Robert Menasse about Ursula Singer

Werke "Stunde Null", "Spiegelreise" und "Cameo"

It really is not that easy to write something about yourself. For this reason, it is not only important but also quite pleasant for artists, when friends and fans of their art express how much they enjoy it.

A very good example for this fact is the following text that the Austrian writer Robert Menasse has written about the artist Ursula Singer, who will, among others, be featured in our exhibition “caratart Episode 2″:

“It is always very hard to explain why paintings TELL us something and what they tell us – for that reason, they are paintings and not texts. Specialists have words to explain paintings, but these words have a dialectic problem: They can explain SINGULARITY (art, in fact), but as a specialist you are more or less required to mass-produce this singularity and to hence create a sea of singularity, because finding unique words for only one unique artist simply doesn’t make you a specialist. I chose this introduction for one simple reason: to underline that I am not a specialist or an expert. I do not possess these magic words that would allow me to expertly explain why your paintings speak to me. Nonetheless, I have words to express my feelings and words to explain my reactions when something touches me (which is hard enough by itself). And I can also try to give an answer when something is said to me, even though this offer to communicate might not be one of words but rather come from a painting. Well, your paintings SPEAK to me in the best sense of the word. That is certainly not everything, but it is already quite a lot.

And your paintings touch me. It really is that way.

Since I have understood what is happening, I can also SAY, I can hence find WORDS, to explain why the communication with your paintings stimulates me, challenges me: these paintings perceive the world in a QUESTIONING MANNER, and where we have usually already forgotten how to ask questions, because we mistake being accustomed to something for understanding it, you insert small puzzles, fractures into your paintings that underline the need to ask questions – under-“line” in the very sense of the word. For example, the painting featuring mother and child at the beach – it remains a puzzle why an army of horsemen is emerging from the painting. You can spend a long time looking at the painting, as it is definitely not an easy puzzle, but after some time it becomes more and more apparent that this is just the way it has to be, that there is no happiness without any threat, all right – but why the horsemen? Well, you could also reflect on this for quite some time, and I could hack away at the keyboard for an hour, until the conclusion is reached that the Blue Rider has turned black now, has descended into the gloom of the repressed (what might also be a bit of an over-interpretation, but this is also something a painting has to achieve: to allow for over-interpretation!) etc. Or the portrait that has had to squeeze itself into a square but still has managed to extend its own boundaries by not accepting them… Bound, but at the same time without boundaries – this allows for the opportunity to communicate with the depicted human, it doesn´t overtax me while also not demanding too little from me, because it is apparent: this is neither an idiot nor a hero, it is a human being.”

The Austrian writer Robert Menasse about Ursula Singer, February 2012

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