Uli Aigner juxtaposes a porcelain vessel with the Baroque pictorial programme of the Carlone Hall
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Uli Aigner juxtaposes a porcelain vessel with the Baroque pictorial programme of the Carlone Hall
Exhibition view Carlone Contemporary. Uli Aigner. Photo: Dominik Buda © Belvedere, Vienna.

VIENNA.- Uli Aigner juxtaposes a monumental porcelain vessel with the Baroque pictorial programme of the Carlone Hall. The artist takes porcelain, a material steeped in tradition, as her starting point in order to transform personal experiences of loss into a message about life and survival.

“For Uli Aigner, creating art is about a dialogue with the world, with things, with environments, and with individuals. Production and life form a single entity in her work. Exploring light and darkness in the cycle of life connects her contemporary work with the frescoes by Carlo Innocenzo Carlone,” says Stella Rollig, CEO of the Belvedere, explaining her curatorial placing.

Item 2361 – monumental porcelain vessel
In Jingdezhen in China, the world’s “porcelain capital”, Uli Aigner transformed one of her vase designs into porcelain in 2017. She supervised and worked with Chinese potters to produce a vast vessel: 2.30 metres tall, 1.25 metres in diameter, and weighing over 700 kilos. Aigner and a porcelain painter then painted the vessel in situ, basing their design on the large-scale colour pencil drawing “Open Form 19”.

The motif alludes to the harrowing experience of the suicide of a loved one. It captures a sunset in north-western Canada, the last before months without sunlight. At the top edge, the artist introduces an alternative depiction of the universe: the theory, supported by a mathematical formula, that the universe could be a hologram. Aigner thus addresses both a physical presence in a real environment and a hypothetical model – two ways that can help people relate to the world.

In the knowledge of the high number of suicides worldwide, in this work Aigner is alluding to those who chose to leave us and paying tribute to those who “are still here in spite of everything”.

Carlone Contemporary
This exploration of light and shadow, of brightness and darkness in the cycle of life also appears in Carlo Innocenzo Carlone’s frescoes. These reflect the recurring alternation of day and night. Light is personified by Apollo as the leader of the muses and has positive connotations as it illuminates and outshines vices and drives them away.

Open Form
Uli Aigner’s work in the Carlone Hall is based on a colour pencil drawing from the series “Open Form” that she has been working on since 2013. These are large-scale depictions of open, vaselike shapes. Aigner’s monumental vessels represent her scope of action as an artist in the twenty-first century. Her pictorial motifs reveal the perspectives, wishes, and ideas of individuals in addition to values, ideologies, and visions of social development.

One Million
Porcelain endures through the centuries and thus becomes a storage medium and “political material” that tells of social production conditions over the passage of time. By contrast, Uli Aigner’s art project aspiring to create one million vessels before the end of her life, highlights the finite nature of existence. Each vessel from the series “One Million” is a unique piece that is signed and numbered, its own journey traceable on the website www.einemillionporzellan.com. The artist is interested in the multiple possibilities of creation, communication and contacts that can emerge through sharing. In her eyes the recurring motif of the vessel is a cultural code that is globally understood and used by every society in different forms.

Curator: Stella Rollig

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