A refugium is a retreat or refuge. A safe place in an uncertain and disquieting world. Like an oasis in the desert or an island in a stormy sea. And that is precisely why artists Bruno Walpoth and Eberhard Ross chose to name their first joint exhibition at Galerie Straihammer and Seidenschwann Refugium.Neither of them go on lonely desert hikes or sailing on the high seas, however, both create a very personal refuge in their studios. The two artists have a similarly meditative way of working, of sinking into the world of their art studio, both seem to profoundly communicate with their art during its creation.
Bruno Walpoth’s people hewn from linden or walnut trees emerge through the interaction with and detailed examination of models. The bodies, lines, and shapes of a few lean young men and many beautiful women are carved out of wood blocks in full life size. The exterior of the model acts as a shell for implied projections.
Eberhard Ross’s work process does not allow for selling out. In black and white writings, a single uninterrupted line is inscribed into layers of paint. The fermata series was named after the character that indicated the holding of a sound or a pause in music. John Cage showed us this in the world of music with his piece 4 min 33 sec, with Boris Parena aptly stating in 1978: “John Cage’s silence creates an opening up to the sounds of the world.” Both artists create a framework within which we can come into contact with ourselves, a rarity in these times of the omnipresence of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram – although this meeting with ourselves can be a great challenge and require courage. And so, for the duration of the exhibition, this gallery in one of the most beautiful and oldest buildings in Vienna becomes a refuge for visitors in a world overflowing with stimulation and impressions.