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Lunch break with artists Elisa Breyer and Janka Zöller

Tuesday April 25th, 2023, 12noon–3pm

"I see my role as an artist as not only to depict the times we live in, but also to question and reflect them. For me, my greatest inspiration is the insight into the shaped living space of others. Simple things like gold bracelets on a wrist, a reach for a glass of water, a sentence about a particular subject, or poetic thoughts put into words. I have a voyeuristic streak. I am curious about everything that can create identity, for example facial expressions and gestures. I see myself as a neutral observer who captures the seemingly banal. I often find myself looking for the portrait beyond the individual. A room can tell so much, even when the person is not present. A reading list, notes someone has written, or what is chosen from the menu in a restaurant. I'm interested in the overall impact of a person, not in a capitalistic way. It&aposs about something holistic that includes thought and imagination. And the story behind it. I talk a lot about things that seem superficial, but they&aposre not. The way you dress can say a lot about you and your environment, and so can the words you use in your language. For me, painting figuratively in oil means picking up moments from everyday life that catch my eye and appeal to me, exploring them, holding on to them, and raising them to a higher level through long elaboration. What may appear to other eyes like an irrelevant fragment, becomes something special for the viewer through the artistic translation process. Even though I paint figurativ, I do not paint what I see, but what I feel."

Janka Zöller's paintings sometimes show everyday scenes of people including themselves. All-too-familiar motifs of friends on vacation, a glass of wine on mild evenings, on the beach or pool in a deckchair, while talking, sunbathing, going for a walk or just lounging.
Some of the scenes are very intimate, be it because of the interaction of pe
But the view is not voyeuristic.
At first glance, the scenes seem very casual - like a spontaneous snapshot with a camera or mobile phone. The mobile phone itself sometimes appears implicitly or explicitly in the picture: it peeks out of pockets, is held in the hand or casts shadows when the protagonists supposedly take a selfie.
We know the staging of the random, the spontaneous and casual from selfies on Instagram or other new, digital media and platforms. It leads to the creation of a new, collective, digital canon of images that one follows - whether intentionally or unconsciously - especially in one's own self-portrayal. We create our own new visual reality every day. In her painting, Zöller thus draws attention to the photographic construct. She focuses on how staged our everyday world is and creates a painterly rendering of our digital imagery.
In its approach, it looks like genre painting, but translated in an absolutely contemporary way into the 21st century and its canon of images shaped by social media.
The ephemeral in oil on wood or canvas appears as a clever (supposed) contradiction between the motif and the chosen technique. This creates tension and motivates the viewer to look at himself or to stimulate him to think about it. So she explores the question of the representation of reality and, in her painting and her subjects, investigates social processes of production and consumption of images. At the same time, however, Zöller succeeds in preserving the “aura” of the work of art, the loss of which Walter Benjamin lamented or at least saw in danger in “The work of art in the age of its technical reproducibility” through new media such as photography.

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