Emanuel is a contemporary Austrian artist who studied art at the University of Applied Arts, in the photography department, the Transart department and finally in the Sculpture class of Hans Schabus.
Emanuel started experimenting with analog film and photo paper and turned them into wall sculptures and installations.
In 2012 he was on a residence in Rotterdam and started to work with „classic“ sculptural material such as timber, steel, fabric, and concrete.
Emanuel Ehgartner is a contemporary Austrian sculptor. He studied art at the University of Applied Arts, in Vienna, in the photography department, in the transart department and finally in the sculpture class of Hans Schabus.
My Name is Emanuel Ehgartner and I was born and raised in a very small village in upper Austria. I never had anything to do with art, unless you count being in a punk band as a kind of art.
When I was about 18 years old, my grandfather gave me a very old analog camera – a Zeiss IKON. I started taking photographs and after graduating school I wanted to study photography in Vienna.
I applied with nothing better than vacation pictures and close-ups from plants so it actually took me four times applying to finally get into the photography department. I always make this joke that the people at the university didn’t want to see me a fifth time applying ;)
After the first years of my studies I realized very quickly that I needed to overcome traditional photography and decided to join the sculpture class for a semester. I started experimenting with analog film and photo paper and turned it into wall sculptures and installations.
In 2012 I was on a residence in Rotterdam with fellow students and started to work with „classic“ sculptural material such as timber, steel, fabric and concrete. By that time I was very influenced by Carl Andre – and you definitely see it in my works that time.
In 2014 I graduated for the university with a diploma show on the topic functionality and aesthetics. So I basically got interested in everyday objects but not so much in a „Duchamp way“ using readymades. More in the sense that I examine objects from an industrial or architectural context for their sculptural qualities.
This has become my main interests since the last 6 years and I am far away from running out out ideas. I am inspired by so many things in our everyday lives. I find a structure in the urban space or while traveling with the train and try to take a picture as a sketch.
In my studio I try to rebuild these structures (preferred material is steel), but reducing it to its very essence.
So the outcome is a minimal sculpture or wall object which should raise questions like What distinguishes a sculpture from an everyday object?, Where is the threshold?, How can we re-think the urban space and the objects we find in it? Why do you pick the banana and not the apple?
On a subconscious level, maybe. I grew up in a small village with working class people. I sometimes think that I choose my materials in regard to understandability. Because everyone knows the structures I am using...
Really tough question. Maybe it was around 2012 when I realized that I wanted to overcome traditional photography.
From a formal point of view my biggest influence are artists like Meuser, Bill Bollinger, Carl Andre, Richard Serra or John Chamberlain.
But I read a lot of interviews and theoretical writings by Lawrence Weiner and John Baldessari.
This two artist are definitely my idols! And then there artists like Ellsworthy Kelly or Blinky Palermo who I adore for their use of colors...
Probably A 36" X 36" REMOVAL TO THE LATHING OR SUPPORT WALL OF PLASTER OR WALLBOARD FROM A WALL - by Lawrence Weiner. You see how you already start to construct the piece in your mind just by reading the words? Its wonderful...
My studio is in the 20. district of Vienna - Brigittenau. I share it with a few guys - designers and musician, mostly. Its not a classic studio, more like a workshop...
I can be inspired by almost everything: a construction site, a heavy machinery, a cantilever, mostly industrial and technical objects. First I take a picture as a sketch and in the studio I try to examine the structures and transform it into a minimal sculpture.
„If there is a bowl of fruit, why do you pick the banana and not the apple"? You just have this intuitive sense over the years of making choices, and art-making essentially is that. You choose this thing over that thing. (...) You begin to develop a kind of instinct that I want that and not this." John Baldessari
I use instagram a lot since a greek friend suggested it to me in 2017. You can make quite a nice portfolio of your work as an artist. I post my artworks as well as sketches, inspirations and images of the working process.
A big thank you to the wonderful Emanuel for sharing his work and his story with us. Artworks of the artist are available on our online store