Brigitte Kowanz

“Leaving the picture”, which played such an important role in the second half of the 20th century, prompted the pictorial space to be extended by light. The works of Brigitte Kowanz meant that Austria also contributed autonomously to this international trend. She extended the two paradigms of the pictorial concept – “colour is light” (Van Gogh) and “light is colour” (Moholy-Nagy) – not only using real electric light but also using words alongside colour and light. Her light works are colour and word works, continuing the trend begun by the Vienna Circle, which analysed and criticised language and was Austria’s main contribution to 20th century philosophy. She uses light to create not as a pictorial continuum but also as literature. She doesn’t just use light to expand the picture into the space; she also uses words to expand thinking space, using mirrors and poetic techniques to develop self-referential systems. Her light objects and light

installations go beyond an attractive aesthetic effect. Her conceptual and analytical methodology investigates the mechanisms of codes such as language and writing. Deconstructing, multiplying and separating them, she analyses the play of language as a cultural and social game. Her neon characters reflect the complexity of communication. Kowanz also designs three-dimensional spaces with light, mainly using white rather than coloured light, or uses glass and mirrors to create virtual light spaces. By linking light and virtual spaces, words and images, she is able to make permeable the borders between the real and the virtual, the exterior and the interior, the open and the closed. With her works, she has created a new relationship between painting and architecture, between light and architecture.