A fragile existence
─ In the courrent climate of contemporary art, it often seems that the artist’s verbal declaration about his work counts for far more than the art itselfs. Explanation is all.
One could, I think, create a credible argument for suggesting that as the Anglo-Saxon philosophical tradition has allwaysbeen of an empirical/analytical nature, this could lead to “explanation” being the overabiding feature of an artist’s practice.
Silvia Hatzl’s position is to determinedly eschew such an approche in regards to her work. For her “feelings” are everything. “My works are born through a series of stages, most of them sensual; touching, smelling, finding, joining, forming, impregnating, pigmenting, painting, moulding, scratching, streching, drying, heating, burning and shaping”.
As a consequence, we experience her sculptures in our stomachs and in our souls, her poetics reaching deep inside us and only after that does the head follow. It is then that we can begin to interlectualize on this profound meditation on the transcience of existence. The use of natural materials like silk, cotton, linen, paper and even animal intestines heightens the extreme fragility of her works. The rarified beauty of the installations of various clothes, speckled on occasion with rust, pigment or blood, all with greater to lesser degrees of transparency, ressemble a groupe of human beings covering all ages whose clothing offer no protection from their fundamntalnakedness. The physical takes us dirctly to the emotional echoing the reactionwee feel when faced with the famous Etruscan and far later Giacomettian, emaciated figure, alone, fragile and exposed in a hostile univers.
Silvia Hatzl’s art appears to be born out of the strand of the existencial mouvemnt in Paris a few years after the Second World War headed by the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre.However, the desperationof this position is tempered by both Silvia Hatzl and the afore mentioned sculptor by the extreme beauty of their creations. Even when she sculpts solid figures like the busts and the heads, the folds, marks and coloringsof the material imbuesthem with the same delicacy and heightned feeling of tragic beauty.
Contemporaneously with the same existencial movement in philosophy literature, was the golden era of abstract art, where countless figures on both sides of the Atlantic addressed the sense of tragedy which permeated minds in the aftermath of the War. Silvia Hatzl’s works speak to as of these great question which goven man’s existence on the planet, and like those other artists from a n earlier generation, they do it through drawing us in emotionally to their works and from there forcing us to consider these questions and what, if any help, beauty can play in offering us some protection against the desperation born out of our state of inherent loneliness.