could also be stitched into the picture surface in the frame of creative occupation Nives Widauer has already done in the little displacements of her “minor catastrophes”: In Nives Widauer’s picture of the Pope the letters “NIETZSCHE” are stitched into the breviary’s cover. As we all know, his diagnosis, “God is dead”, is what the churches and theologies have struggled with from the threshold of modernity right up to the present day. “Nietzsche” has become the symbolic term for what we call the dilemma of the modern age. He announced God’s death on a bright morning, the wiping away of the whole horizon, and the loosening of this earth from the sun — by us. One cannot discuss what he conjured up: “The nothing is out of the question”. Can one immerse oneself in it, or even pray to it? At any rate, the philosopher of God’s death entered the very heart of what the administrators of religion have to deal with.
Text aus | Text from: Johannes Rauchenberger: Gott hat kein Museum. Religion in der Kunst des beginnenden XXI. Jahrhunderts. | No Museum Has God. Religion in Art in the Early 21st Century. (IKON. Bild+Theologie, hg. von | ed. by Alex Stock und Reinhard Hoeps), Verlag Ferdinand Schoeningh, Paderborn 2015, S. | p. 432-434.