Alice von Alten
Who are you? What do you do?
I am an artist, I photograph, draw and make installations. I have a background in landscape architecture – my interests evolved from this. I try to observe and investigate planning and design in landscapes and architecture and question the side effects and symptoms of the built horizon. My approach is to challange human behaviour in space, the use of typical architectural elements, to which we are subjected, such as walls, doors and the boarders we face, or think we do as well as our request for nature.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Germany and Austria, I live in Vienna.
Your style in 3 words?
Minimal, elegant, strong.
Your weakness? Your strength?
Restless / Enthusiastic
What makes you different?
I try to work interdisciplinarily and always keep my eyes open for new approaches and techniques. I think I earned a lot of strength and skills through working as a landscape architect for a while, which I try to involve in my artistic practice.
When did you decide to become an artist?
After graduating from the University of applied arts Vienna I worked as a landscape architect in Berlin but found out pretty quickly that my emphasis is mainly on art, where I can work more freely and autonomously. Still the topic follows my work, but of course with a different approach.
What do you find most fascinating about your work?
I love to observe and discover cities and their architecture. I walk a lot and try to capture impressive images, geometrical compositions as well as ephemeral light spectacles to later process them to abstract photographic collages and drawings. Also testing different materials I find fascinating, I love materials from construction sites: wood, hardboards, stone, pink and blue styrodur insulation… as well as natural materials.
My current project is dealing with shells, that I am collecting at the river Rhein and Rheindelta in Vorarberg to integrate them into an installation – in Feldkrich, the 3rd and 4th of August, Gymasiumgasse 2. The river Rhein is the boarder Austria / Switzerland. These shells made their way from Asia via Amerika to Europe and embody contemporary lifestyles as well as childhood desires. This is what fascinates me a lot, the cultural manifestation of memories and ideas in things.
I am referring to Gilles Clement, who is one of the participating artist at Manifesta 12 in Palermo. Here is a quote:
„Der heutige Garten kann sich nicht an die traditionelle Einfriedung halten, er verpflichtet die Nachbarschaft zum Teilen. Die Insekten, Vögel, der Sauerstoff und das Wasser kennen nur einen Raum: die Oberfläche der Erde und die Ausdehnung der Biosphäre; sie überwinden die institutionellen Schranken. Im planetarischen Garten ist jeder Zaun eine Illusion und zeigt eine veraltete Sichtweise der Herrschaft über das Lebendige.“ (Gilles Clement in Gärten, Landschaft und das Genie der Natur, Berlin 2015, S. 23)
What I like too is watching at sketches, scribbles or texts after some time and realizing things that were not so clear in the moment I made them, the meanings and the decisions I took then.
A few words about your favourite creation?
My favourite work is A Collection of Transitional, for which I took imprints from thresholds in Amsterdam, when I was living and studying there. I was walking in the neighbourhood and asked different people at houses, schools,… to let me capture their thresholds. I used the material alginate, I love the blue colour and the way it dries and deforms. The work was shown in a group exhibition in Castrum Peregrini in Amsterdam, Herengracht back in 2015. It is a special place, because Jewish artists where hiding there during the Second World War. A door, an entrance, a threshold is very significant, as it separates the inside from the outside and evokes tension but also a desire for the opposite side.
Someone else’s work that inspired or inspires you…
Rachel Whiteread, Günther Förg, Gilles Clement
A new project coming up or an idea you want to work on?
I would like to work and experiment more with colour in installations and photographs. I also started to work with concrete and canvas and I am developing a new work outside in the landscape.
Finish the sentence „More important than my career is…“
… my boyfriend`s career.
2018: Where are we going?
My father and my friend said 2000 is growing up.
When the going gets tough…
I escape the city to the slower countryside in Burgenland, Austria or Lower Saxony, Germany.
Your city’s favourite spots?
A few out of my endless list of favourite cafés/bars in Vienna: Café Korb, Kleines Café, Café Prückel, Wunderbar, Loos Bar, Schwarzes Kameel, Café am Heumarkt,… the restaurant Skopik und Lohn, Salzamt, the museum 21er Haus, the galleries in Schleifmühlgasse and their simultaneous openings, the botanical garden, where I also did an installation once (Straining Field), the bookshop Walther König in MQ.s
Do you have a vision?
I have dreams.
Tell us about your future plans…
I am excited to be back in Vienna after living in Berlin for 1.5 years. Everything is going in a very good direction, I have a beautiful studio at Studio das weisse Haus and things and connections are developing quite well, it´s a refreshing time for me, I hope things will go on like this.
Last but not least: what is your favourite Song?
It changes constantly, because I always listen to my favourite song so often until I can’t hear it any more. At the moment, it’s Diana Ross with I am coming out – so good to dance to. But I can already feel that fading …