You may not believe in magic but something
very strange is happening at this very moment.

– Leonora Carrington
The Hearing Trumpet

Perhaps Larissa Leverenz would not go so far as Andre Breton, to say that whoever cannot imagine a horse galloping on a tomato is an idiot, but she does ask the viewer to abandon traditional modes of viewing and accompany her into a world of images highly tinged with Surrealist content. Drawings and collages from the Fed. Domino series (2011) show human body parts mixed with bird feathers, creatures built of an agglomeration of wings, claws and limbs, sailing and ambling across flat backdrops. Some of the works are on handmade paper; some are on thin sheets of basswood, where the grain of the wood adds a structural element. In the picture cycle capriola (2012), Leverenz uses the same techniques, this time on poplar wood, to illustrate a complex of themes concerning the human wish to be able to fly, be free or to jump artistically like dressage horses, seemingly overcoming the laws of gravity.

Leverenz is highly trained in all the graphic arts. An accomplished draftsman, she is also an illustrator, printmaker and graphic designer, working chiefly with paper and often making books. Increasingly Leverenz uses wood, so that her graphic creations have an object-like corporeality. She draws on the wood, and also etches and digs into the surface, producing a type of relief. Not only in terms of working with wood does Leverenz admire Gert and Uwe Tobias. As twins, they do not conform to the model of the individual versus the group; none of their works can be clearly attributed to one of the two brothers. Analogously, Leverenz intentionally chooses to defy the reality of the concept of the individualistic artistic experience, often entering into collaborations. With Kirsten Borchert she is developing the project Enola Gay, an interactive game for the Ruhrbiennale 2012, involving hundreds of paper airplanes made from old comics from the last 30 years. The Love Qube (2008) installation and performance was realized together with Mathias Garnitschnig, and she has also made books with Markus Kircher.

Samuel Beckett’s poem Neither was inspired by Morton Feldman, who asked Beckett to provide the text for an opera he would score. This in turn was the inspiration for her book weder noch (neither nor, 2006/7). The poem is about the movement of shadows, a theme that Leverenz explored in depth in the book and silkscreen project Schattenspur (Trace of a Shadow, 2010/11). She calls the shadow a “reflection and trace of a self [which] points at the limit of the spatial existence”. Sanford Schwartz has described De Chirico’s “magical nodes of experience”. Not unlike De Chirico, Larissa Leverenz takes us on a magical mystery tour that allows us to encounter the liberating sensations contained in her visual vocabulary, where, as Breton once said, the imaginary is what tends to become real.

© Text: Renée Gadsden, 2012

Text for the catalogue of the exhibition
Tempted To Doubt
© Text: Mag. Dr. Renée Gadsden, 2012

Sala Terrena|Exhibition center of the University of Applied Arts Vienna
Heiligenkreutzerhof, 1010 Vienna, Austria


weitere Texte:
Tempted To Doubt, Sala Terrena 2012
© Larissa Leverent & Kirsten Borchert

Tempted To Doubt, (Eng.)
© translated by Philippa Stockert

Enola Gay
Ruhrbiennale 2012
© Larissa Leverent & Kirsten Borchert

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