Susi Jirkuff studied sculpture in Linz and London, but her preferred artistic media are drawing, video animation, and spatial installation. Many of her works have been shown at international exhibitions and film festivals; her themes include the construction of reality through media, social isolation, and the identity-forming power of pop culture. This is evident in such works as Fifty & Gromit (2006), Friday I'm in Love (2007), Zappa (2009), or People Who Like Bonnie Tyler (2009). Images from newspapers, television, and the internet supply much of the material for her drawings and animations, but she also uses her own photographs. The artist's approach is playful, her formal idiom spare and stylized as she exploits different methods of creating cinematic illusion to produce a media-based plane of reality that once again reveals drawing as a medium particularly her own.
The exhibition Wild Wood in Secession's basement gallery was conceived as a spatial installation. Wall drawings and wallpaper, animations projected onto geometric forms, abstract sculptural elements, and soundscapes form a life-size, walk-in film set encompassing three rooms. The installation also provides the context for the première of the artist's new video animation, Boyz in the Wood (2013)—the title references the 1991 movie Boyz n the Hood by John Singleton, an authentic portrayal of life in the ghetto in South Central L. A.
Susi Jirkuff has used the strategy of dovetailing gallery space with the fictional or virtual space of video animation in an elaborate mise-en-scène in earlier exhibitions, too. One example is Rainy Days, held in the Medienturm in Graz in 2012; here, three animated videos were shown in a spatial installation consisting of objects and wall drawings whose minimal, emblematic formal idiom evinced clear parallels with the videos. Wild Wood takes a—somewhat ironic—look at the discrepancy between the paradigm of unlimited freedom propagated by the media on the one hand and, on the other, the (real) constraints experienced at personal level and in society.
Susi Jirkuff, born in Linz in 1966, lives and works in Vienna.
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