Wool Paintings

Seit 2019 schafft Sebastian Supanz Bilder aus Wolle. In der Ausstellung „Wool Paintings“ werden diese erstmals in der Steiermark präsentiert. Die bunten Filzbilder sind Malereiassoziationen, in denen unterschiedliche Fragestellungen behandelt werden. So wird unter anderem auf Themen wie Kindheit, oder dem Motiv und dem Material zugeschriebene Geschlechterrollen eingegangen. Das in seinen Bildern wiederkehrende Motiv des Reiters lässt auf die stetige Suche des Künstlers schließen.

In seiner neuesten Serie eignet sich Sebastian Supanz seine eigenen, vorhergegangenen Arbeiten mit Hilfe von künstlicher Intelligenz an, um selektierte digitale Entwürfe in einem langsamen Prozess wiederum in Filz zu übersetzen. Der Dialog mit KI wirft Fragen von Originalität und Authentizität auf, stellt eine immer hektischer werdende Welt, und schließlich auch den Kult des Künstlers als Genie in Frage. 

Kelly Foster (Artist and the founder of London Paint Club, a dynamic platform and print magazine dedicated to emerging contemporary painting):

In Sebastian Supanz’s „Afterglow“ (2019), a horse is captured mid-leap, suspended above a tapestry of yellow and green hues that dissolve into a radiant moonlit glow. The figure, though indistinct, conjures the romantic image of a knight in shining armour. The viewer is compelled to reach out, to touch the ethereal landscape, a dreamy mélange of pastel and vividly hued cotton-like tufts. One is left to ponder the knight’s destination, his gesture signalling either triumph or the onset of a new quest. The scene evokes a dream, familiar yet distant, a fleeting memory of a golden childhood encapsulated in the whimsical abstraction of colour.

Speaking with Supanz one fall day in September, I got a glimpse into the artist’s world – set against the backdrop of his studio just outside Vienna. Our connection, facilitated by the latest issue of the London Paint Club Magazine, was a fortuitous intersection of serendipity, social media, and the digital age. As our dialogue unfolded, I began to envision a young boy in the Austrian countryside, embarking on woodland adventures with his brother, creating drawings that would adorn their family home for years. In his latest series, Wool Paintings, the recurring motif of the knight emerges, one that Supanz revisits time and again.

I pondered the profound resonance of this archetype, the knight – a symbol deeply rooted in collective consciousness. The knight’s journey, emblematic of the quests we embark upon from the earliest stages of life, conjures visions of a quest for a fairy-tale denouement, the quintessential ‚happily ever after.‘ Yet, the reality of attainment is often shrouded in ambiguity. Life, in its multifaceted complexity, oscillates between light and shadow. The knight, steadfast in his resolve, confronts adversities and adversaries, mirroring our own human struggles. Through Supanz’s lens, the knight’s enduring battles become a metaphor for the human condition, a reflection of our intrinsic quest to overcome and persevere.

The tactile allure of Supanz’s works is immediately striking; their softness and warmth beckon the touch. The creation of each piece is a testament to the artist’s unwavering commitment, with the felting needle becoming an extension of his artistic vision. Some of the larger works are the culmination of over two months of meticulous labour. This meditative process, undertaken in the solitude of his studio, becomes a journey in itself, a pilgrimage through the realms of texture and form. Supanz’s technique of blending, rounding, and simplifying shapes, reducing them to their essence, mirrors the way our memories blur and abstract our lived experiences. Yet, through the medium of wool, these recollections gain a new dimension, a weightiness that renders them tangible, bridging the gap between the ephemeral and the concrete.

Embracing technology, Supanz relinquishes a degree of artistic control, allowing algorithms to generate a myriad of compositions. Yet, these digital orchestrations converge on a universal, abstracted essence, akin to a collective human memory. His art becomes a vessel, a repository of shared narratives, forging a surreal landscape for the knight’s odyssey—a modern-day uncanny valley. Supanz’s work resonates with the contemporary zeitgeist, encapsulating the pervasive sense of ambiguity and the trepidation of a world in flux. There’s an underlying anxiety about the erosion of control, a disquieting sense of disorder and unpredictability that permeates our collective consciousness. In the face of this existential unease, Supanz turns to wool, embracing the meticulous craftsmanship and laborious toil that harkens back to our fundamental human impulse to create, to shape, to give form to the formless.

In the existential journey of life, we find ourselves in a perpetual state of anticipation, yearning for the elusive „there“—the pinnacle of professional success, the ideal relationship, the ultimate happiness and tranquillity. This pursuit, often as intangible as it is relentless, is paradoxically rooted in the present, the only tangible reality we possess. Supanz’s oeuvre encapsulates this dichotomy, where the past and future converge in a singular image, yet it is the act of creation that anchors us firmly in the now. Time, in his hands, is malleable, stretched and contorted through the laborious and deliberate process of his craft.

Supanz deftly navigates the interplay between attainability and the digital realm. His work poses profound inquiries: Can we traverse the corridors of time to revisit the innocence of our childhood? What implications do the rapid advancements in artificial intelligence hold for our collective future? His work probes the quintessential human penchant for nostalgia, for yearning for a past steeped in youthful optimism and unfulfilled promises. 

Sebastian Supanz (*1989 in Graz), hat Malerei und Transmediale Kunst an der Universität für angewandte Kunst in Wien und der FAAP in São Paulo studiert. Er lebt und arbeitet in Wien und Neuberg an der Mürz.

Bildtitel: „Wish“, 2023. Filz auf Wollgewebe, 146 x 140 cm.


Öffnungszeiten: Donnerstag bis Samstag: 10 – 18 Uhr, Sonntag: 10 – 16 Uhr

Dauer der Ausstellung: 02.12.2023 – 18.02.2024


Infos & Tickets

So / 03.12.2023  - So / 18.02.2024
Do bis Sa 10 – 18 Uhr, So 10 – 16 Uhr
galerie kunsthaus muerz