Nestled in a remote mountain in South Tyrol is a studio where artist Annemarie Laner lives and works. From her early studies at the Academy of Applied Arts Vienna to her current role as a celebrated freelancer in Campo Tures, Laner’s path was marked by dedication and distinction, notably receiving awards for her exploration of the absurd in the context of Albert Camus’ work.
Serving as both a sanctuary and a creative starting point, Laner’s studio is home to the many projects and pieces she’s created, a gallery of sorts that showcases the artistic journey that has taken her to various locales, influencing her style and perspective. Laner’s exhibitions, residencies, and involvement in projects related to art in construction and sacred areas have enriched her portfolio and expanded her spatial thinking.
As the world undergoes profound changes, Laner’s future artistic plans remain adaptable, reflecting the uncertainties of the times. She highlights the transformative power of art and the importance of interpreting messages within their temporal context. Schön! travels to the mountains to chat with Laner about her influences, creative process, and the evolving landscape of contemporary art, emphasizing the ever-shifting balance between tradition and innovation.
Can you share your journey from studying at the Academy of Applied Arts Vienna to becoming a freelancer in Campo Tures? What motivated you to pursue art as a career path?
I was aware of my interest in art at an early age, but studying art was only possible later. However, by studying at the Academy of Applied Arts Vienna, my path was clearly set out. Even though it wasn’t always easy to live and work as a freelancer, I was still convinced of it.
Your diploma from the Academy of Applied Arts Vienna was awarded with distinction. Could you tell us about the significance of this achievement and how it has influenced your artistic career?
My diploma thesis was based on the examination of the theme of the absurd in Albert Camus, on his literary existentialism and its relevance in the 21st century. The award was an important confirmation of my work and motivated me to continue on the path I had begun.
Your artistic career has taken you to various places, both in Italy and abroad. How has living and working in different locations impacted your artistic style and perspective?
My work center is the studio in the old school up on the mountainside in Acereto/Ahornach, a remote South Tyrolean mountain village. It is also my retreat and at the same time the starting point for all away activities. Getting out and exploring what’s outside is important for my work and my personal freedom.
Can you highlight some of your most memorable solo exhibitions or participation in art events? What themes or concepts did you explore in these exhibitions?
The most recent exhibition always seems to be the most present, but that changes quickly. Exhibitions that posed a challenge due to the effort involved or a special constellation are remembered more strongly. These include solo exhibitions such as the 2021 Franciscan Monastery San Candido/I, the 2014 Carthusian Monastery Certosa/I or the 2012 KunstMeranoArte/I. In all three, the spatial concepts were complex and the structure was challenging.
Residencies are often transformative experiences for artists. Could you describe some of your residency experiences and how they have shaped your art?
Residencies can sometimes involve transformative experiences. Every stay is shaped by the place itself and the situations are diverse and different. Many factors are important, such as the working situation or working conditions, the environment, support, disposition, landscape, season, length of stay, encounters, etc. One usually comes back differently than one left.
Winning the Walther von der Vogelweide Prize in 2022 is a remarkable accomplishment. What does this recognition mean to you, and how has it affected your work and career?
The awarding of the Walther von der Vogelweide Prize 2022 was significant in that you cannot apply for this prize, but it is awarded to you. This recognition means a great appreciation of my work so far, which makes me very happy and, above all, makes me a little more confident.
You’ve been involved in projects related to art in construction and sacred areas. How do these projects differ from your other artistic endeavours, and what challenges or opportunities do they present?
The projects in the field of art in construction and in the sacred area were and are an important part of my work. The intensive involvement with architecture and space over the years has expanded my spatial thinking, seeing, perception, and refined my sense of situations, vibrations, spatial atmosphere, etc. No work of art functions autonomously, but is in a dialogue with space and surroundings.
Are there specific artists, movements, or philosophies that have influenced your artistic practice and vision?
Sources of inspiration include literature and language. Existential philosophy influenced my thinking and work early on. Poetry also accompanies me. And prehistoric rock drawings as messengers of a distant memory still make something sound in me.
How do you approach the creative process when starting a new project? Are there rituals or methods you follow to find inspiration and translate it into your work?
I have a penchant for cyclical work. While drawing, writing/noting I approach a topic. In drawing I think, reflect and visualize. In this process, signs, drawings, and thoughts often merge almost seamlessly. In the course of this crystallization process, I can also clarify the form, the content and materials for a project or cycle. Rituals are not so important, but the aspect of time is; that time pressure is poison in this phase of development.
Can you tell us about your future artistic plans and projects? What can we expect to see from you in the coming months or years?
Since Covid, i.e. after 2019, there has been a turning point in all socially relevant areas. The consequences and civilizational connections are not yet nearly recognized or foreseeable or do not want to be noticed. The world has become one big precariat. Long and medium-term planning is not possible. I currently only make short-term decisions about exhibitions or projects.
In the world of contemporary art, there is often a dynamic interplay between tradition and innovation. How do you balance these elements in your work?
This dynamic interplay of worlds in contemporary art no longer carries with it any standards, parameters or markers. This may be both a freedom and a curse but sensitive perception, authenticity in action and inner attitude can be essential tools.
Could you share any advice or insights for emerging artists who are looking to build a successful career in the art world?
No, I can’t do that. Today’s extremely accelerated change in all processes, developments and tendencies no longer allows for advice. Maybe in the future, there won’t be any more artists because the world doesn’t need them anymore, who knows…
Art can be a powerful medium for communication. Are there specific messages or emotions you aim to convey through your art, especially in the context of your sacred and construction-related projects?
Art is a powerful medium, of which I am convinced. At the same time, however, it is important to recognize that all messages, whatever their nature, must be considered and interpreted in their own time horizon, i.e. in their temporal context. This applies to historical works as well as to contemporary works.
Learn more about Annemarie Laner by visiting annemarielaner.eu.