Austrian artist Ingeborg Strobl was known for her conceptual art that combined many mediums, including photography, collage, and objects, to create works that explored themes of social change and transition. Ingeborg was interested in the marginal and repressed, with her work also featuring a humorous rejection of consumerism. One example of this is her Wunderkammer, which presented unassuming, but sentimental items in the place of objects with a high monetary value, or her work in the 1980s and 1990s that used self-reflexive text, which sang the praises of the artwork it belong to in a parody of the commercial art market.
Ingeborg’s earliest works were a selection of colour and crayon drawings, and ceramics, which she made as a student. These works were characterised by their surreal illusionism and featured animal motifs, which continued through into her later work. The fragmented and geometric representation of organic matter in these works signalled a rebellion against the association of technology with progress that was common in the 1970s, instead highlighting the waste of natural resources. These works helped build a foundation of images and text that would feature in collages throughout her later work, allowing Ingeborg to create works that combined private experiences with contemporary histories.
On a journey through former Eastern Bloc countries, Africa, and Asia, Ingeborg took pictures showing moments of social upheaval and transition. Moving away from traditional tourist spots, Ingeborg built on urban motifs of economic change. Her work in Eastern Europe, in particular, focused on the physical remnants of a Communist regime that has since been buried under a new capitalist society or overtaken by nature. Many of these images explore ideas of death and decay, with graveyards being one reoccurring motif in this work.
Ingeborg donated numerous works and her personal archives to mumok, Vienna. Many of these works are on display in their ‘Having Lived – Ingeborg Strobl’ exhibition, which runs until 14th February 2021.
mumok is currently closed, many images are available to see on their site.
By Melissa Spreadborough