Born 1954 in Vienna, Austria. Lives in Berlin and Vienna.
1. Untitled 1 (cloth store), 2013
2. Untitled 2 (carpets), 2014
3. Untitled 3, 2014
Johanna Kandl studied painting in Vienna and Belgrade. Although text and image seems to be mutually exclusive in her work, they contradict each other in ways that are both critical and sardonic. She evokes the ‘blessings’ of the neo-liberal world in slogans, and marks their hollowness and mendacity in sketchily painted scenes that depict situations and people located at the economic and cultural margins of society: beggars, black marketeers, petty traders, the denizens of spoil heaps and scrap yards. The constellations of pictures and texts she contrives throughout her work purposefully employ superficiality as part of their critical language. ‘Everyone is a potential winner’ seems to be the message of one scene although it is located between a black market and a refugee camp where such ‘potential’ is neither a possibility nor an option. Her critique is based neither on exaggeration nor hyperbole but frames, rather, the everyday lives of many people between the twin poles of rhetoric and reality, ideology and raw experience. Kandl’s paintings are full of what Michel Foucault once described as ‘infamous’ people: those submerged by the everyday, whose lives remain undocumented, unremarked upon, until suddenly they are ‘snatched out of darkness’ by a news report, a police investigation, a court trial – or a work of art. Here they both confront power and find themselves confronted by it….