Dear visitors of my website,

 

In October and November 2020 I gave a lecture on FAT ART in front of the German DFG research network "Fat Studies - Doing, Becoming and Being Fat"  and as tudio talk to the Fabrikanten (AT). Both talks can be viewed here. Yet, only in German:

 

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DER WUNDE PUNKT (THE SORE SPOT)

Solo exhibition of the series Salon Real / Virtual

Gallery Michaela Stock

13.02.2021 - 18.03.2021, opening. 13.02.2020

 

"The beautiful and brutal inner life of people", Merklein calls everyday life, the cracks in the soul and communication difficulties between each other, which inevitably meet and happen to every person. Merklein digs and digs deeply and is sure to find the sore spots. Her works are always personal, but not necessarily autobiographical. The (written) language is pictorial and poetic, using the tool of narration to sharpen or emphasize. In her translations she finds a language that ranges from humorous to painful.

 

In her solo exhibition Der wunde Punkt (The Sore Spot), Merklein brings together new and never shown works and archive material from the past 12 years (2009-2021) in an idiosyncratic compilation. All works deal somewhat on the intersection between image and text."

 

 

The gallery owner Michaela Stock juxtaposes the classic white cube with the concept of the gallery as a forum for discussions about a virtually staged exhibition and at the same time questions it. The focus will be on a new perception of the exhibition space and the artworks displayed. Fireside chats with experts from various disciplines complete the virtual exhibition.

 

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I was honored to write a text about the American artist Cindy Baker.

C.N. Baker in Absentia (Published in the beginning of 2021)

 

 

I remain an onlooker of the play C.N. Baker in absentia in a digital sphere where we are forced to squeeze ourselves into length times width. We long for ways of getting to know each other,  being close to each other, making the other less of an other. Digitally imitating someone else‘s behavior is a somewhat abstract cannibalistic act, pairing zeros and ones in the right order. I remain a helpless mammal. Ultimately, everything depends on touch.

 

Catalyst Book Series. Ted Hiebert, ed. - With contributions by Théo Bignon, Richard Boulet, Blair Brennan, Aaron McIntosh, Mary-Anne McTrowe, Veronika Merklein, Mikiki, Christine Negus, Shanell Papp, Kristin Rodier, Zoë Schneider, and Stefanie Snider. Catalyst Book Series Volume 05.

 

A mattress, conceived as a place to crash, together. A hot tub, imagined as a site to encounter the end of the world. In times of networked connectivity what's perhaps more radical than embracing virtuality is to think about the stakes of the body, community, and personal encounter. These are themes engaged by the work of performance artist Cindy Baker, whose projects speculate on the forms of intimacy and interaction that art is capable of generating. In Baker's words, her art uses the medium of "context" in order to explore questions of community engagement and social inquiry. Brought together by Baker as catalyst, the contributors to this volume share a spirit of creative community and the belief in context as an important element of transformative social practice.

 

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This time I write about the gentrification about my house I am about to move out in the latest output of the Austrian magazine "Bildpunkt". Read "Don't beautify where you live":

 

"Slowly but surely those are moving out whose contracts are not being extended. In between there are now AirBnB oases. Case up and case down. In door number 15 lives a couple with bonbon-eating dog, ciggy in the mouth and beer in the hand. Wrinkles run through their faces like a beautiful drawing. And now and then door number 18 gills fish in the backyard. In spring, the overwintered cellar plants, which have been in need of new soil for years, see the daylight and are neatly and lovingly placed side by side on the knee-high backyard wall. The small green area in that concrete backyard is decorated according to the seasons. In the middle is the regulars' table of door number 1. A parasol bores through the middle of the table and is held in concrete by a supermarket's bucket all year round. The armchairs are ajar and have names. When the days get warmer again and those men take a seat every evening and greet me like a distant family member while I dispose the household's waste. Years of nodding at each other shows the approval of a functioning community - from young to old, poor and middle-class, nationalities, cultures and religions stacked on top of each other in the ease of a tetris game."

 

 

As always, with warm regards from the ether,
Your Veronika Merklein

 

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You can expect more in spring / summer 2021! Together with my partner-in-crime Barbara Ungepflegt and guests, we are going to make the Viennese "Beserlparks" unsafe with our project Circus Salto Morale:

 

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REVIEW

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In March I was able to present my work "Sitting in the closet" in the exhibition Deep States in the Nun Island's Theatre in Galway (IE) from March-August 2020.

 

Deep States is an exhibition based around ideas of complex states of freedom and responsibility. This exhibition will explore how these states are articulated and understood; how they inform social norms, and how this impacts on the personality and character of both the individual and on society.

 


Realising the unconscious as well as the conscious is a battlefield for dominance, can overwhelm: get your rival fighting on at least two fronts is the cornerstone of military strategy. In this exhibition, the central enquiry centres on states within both the individual and the collective, engaged in a struggle for dominance and primacy. Whatever triumphs, the exercise of power - regulated, observed or controlled - is deeply complex, often contradictory, often unknown. The battle, however, never ends, the struggle begins again. This is the human experience.

 

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The NO PITY! (to be seen in Galerie Michaela Stock until the beginning of June 2020) shows NO MERCY and illuminates works of art by artists who have set themselves the task of reflecting on the current time. Following two exhibition tour videos. In the second part there is also a statement from me at the very end.

 

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Here is a small impression of my performance FATLife at the Every Body In-Festival in the Reaktor in Vienna (AT):

 

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My performance Equilibrium, which I showed in my gallery Michaela Stock in September 2019, can be seen in parts in the following video.

 

The project EMBODIMENT brings young Irish artists of the Fire Station Artists' Studios to Vienna in collaboration with Austrian artists. The exhibition highlights an inter-cultural dialogue. The central enquiry of the exhibition is around being in the world, and the different ways people inhabit space both conceptual and temporal, manifesting cultural differences and similarities. Ideas explored include how contemporary art explores the shifting of what might be stable ideas for nationality, for gender and how history and experience makes meaning fluid.

 

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Photo: Barbis Ruder
Photo: Barbis Ruder

 

On November, 22nd 2019 I was part of the performative exhibition Fotostudio Großkopf & Rozenberg by Lisa Großkopf and Shiri Rozenberg (who is artist in residence at the moment) as part of the Vienna Art Week. During the whole show you are able to have free photo shoots with the artists.

 

HOW TO QUEER A PHOTO STUDIO?
Friday, 22/11/2019

Fotostudio Großkopf & Rozenberg

project room philomena+

Heinestraße 40, 1020 Wien


5 pm Performative Intervention by guest artist Veronika Merklein
6 pm Talk Ruby Sircar in conversation with Lisa Großkopf, Veronika Merklein and Shiri Rozenberg

 

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I once again wrote something for the current Austrian magazine "Bildpunkt". This time it is about Fat Suits. To read the whole text, please click on the photo (only in German).

 

The appropriation of a feature on the one hand usually goes hand in hand with the trauma on the other side - spiraling into discomfort and ultimately leads to incomprehension on both sides. In fact, I believe that appropriation in the most common cases is not intentionally bad meant or it is maybe misunderstood. I do understand that the criticism pushes into a defensive in which one is forced to an understanding that one does not fully understand. But whoever experiences trauma (again), in this case by the ridiculously leading occupation of a physical feature, is not on the defensive side. One wanders through the Hades and bites unerringly and firmly, in order to occupy the space again which is constantly dismissed by the other as Fata Morgana.

 

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Following you are able to read a text of mine on the blogazine Curvect, in which I explain why high fashion fashion is not available in large sizes and what to do with hegemony, trauma and money.

 

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In November I spoke on a podium of the women's business network Sorority together with the documentary filmmaker Jennifer Rezny and 40 other impressive women about body norms in Vienna (AT).

 

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The queer-feminist documentary RIOT NOT DIET by Julia Fuhr Mann celebrated its preview on February 2nd, 2018 at the University of Television and Film in Munich (D). Prizes and nominations:

 

German Newspaper "Süddeutsche Zeitung", 08.-14.11.2018
German Newspaper "Süddeutsche Zeitung", 08.-14.11.2018

 

DOK.fest München, 2018 - Nominated in the category Student Award

XPOSED Queer Film Festival Berlin, 2018 - Prize in the category Best German Short Film

Edinburgh International Film Festival, 2018

China Women's Film Festival, 2018

Lesbisch Schwule Filmtage, 2018

Pink Panorama Luzern, 2018

Queer Film Festival Luxemburg, 2018

Pride House Glasgow, 2018

Grrl Haus Cinema, 2018

Festival Internacional de Cine de Morelia, 2018

Bimovie, 2018

Mezipatra, Queer Film Festival Prague, 2018

Fringe!, 2018

Furora Film Festival, 2018

Kuir Fest, 2019

FIPADOC, 2019 - Nominated in the catagory New Talents

Elles Tournent, 2019

Rature Film Festival, 2019

Kinothek Asta Nielsen, 2019

Corvallis Queer Film Festival, 2019

Berlin Feminist Film Week, 2019

Internationale Kurzfilmwoche Regensburg, 2019

20min|max Kurzfilmfestival Ingolstadt, 2019

Athens International Film and Video Festival, 2019

Kyiv International Short Film Festival, 2019

Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, 2019

Dyke Drama Film Festival, 2019

 

Premiere of "Riot Not Diet" on 2.2.2018 at the University for Television and Film Munich, Director: Julia Fuhr Mann, Photos: Angela Trakas
Premiere of "Riot Not Diet" on 2.2.2018 at the University for Television and Film Munich, Director: Julia Fuhr Mann, Photos: Angela Trakas

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In a recent issue of the magazine Austrian BILDPUNKT, is again a  text by me on the topic "Criticism & Crisis". A small section as followed:

 

"If we can not stop, at least we want to rest. Life is just not zero or one. I myself watch dooomed to die flowers in vases. To circumcise them, to give them water, to arrange them and at it's best watch them flourish or just dying, that somehow makes me happy. Somehow we as human-beings are similar, only with more complex feelings. We are not afraid of dying but of mortality, we are not afraid about age, but about aging. From the age of 30 we nod benevolently, if we are considered younger. At the same time, mankind has never been older during its development than today. Around to escape withering, we exploit our exhausted bodies, the only territories that we can still control. (...)

You can say a lot, but understand nothing and instead of constantly contradicting each other,
maybe we should listen to each other. We still can understand even when we do not agree with
another. I have the quiet hope that we can come along in a heterogeneous society, because it is a matter of fact that we are neither immortal nor fully protected how much as we try."

 

 

Excerpt of the German article in English:

 

"Luckily, I was forced to spend the night next to Simon: Simon, who from our first meeting I only remembered as a snotty constantly active PR employee of an Austrian party. When he talked to me about my artistic activities, I reacted as always towards "unlikeables" with "body politics". To my surprise, my lean side-seater responded with interest. We continued the conversation and I got to know a secret from Simon which in medical terms is described as "morbidly adipose". Simon, otherwise privileged on most levels, was fat as a youngster. In the course of the conversation I learned that it was only when he starved himself to the state of fainting that he was suddenly been invited to parties and allowed to participate in social life. Simon has been able to renounce his social stigma as an archetypically good "Fatty". He paid his tribute and climbed the olymp of the "Alwaysslim". In contrast to the many "Bad Fatties" like me, who are outted herself as fat and alternatively do not die early enough as it is wittily sketched by Stacy Bias in '12 Archetypes of Good Fatties'. (...)"

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Finally, the first German-language Fat Studies Reader (published by Lotte Rose and Friedrich Schorb) has been published and my work is represented in there. Big thanks to Kristina Kulicova and her self-titled article "Fette Kunst" (Fat Art):

 

Extracts from the article "Fette Kunst":

"Merklein's fat perspective is not just limited to the Fat Pig exhibition. Through her artistic work a central theme is the attempt to redefine the fat identity. As a fat person and through her works, she talks about her own experiences as well as about structural oppression of fat people (...) Her performances combine sensuality with politics, often with the help of humor and irony, they reveal struggles of people who have become victims of entrepreneurial, political and medical interventions because of their physical appearance. (...)

Unfortunately, too many, even art scientists, still claim that "Being Fat" is a purely individual and perceptional problem and accuse those artists of self-referentiality who use their own fat body as an artistic medium. This privatization of a social problem contributes to social inequality and marginalization of fat people. (...) Fat art is there to open the eyes to those who read fat bodies only as they were brought to them. And it is there to fill the hearts. It is a compensation for the lack of representation. It is a declaration of love, a protest, a call for mobilization and a therapy. It is personal and political, and it is fearless."

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Bildraum Bodensee, Bregenz (AT), 23.2. - 3.4.2018

The interaction and the emotional exchange between artists, artwork and beholders form a focus of artistic research. In a society shaped by distance, emotions are often pushed into privacy. In the Bildraum Bodensee six international artists deal with the phenomenon of emotionality in drawings, photographs, sculptures, videos and performances. Evelyn Loschy (AT), Marko Marković (HR), Veronika Merklein (DE), Sofie Muller (BE), Viktors Svikis (LV) and Marko Zink (AT) thematise taboo subjects such as fear, anger, grief, shame but also joy. Divergent positions on trauma, sexualisation, as well as sarcasm and humour, are the focus of Emotional Journey.

 

PRESS

 

 

NEUE - Vorarlberger Zeitung - Austrian newspaper

March 2018

Author: Lisa Kammann

 

"Performance. In the hallway, as soon as you enter the Kunstraum Bregenz, it's about a serious topic: The German artist Veronika Merklein deals with the subject of sexual abuse in the performance documentary "Ich did not say anything" in the form of a comic-like photo story. Further works by Merklein, whose central material is her own body, have a humorous aspect. In the performance "Die Hard", the stout artist - inspired by the action film with Bruce Willis - stages herself as a heroic action figure. The photograph "The Harder" shows her, lying on the ground, with a bullet wound on her stomach. From the wound, however, do not swell guts, but chips, the blood is ketchup."

 

Vorarlberger Nachrichten - Austrian newspaper

March 2018

Author: Veronika Fehle

 

"Veronika Merklein from Germany is also in the same vein. Her body is her medium and canvas at the same time. She deals with consumer behavior, garnished with her femininity, revealing restrictive role models and crushing power structures. She converts that e.g. by strapping on oversized breasts made of paper mache, in order to distribute cream to the unsuspecting passers-by of German inner cities. But she also does that by becoming a woman in the role of male action heroes."

 

 

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Our trailer of our performance lecture dance kind-of-thing in three parts "The Inefficient Body - Anti-Capitalist Strategy, a Conference" of November 2016 is ready to watch. Enjoy!

 

 

 

With stoic presence and careless pride Veronika Merklein embodies in rigorous movements the apparent aimlessness. In her solitary and decapitating contribution she aborts meanings, creates debts and gaps, and indulges herself and the audiences in the zones of discomfort while disregarding any desire for a profitable encounter. She devalues size and weight with lightness of her own and successfully markets anxiety as the next thing to disconnect from your inner self." 

 

Text: Milan Loviška 

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Photo: Monika Sobczak
Photo: Monika Sobczak

I am overjoyed about the PAS - Performance Art Studies as my first teaching experience in the gallery Stock here in Vienna, including my lecture "I am not a Performance Artist" which provoked a lot of discussion. I thank Johannes, Monika, Matthias, Michael, Burcak, Amelia, Carmen, Antje, Felipe, Zarko, Roberta, Elisa and last but not least thanks a lot to Michaela Stock for the wonderful Dopust - Days of Open Performance - Festival. What's more, I am more than happy that I will be a guest at the PAS #49 I neighboorhood in Bratislava in September 2016, too.

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My documentary video "Life-Long Weight Gaining" was selected and shown by Virgie Tovar end of June 2016 with four other wonderful films at the film screening

Lose Hate Not Weight: Fat Positive Short Films.

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With my grandiose fellow activists Bobby Be (Austrian plus-size platform CURVECT) and "Venus-in-echt"-author Rhea Rhea Krcmárová we have launched CurVienna in 2016 and on April 24th we had our first major plus-size fashion event realized. We are very proud that we were announced widely by Austrian media:

Our documentation incl. download file is now on our website. Here you find find the interview with Bobby and me at the Austrian radio station FM4: https://soundcloud.com/veronika-merklein/curvienna-fm4mp3

We are also nominated for a prize. You can vote for us soon. Stay tuned!

Also Virgie Tovar who was speaker at our CurVienna talk, has written down her impressions in Take The Cake: Fat Babes In Vienna

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What's more, my performance "erdbeermilch" is part of the "Hotel Obscura"- documentary (18min, director: Anatol Bogendorfer, curated by Die Fabrikanten) which was shown at the Crossing Europe-Festival in Linz (AT) in April, 2016: