Work in progress, 2019 - 2020
Drawings by Gregor Graf
Photographs by Gregor Graf
1 / 147 x 101cm / ink on paper
“Wald: inhabiting spaces” is a dialogue between Gregor Graf’s series of drawings “Wald” and Teresa Pinheiro’s reflections on the emotional, familiar, collective connection to the sceneries of our memories.
Gregor Graf’s work and the dystopian reality we’re living today take us to a critical analysis of our relationship, as human beings, with space and nature. Our ways of inhabiting them result in multiple relations, interactions and consequences. Maybe due to our lack of recognition of humanity as nature, it is exploited in such a destructive way that, ironically or not, it ends up damaging ourselves.
The following series of drawings explore the multiplicity and complexity of the dichotomous relationships between city/countryside, people/environment and humanity/nature in a way of understanding their coexistence as complements and not as opposites.
Wald 2 / 147 x 101cm / ink on paper
In 2018 and 2019, the Austrian forests Waldviertel and Mühlviertel suffered serious damage due to extreme climate changes. After unusual amounts of snow, these forests experienced a long period of dryness and warm temperatures that facilitated the breeding of the bark beetle. As a consequence, large amounts of wood had to be taken from the forest areas which transformed visually the landscape.
As Gregor explains, “the normally vertical orientation of the forest merged into a linear and light jumble of standing trees, lying but not yet processed damaged wood, clear-cut logs, young trees and bushes.” The need the artist felt to register these changes in such raw and physical gestures – big brush and dark ink against the fragility of paper – reveals this close relationship we have to what surrounds us. An emotional, familiar, collective connection to the sceneries of our memories.
Sturm / 150 x 120cm / ink on paper
Buchdrucker / 150 x 109cm / ink on paper
Nest / 147 x 101cm / ink on paper
“Our house, apprehended in its dream potentiality, becomes a nest in the world (…) The nest, quite as much as the oneiric house, and the oneiric house quite as much as the nest – if we ourselves are at the origin of our dreams – knows nothing of the hostility of the world.” (Bachelard, 1994: 103)
Our sense of belonging to spaces culminates now that we are forced to stay home. The shelter that protects us from the outside world just as the nest guards the birds against harm. The place where we build our memories, grow our creativity and exist within our deeper self. The global conflict we’re living is being solved through individual actions towards a collective good – an isolated but convivial existence not only between ourselves but also with nature, that continues to regenerate itself while we are confined.
Bachelard, Gaston (1994), The Poetics of Space: The Classic Look at How we Experience Intimate Places, translated by Maria Jolas, Boston: Beacon Press.
/ 40 x 40cm each / ink on paper
“The day advanced as if to light some work of mine; it was morning, and lo, now it is evening, and nothing memorable is accomplished. Instead of singing like the birds, I silently smiled at my incessant good fortune. As the sparrow had its trill, sitting on the hickory before my door, so had I my chuckle or suppressed warble which he might hear out of my nest. My days were not days of the week, bearing the stamp of any heathen deity, nor were they minced into hours and fretted by the ticking of a clock; for I lived like the Puri Indians, of whom it is said that “for yesterday, to-day, and tomorrow they have only one word, and they express the variety of meaning by pointing backward for yesterday, forward for to-morrow, and overhead for the passing day.” This was sheer idleness to my fellow-townsmen, no doubt; but if the birds and flowers had tried me by their standard, I should not have been found wanting. A man must find his occasions in himself, it is true. The natural day is very calm, and will hardly reprove his indolence.” (Thoreau, 1854: 122)
Thoreau, Henry David (1854), Walden or Life in the Woods, Boston: Beacon Press.
1- 9 / 147 x 101cm / ink on paper
Gregor’s drawings are visual translations that show us a dialogue between his childhood and the process of construction/deconstruction these landscapes are going through as industrialized natural spaces. The forests are perceived both as natural and personal spaces and carry with them multiple layers of memories, narratives and connections.
In an increasingly globalized world, we are now even more aware of how connected and interdependent we all are and how it is impossible to distinguish humanity from nature. In this forced deacceleration of time, we are able to reflect and transform – through togetherness, collaboration, empathy, research, dialogue, creativity – the way the spaces are inhabited.
exhibition view / Maerz / Linz / 2020
exhibition view / Kubin-Haus / Zwickledt / 2020
Graf ... www.gregorgraf.net ... 2020