We are three young, creative individuals, all originally from artistic backgrounds. Sophie Gföhler, born in Vienna and raised in Oxford, England, is a fine art student who’s studied at Chelsea College University of Arts in London and at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. Anna Mautner Markhof studied design at the New Design College of Lower Austria, received a Masters degree in photography at the University of Arts in London, and now works internationally as a freelance photographer. As artists, both Sophie and Anna aspire to shape Locomot into an international platform that allows young and rising contemporary artists to showcase their work alongside established names. The latest addition to the Locomot family, Maria-Anna Goess, studied Art History at Columbia University and worked in New York at the Neue Galerie and Lofty.com, an up-and-coming art e-commerce platform. Working between the museum world and the art startup scene, Maria-Anna discovered a passion for the business of contemporary art that makes her a perfect addition to the Locomot team.
What do you do?
Locomot is a contemporary art and culture agency based in Vienna, Austria. We derived the name Locomot from „Locomote“: to move from one place to another. It is really geographic movement that defines the Locomot concept. We stage each show in a different exhibition space, moving away from the stagnant character of the conventional gallery. As a result we’re constantly renewing our perspective and innovating based on the needs of our immediate environments.
When did you decide to become Locomot?
Though from disperate artistic and educational backgrounds, the three of us reconnected with our roots in Vienna and discovered the city’s potential as a creative platform. We decided to found Locomot as a vehicle to help the local art scene develop and grow beyond Austrian borders.
Your style in 3 words?
Anna: A for Artists / Sophie: S for Selective / Maria-Anna: M for Movement
Your weakness? Your strength?
Estrogen overload. Estrogen overload.
What makes you different?
Constant movement from venue to venue, concept to concept, forces Locomot to continuously reinvent itself. By staging each show as a short pop-up event in a new venue we can cycle through relatively bold concepts, each inspired by the demands of a new space. Motion and change, the two principles at the heart of the Locomot idea, fuel a creative process that we think is unusually rich. There is never merely one standard that we apply to our work; Locomot is an ongoing project within itself.
What do you find most fascinating about the creative process?
We strive to find and connect a combination of individuals acrossthe contemporary cultural and creative sphere. By „cultural sphere“ we mean a broad pool of artistic expression, from the fine artspace, the worldof theatre and dance,andthe music scene. We aspire to make Locomot a communal platform for this range ofcultural and creative industries, bringing together adiversity of artistic expression.
A few words about your favourite ‘creation’?
So far we’ve done exhibition featuring contemporary artists from Austria as well as from abroad. The underliying aimof theshowwas to introduce the idea of us, as Locomot, being a mobile exhibition space and art agency. As such, we chose “movement” as our organizing concept. Eleven artists explored the topic from diverse angles and across multiple media –painting, photography as well installation art. Each of the pieces grappled in some way with “movement” as an artistic subject, and the wide-ranging combination of works and forms in itself reflected the idea of change and motion that’s so important to the Locomot vision. We’re not yet ready to settle on any end product as a “favourite creation.” Instead, we’re focusing on the creative process itself. We see the positive feedback of our first project as a major motivational kick-off for many creative endeavors to come.
What inspires you?
Sophie: “ How does one answer this without falling into any cliche-traps? Well, for me it’s not necessarily a specific person that inspires me or gives me ideas, but much more my immediate surroundings. The things I intereact with …“
Maria-Anna: „ Yes, I would agree with Sophie. It’s not necessarily one person or one specific source that inspires us, but rather all kinds of stimulation, such as reading a book, or walking down the street looking at a banner, or even listening to music. But obviouslyI find other people’s art very inspiringas well. One of my favorite things is walking around museums and really losing myself in the art I see. “
Anna: „Wellfor me as a photographer, I see compositions as a whole and do pay a lot of attention to detail. I think my vision has really been trained to separate and zoom in on scenes that I come across. I could really find anything and everything inspiring. I often even catch myself subconsciously taking snapshots in my mind.“
Sophie: „I think we all agree, that we’re very sensitive to what the people around us are looking for. All three of us are quite perceptive of the cultural and artistic changes of the Zeitgeist we live in.“
Maria-Anna: „Yes, and all of that feeds into our creative process.“
Do you have a vision?
To whip it.
Anything disturbing your vision?
At the moment the three of us have the time to really focus on Locomot and each and every new project coming our way. Luckily, there is really nothing distracting us.
Where are you going?
Locomot is still in its early stages. If we were to compare Locomot to a body, we’re only just fitting together its skeleton. We believe the concept will grow into a complex, multifaceted persona. So far Locomot has potential to touch on quite a few areas in the art-world. Within the Locomot frame we are planning to develop three separate arms: Locomot Gallery, Locomot Events and Locomot Art Institute. Though different in their main concepts they all feed into one another. We see Locomot as a complex construct, both developing and supporting the Contemporary art & culture scene in Austria and beyond.
A new project coming up?
We have two solo exhibitions coming up this fall, an intimate retrospective for Andreas Orsini-Rosenberg at a pop-up space in Berlin on September 4th, and a second exhibition, “Paradise Lost,” featuring one of our permanent artists, Hatchebsut Huss at Seilerstaette 7 in Vienna. We are also currently working ona large group exhibition coming up at the end of the year. Stay tuned.
Your favourite spots in Vienna?
Kleines Cafe, Franziskaner Platz / Spiegelgasse 8, Jewelry Shop / Buchhandlung Museums Quartier, Bookstore