Dear visitors of my website,
the New Year has started fulminantly and my last one - despite world-political catastrophic events and despite the death of a beloved person - ended great for me.
For in December I received the extremely gratifying news that I had been awarded the Austrian
STATE GRANT FOR FINE ARTS
I am very proud of it and it enables me to realize things in 2023 that I had planned anyway - including a video work of a live performance I did, a new food supplement, an important submission, drawings, another residency in Canada and, as it were, preparation for a solo exhibition there in 2024 and much more.
Still on view:
Eating and drinking are among the basic human needs, but the common meal has always exceeded the function of mere food intake. Sensuality and pleasure, creating community, representation of social status, ritual actions are just a few aspects associated with the meal. Art has always reacted to our way of eating, depicting, analyzing, abstracting, critically and, of course, ironically, our selected dishes and foods. The exhibition deals with the community-forming aspects of the meal over time and in a wide variety of media - sculpture, graphics, painting, photography and video art: in families, at official occasions, and in the political and religious framework of different cultural contexts.
The exhibition includes work by Marina Abramović, Sonja Alhäuser, Atelier van Lieshout, Abraham von Beyeren, Lois Bielefeld, Pieter de Bloot, Thierry Boutonnier, Götz Bury, Joseph Beuys, Catrin Bolt, Elinor Carucci, Heinz Cibulka, Domenico Cresti gen. Passignano, Josef Danhauser, DesertArtLAB, Martin Dichtl, Albin Egger-Lienz, Christian Eisenberger, Gaetano Gandolfi, Floris Gerritsz van Schooten, Geldorp Gortzius, Robert F. Hammerstiel, honey & bunny, Nelson Jalil, Ulrike Köb, Maria Lassnig, Meister des Friedrichaltars, Maha Malluh, Katharina Mayer, Veronika Merklein, Jan Miense Molenaer, Izumi Miyazaki, Anna Paul, Klaus Pichler, Dieter Roth, Zina Saro-Wiwa, Christoph Daniel Schenck, Astrid Schulz, Gregg Segal, Taryn Simon, Stéphane Soulié, Daniel Spoerri, Jan Steen, Maja Vukoje, Franz West, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Ramiro Wong, as well as historic artists whose names have not been handed down.
Curator: Johanna Schwanberg
Thanks also for the great "product presentation" in the context of the Vienna Art Week in November 2022, where I immediately the arts Education has stepped in as a partner in crime:
Without me, nevertheless a nice and long introduction:
Fat Studies - A Glossar is published in print and online. One of the rare German Fat Studies readers so far. And I am proud and lucky to show two texts of mine in there.
Weight Stigma Conference 2022 in July at the Humboldt University in Belrin with my lecture performance "A fat person goes to the doctor":
PRESS: Interview with Natalie Rosenke, chairwoman of the Society against Weight Discrimination
As always, with warm regards from the
Your Veronika Merklein
Pickle Bar / Wiener Festwochen
The performance Garden Eden is a queer fat version of Adam and Eve. Veronika Merklein and E. A. Sattler will let the viewer take part in an interlude between the toxic relationship of the
performers and the never-ending story of eating Eden’s apples. The fall of man is not only the realization of being able to distinguish between good and evil, it also brings with it, as it were,
the longing and the mourning for the lost paradise in which everything functions in unison.
Veronika Merklein and E. A. Sattler's Garden Eden does not find a solution or redemption; rather, the silent performance, punctuated by impulsivity, persists in the wafting, in the inexpressible, and in a lynch-like continuous loop.
galerie michaela stock says goodbye to the gallery location in Schleifmühlgasse 18 with the closing exhibit
WHATEVER U DO – I LOVE IT
22.6 – 2.7.22
with all artists & friends of the gallery:
Patrick Baumüller, Bildstein | Glatz, Ivica Capan, Ingrid Cogne, Vlasta Delimar, Sandro Đukić, Laura Fitzgerald, Andrea Fajgerné Dudás, Margarita Figueredo, Tomislav Gotovac, Natalie Gurova, Eva Kern, Hans Kotter, Siniša Labrović, Evelyn Loschy, Marko Marković, Vlado Martek, Veronika Merklein, Giovanni Morbin, Michael Nitsche, Lilo Nein, Sabine Ott, Marlene Rodrigues, Heidi Popovic, Denise Schellmann, Elisabeth Schimana, Christiane Spatt, Viktors Svikis, Lukas Troberg, Slaven Tolj, Alexander Viscio, Marko Zink
FINALE / LAST DAYS 30.6. - 2.7.
Concert: STEFAN GEISSLER + BAND (sg+b), Performance: Andrea Fajgerné Dudás / Giovanni Morbin, DJ Set: Klub Renate, Hotel Butterfly
With my gallery michaela stock I showed at the SPARK-Fair in Vienna (AT) with the exhibition THE FATTER THE BETTER. in March 2022. Just some impression and an interview with me.
from the exhibition series SALON REAL / VIRTUAL
with Patrick Baumüller, Kati Bruder, Ingrid Cogne, Sandro Đukić, Marko Marković, Veronika Merklein, Christiane Spatt, Viktors Svikis, Slaven Tolj, Marko Zink
12.11.2021 - 08.01.2022
OPENING: Friday, 12th of November, 6 - 10pm
michaela stock gallery, Schleifmühlgasse 18, 1040 ViennaVirtual gallery: https://artspaces.kunstmatrix.com/en/exhibition/8330061/salon-real-virtual-11-a-ni-mal-ni-festo
The animal has always been a companion and servant of human beings, and equally an object in the visual arts. The new exhibition A NI MAL NI FESTO from the series SALON REAL/VIRTUAL at michaela stock gallery shows different strategies of visualization. Thereby the 'overlooked' or the 'other' animal is made visible and it does not deal with the anthropomorphization of animals or zoomorphization of humans as usual.
Finally the print version arrived in Austria. I was honored to write a text about the American artist Cindy Baker: C.N. Baker in Absentia
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.
My exhibition DER WUNDE PUNKT in Salon Real / Virtual in the Galerie Galerie Michaela Stock, Vienna (AT) ended in March 2021, but the virtual exhibition can be viewed until further notice.
The fifth exhibition series of Salon Real / Virtual shows works of the young performance artist Veronika Merklein. In the solo exhibition designed for the real and virtual gallery under the title The Sore Point, the artist focuses on silent pain and quietly scratching on the bottom of nightmarish life events, depressing emotional intensity and mute conversations with one another. Veronika Merklein’s work is always personal, but not necessarily autobiographical. Using imagery and poetic language, the artist shows a sober understanding of a situation that cannot be changed. Her strategy is to capture unspeakable personal, social and political problems in ways ranging from humorous to painful, and to make them visible and speak for those people who are incapable of doing so at this moment. These works initiate a sequence of return (recollection), liberation (imagination) and reinvention (storytelling).
Talking with Anna Mendelsohn, performer and psychotherapist in training under supervision: Speaking about the unspeakable:
Talking with Bernadette Anzengruber, artist about The porous body in virtual space:
Thanks to Claudia Aigner and Wiener Zeitung for the inderful article Die Psyche ist ein David-Lynch-Film.
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:
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."
This time I write about the fat fashion. You can read the whole article in English here.
"This dress would look great on you”, the saleswoman of a small oversized women's store in Vienna exults in our direction while pulling ultramarine from the clothes rack. Before we can express our embarrassment, the door jingles and two other customers enter the shop. While I disappear between panels of fabric, one of the two is dressed: a floor-length skirt, a flowing tunic and a floppy hat in a white and pink combination. In short: the woman looked as shitty as she felt. Although my friend tried to intervene using Morse code, we left the shop with the pale aftertaste that this woman, who, judging by the conversations, had desperately gone through many shops, bought the outfit in question, and subsequently saw photos of the approaching celebration would hate herself. "
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
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.
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.
Here is a small impression of my performance FATLife at the Every Body In-Festival in the Reaktor in Vienna (AT):
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.
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?
Fotostudio Großkopf & Rozenberg
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
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.
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.
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:
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
Mezipatra, Queer Film Festival Prague, 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
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'. (...)"
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):
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.
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."
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."
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
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.
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
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
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: