Ann Braunsteiner

As Ann Braunsteiner stated beautifully: "The base of my creative practice, may this be painting, text or installation driven work, is centred in the human condition and in our inability to find a common ground. My work is deeply research based, but has also been described as autobiographical and is concerned with contemporary issues of social unease, cultural discomfort and the cyclical nature of history.

 

My work is often very physical - an action I engage with, specifically in my large works, layered, waiting for the voice that is already there to speak up - sometimes I feel like a sculptor, patiently unearthing the 'human' rather than having a finished work in mind.
I think it is important to reflect on my path, but feel my work can 'speak' on its on behalf nonetheless.

I am a product of my ‘off set’ upbringing in Austria, adopted by parents from the war generation – born 1919 & 1920 [I was born in 1967 and adopted, including a name change, in 1972], I was raised in an environment that was affected by the silence of post WWII and the art that arouse from it. The result of the expansive generational gap between by home environment and that of my contemporaries, what felt correct at home often felt out of time away from it.


When I arrived in New Zealand [2009] I faced another dissonance - to communicate my views, my cultural package and engage in a more in depth conversation on the NZ landscape [cultural and colonial history], in a language that isn't mine.


Firstly, it was interesting to arrive again within a more silent state. Re-learning, re-integrating, re-assessing especially my origin, identity - here I am considered as a 'privileged', white European in a country where a discourse about colonialism and its impact on rights, cultural and health & safety of the indigenous people [Māori & Pacific Nations] has finally surfaced and is everyday to be considered and wise about - a necessary debate to have - however I had to deeply think and read about this topic, as it seemed easy for me to fall back on the Austrian excuse that this wasn't my fault - an excuse that of course does not hold up - and I am 'awake' to learn not to take granted what I grew up with - independence, freedom.


Secondly gender bias is another constant debate here, especially in my close artistic circle. I feel thankful growing up with the notion that my gender doesn't matter [considering the generational gap I found this extraordinary] - I can be who I want to be. There is quite an 'old school' of thought here - which I find myself strongly reacting to.
I think these main aspects are expressed within my work - a strength versus fragility - bold versus tamed, loud versus silent, proud versus ashamed, kind versus angry. And it remains a constant silent debate in my head."

Braunsteiner created a work specifically for The Nomadic Art Gallery's public participatory artwork, as shown below. 

Click on image for description 

 
 
 

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