I have been working with wearable objects since 2005.
In an act of self-protection, we often put on carapaces meant to shield our inner selves from the outer world.
In our everyday lives, we take on roles that are expected, defined, and interpreted by the world around us.
The ostensible protection gained by accepting these roles, this form of carapace, is forced on us.
The fashion industry is dictating trends for us to fit into society by following a certain ideal of beauty.
Society is putting a corset on the individual while diversity is becoming more and more rare.
a collection of wearable metal objects, from colorful to rusty, confining, tantalizing, sculptural, imaginative.
Body coats meant to be inspiring and thought-provoking.
Illusion – This sculpture made of Canadian granite during the International Symposium of
Sculpture Beauce Art is now a permanent feature in the park of sculptures in Saint-Georges
in Quebec, Canada. Working with this hard stone locally was an experience tantamount to a
clash of nature and urban territory. 13 hours a day of taxing physical work and a determined
mind to form thoughts into a physical shape. The result is an abstract sculpture inspired by
the material as well as human relationships. This work represents a combination of heart,
mind, and hand.
Snow Sculpture Competition in Arnthal, Austria. Working with different materials is always a
welcome challenge. For this competition, we had three and a half days in the Austrian skiing
region Arnthal to create a dinosaur from a three-meter-high block of snow. My team mate
Manu Moine and me withstood snow, rain, wind, cold, and incredible physical strains to
realize this project. In contrast to the often-solitary work as an artist, working as a team
always has great benefit.
Fossil – El Movimiento de la Vida. This sculpture was made from particularly hard sandstone
during the Symposium of Sculpture Bienal de Escultura in Cochabamba in Bolivia. The
symposium was organized by the Museo del Arte in La Paz and was held in the small town
of Tarata, with the goal to bring art even to the poorest regions of the country. The people in
Tarata welcomed us with incredible warmth and enthusiasm. Working there has been an
unforgettable experience. The theme of the sculpture is the movement of life.
Balance – This sculpture is made of chestnut wood and was inspired by the theme “The Rütli
of the Swiss Woman”. It represents the balance between male and female. Unterbäch was
the first place in Switzerland where women were allowed to vote on March 3 rd 1957. We were
lucky enough to meet the daughter of the first female voter as well as many other endearing
and helpful residents whom I will keep in good memory. Unfortunately, the symposium
resulted in discrimination against all participating women. And when I tried to collect my
sculpture after it had been exhibited there for two years, I was told that it had been destroyed
completely. Hardly an accident, in my view. There was no recompense.
La Vie – This sculpture is made of blue stone marble and was created at the International
Symposium of Sculpture in Sprimont, Belgium. The basic theme that inspired it is the
entanglement of human relationships.
The subject matter of this entwined sculpture, made from a single larch trunk, was “nature in motion”.
By burning and waxing it, I gave the wood a black color before combining it with pieces of cut skis. In these ski boards, I carved images of Austrian glaciers.
This sculpture can be seen until September 2017 as part of an exhibition on a mountain in Fiss, Tirol in Austria.
„Orange Flow” is a metal sculpture I began work on at a symposium for sculptors at Lake Zurich, Switzerland.
It was inspired by a segment of a cartographic depiction of Lake Zurich.
Hammer blow by hammer blow, every single piece was formed individually and now tells of love, friendship, happiness, encounters, and partings.
Flow – the flow of life and mental state of complete immersion.
The sculpture is currently coated in International Orange, a highly effective anti-corrosion paint, which was also used for the Golden Gate Bridge.
Depending on the location of the sculpture, the color can be changed by request.
With women often being under-represented at symposiums, Jacky Orler decided to organize the first symposium for women sculptors in Glarnerland, Switzerland in
We all worked on the set subject matter: “Flora and fauna of the mountain world”.
Switzerland is the home of 30 different bat species, many of whom are endangered. On my first evening there, I encountered one of those bats.
This sculpture was created in 2015 during the international sculptor symposium in Rinkobing, Denmark, where it is now on public display.
Catchphrases like adaptation, assimilation and accommodation, differentiation and abstraction inspired the concept of a hollowed-out wood sculpture.
In my work, I often deal with personal space and environment, cover and cocoon.
With this work, my intention was to reduce a big, heavy larch trunk to a delicate shell, the skin of the tree so to speak.
By burning and waxing it, I gave the wood surface a singular texture.
The openings in the shell connect personal space and environment and provide a specific view of the beautiful scenery of the Glarnerland.
On the day of the art opening, I squeezed myself into the tree shell and was trapped in my work of art for an hour before I finally discovered the right way out.
On what used to be a demolition site and is now a place for experiencing nature and art, I formed this rising sculpture out of a one-ton heavy oak fork. The
sculpture stands out against its environment and yet resonates with it.
The dualism of things as well as the entanglements of interpersonal relationships are key subjects of this work.
There is no You without I, no We without Us.
The installation „Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruits” was created as part of Holzart XVIII, an international symposium for sculptors in Kronach,
The painter Lucas Cranach the Elder was born in Kronach in 1472. His many depictions of Adam and Eve served as inspiration for this work.
From July until October 2014, this installation could be viewed at Fortress Rosenberg in Kronach.
When I watched them on TV, I was fascinated by Timbersports and chainsaw sculpture competitions, so typical for the US.
Eventually, on a cold, grey winter day in Vienna, I decided to apply for a spot at the US Open Chainsaw Sculpture Championship and was in fact invited to compete as the only woman with nine men. A challenge for which I bought my first gas chainsaw a month before.
The subject matter of the competition was “wildlife”. But instead of carving a grizzly or eagle, I decided to turn my attention to endangered species in the US: In 2013, the polar bear was added to the list of endangered animals as were some crocodile species, the caiman and the piping plover, a bird species native to America.
The rules of the competition were strict: We had 23 working hours within three and a half days at our disposal, and chainsaw and angle grinder were the only admissible tools.
The chainsaw competition at Duck Creek was the warm-up exercise for the US Open.
The subject matter was “American Natives”, which is often expressed through Indian heads, eagles, bears, turtles, and wolves. I decided, though,
to interpret the subject more freely.
In 21 hours, I developed a colorful bench whose basic forms imitate segments of old Indian patterns.
To the astonishment of the audience, I created an abstract form and painted it in bold colors.
Japan Now – In 1985, my parents went on their final trip together, which brought them to
Japan. They documented their experience on audio and 8 mm film to share it with their family
at home. In 2011, a couple of months after Fukushima, I too travelled to Japan, a Geiger
counter and a slight feeling of unease included, and visited the places my parents had gone
to more than 30 years ago.1985 and 2011 in contrast, an attempt at an experimental art film.
For the exhibition “Family Affairs“ at Castle Mistelbach, Austria, I created the object “Atzel”. The object comes with a push fit system which allows for various
ways of usage. It can be converted into a bench, table, swing, or even a coffin.
A lifelong piece of furniture that can change form from one heir to the next.
The work process was documented on film by the artist Muzak and combined with old super-8-footage of my father. The resulting combined sequences were then incorporated in a film by Muzak in the shape of short commercials, which interrupted his film every now and then.
Wearables – To me it’s always important to build a connection with my sculptures and, by slipping into them, become part of a whole.
Soho Now – In 2006, I organized an exhibition in my studio in the context of Soho Ottakring.
“Dance with me” was a project that, for the first time ever, combined my various works and
expanded them by video, a medium I hadn’t used before. Two belly dancers, one clad in
latex, the other in a customized sheet steel costume, performed a belly dance of a different
kind. The metal costume made a loud tin sound and forced the dancer to adjust her
movements in her uncomfortable, at times painful “cladding”. The dancer in latex moved with
ease but also with a certain artificiality. I see belly dance as a playful, sensuous dance where
the dancer becomes an object of desire. But it also requires a high level of focus and body
control. The different costumes were meant to enhance these extremes. The idea behind the
performance was to question traditional roles in society.
„With metal cocoons and wood work, Sabine Capek and Katharina Mörth create a bizarre atmosphere in a derelict pit.” This is how Jens Rönau quite aptly described our
collaborative work, designed specifically for “Nordart”, in the art magazine “Kunstforum International (2005/179) in 2005.
The former iron foundry was a challenging site to work with.
My goal was to integrate my metal sculptures into this dominant environment and create a bizarre atmosphere.
The subject matter of the works, which were arranged in context to their environment as well as to each other, was need for protection, regeneration,
and transformation and was meant to give this building in decay a new character.
For this cocoon, I welded together old cast-iron gas grates.
The cocoon was placed in the former tram depot Stammersdorf, which has been reclaimed by nature. As a performance, I put myself into this object made of industrial waste and broke free from it.
The subject matter of this work was man in context to his environment and the question: What is private and what is public space? Where does the individual stand in relation to society and the global over-industrialization.
„In my world view, there is a vast outer region as well as a vast inner region, and man stands between the two turning to one or the other and, according to his
temperament and disposition, considering one or the other the absolute truth and thus denying or sacrificing one for the other”. (Carl Gustav Jung)
This idea inspired the creation of “cocoons”. In many cultures, the chrysalis serves as a symbol for transformation, a metaphor for a vulnerable, solitary state of being on the cusp of a new stage of maturity.
My intention was to give the human cocoon its own shape. Modelled on photographs of a cloaked individual,
I created a series of closed sculptures made of sheet steel.
I wanted, though, to break through these closed, impermeable shapes.
The openings show that a rigid shell is not necessarily a restrictive carapace one can hardly “hatch out” from.
Instead, they connect the individual enclosed in their shell with their environment.
This connection allows an exchange between inner region and outer region and at the same time poses the question whether a true symbiosis between self
and environment is possible at all.