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Interview with Angelika Loderer
Mexico City

Early 2017 she presented her works in a solo show at the Vienna Secession. In February she traveled to Mexico City where we met her in spring and talked about work processes, teaching and her experiences there. 

You began a two-month stint here a couple of weeks ago. How did that come about? I was invited by someone I went to university with. Alessa Esteban is Mexican, and from 2008 – 11 she and I both studied at the University of Applied Arts Vienna under Erwin Wurm. In cooperation with the art university “La Esmeralda” she established an invited artist workshop that I can supervise for a month to realize an exhibition with the students.

And how are you finding teaching? Do you have any previous experience? I have to say that I really enjoy teaching. As I see it you have to structure it so that you also benefit from it, and not only give. And I had no experience of it. You need a little discipline and organization, but otherwise I treat the students like colleagues that you attempt to support in their work in an honest manner. 

Angelika Loderer, Coyoacán, Mexico City

Angelika Loderer, Coyoacán, Mexico City

What are you working on together? The workshop I am supervising is exploring the topic of “Human Perception and Environmental Experience”. This involves us visiting places in Mexico City suggested by the students and that are important for how they work. We went through areas we first of all reflected on and identified. After which I wanted everyone to take the time and get to know the area. Some documented it using photos, or did sketches, others collected things or returned there on repeated occasions. Then in discussions we developed these experiences and research in relation to their artistic approach into new works, which will be shown in the exhibition at the end of the workshop.

Did you get off to a good start? How is the new environment influencing your sculptural work, and how you think as an artist? Things started off straight away. There was still stuff to organize and clarify so the first two weeks were largely taken up with looking for a flat, finding my way about the city and so on, but that meant I became familiar with Mexico City and was able to form friendships. During my teaching appointment I am using the time to have new experiences, but also to get to know a different culture, language, and everyday aesthetics. Often I feel like just strolling through the districts or visiting museums. So many things are different and every day brings something extremely exciting. However, Mexico City can also be somewhat exhausting and you cannot take on too much at once. Often works arise out of everyday situations that I collect in the form of photos and later evolve. Afterwards I draw a lot and further formulate these ideas on paper. Later I will realize many impressions in my studio in Austria.

What concerns you at the moment, what forms and what content? Apart from city life I have also been able to get to know rural areas in Mexico. Generally, I think I find these places more fascinating. Nature is so different from what we know in Europe and there is a fascinating biodiversity and diversity of forms. People in the country also tend to be more relaxed. I find it interesting when things are lying around everywhere, and when it seems as if nobody needs them. That immediately triggers my imagination. I like working with found materials. They put me under less pressure and you can try things out. If I don’t like the work, I can throw it away again. That is different when you buy in expensive materials and then don’t know what you should do with them.

"Untitled (Z)" (El Quinto Piso), brass, 2017

You enjoy experimenting with unusual combinations of materials, often with materials that respond to one another. What are you working on now? The search for new materials never ends, especially in a city with 22 million inhabitants. The culture is very different, after all, and it is exciting to always be on the look-out for new forms. It can also become addictive. But just now I feel attracted to the university foundry. I am allowed to work there and realize things that I see in the city.

Where do you get the inspiration for your work, more in the city or in nature? Both.

Is there a logic to the creative process of your art, or do you tend to work more intuitively? No, actually I work very logically. First of all, I work out the properties of materials in an experimental manner, and often observe things with a certain sensitivity but then I employ them the way I planned. That said, what actually evolves is often the result of the material itself. In the exhibition at the Vienna Secession they called my works “media-integrating” to performative; I found that very apt.


"Untitled" (Secession), sand, metal, mycelium, wood, acrylic glass, c-print, 2017. Photo: Matthias Bildstein

Looking at your sculptures I get the impression contradiction is talking to itself or even having an argument with others – but with a lightness and coolness. A pleasant feeling comes across, even though incomparable things are at work, and chance also plays a role. You lend a resonance to dissonance. Is my interpretation correct? Basically I am someone who finds it hard to decide between things, and I believe that is perhaps also manifested in my work.

Your works are precise and daring, is that your aim? I enjoy testing borders.

Are you open to change or do you tend to stick to a certain view? Open.

Your sculptures also come across as confident and somewhat self-sufficient, in other words, human. Is that intentional? Yes, interesting you should say that. I believe maybe the reason for that is perhaps because they often form themselves and are consistent in themselves.

Is lightness also an artistic challenge in design? Yes, repeatedly.

Color plays a huge role. What guides you in your choice? Colors often result from the process or are defined by the material. I don’t like adding colors myself. That is often too vague to me.

Will you also exhibit your works here? And if so, where and when? Yes, the works I produced during the workshop will be on show. At the end of April, the students and I are inviting people to a group exhibition entitled “Platonic Dust” in the off space of “El Quinto Piso”, a high-rise garage in Centro Historico. On the day of the opening there will also be a small brunch.

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Exhibition View "Platonic Dust" (El Quinto Piso), 2017

Only recently your exhibition in the Vienna secession finished. What comes next? In mid-May I will be in the group exhibition “To figure it out” in the new "Sophie Tappeiner" gallery in Vienna. There is also a solo show planned for the end of October. One can be curious...

End of 2017/18 we add: ... about an exhibition at the Grazer Kunstverein, a solo show in Turin/Italy and some international group exhibitions.

Thank you Angelika!

Interview: Dajana Dorfmayr


Angelika Loderer *1984 lives and works in Vienna.

Schuh2 Loderer 3Web

"Untitled" (Gallery Sophie Tappeiner), bronze, 2016. Photo: Angelika Loderer

Bildschirmfoto 2017 12 02 Um 14 52 14

Exhibition View "Quiet Fonts" (Gallery Sophie Tappeiner), sand, metall, brass, 2017. Photo: kunst-dokumentation.com