Theme Beauty – Interviews with exhibition visitors in Strobl

During the exhibition “Einfach schön heut” in the Deutschvilla (May 3 – June 2, 2019) I asked several visitors about their view of beauty. This is the promised continuation of my interview with Ferdinand Götz, the curator of the exhibition.

In the following you can read the answers of the exhibition visitors to the topic beauty.

What do you first think of when you hear “beauty” (regardless of this exhibition)?

Nature, music, art. AE

Beauty is the first thing I associate with people. When I continue to think about it, nature. And then, of course, the images of it, that is, what the art makes with it or out of it. WE

I think our situation is based on outward appearances [of people], which is underlined in the media. BA

Well, that this is a very individual concept, because everyone understands or feels something different about it. I react to it every time someone says, “oh beautiful!” or “of ugly!” MS

Beauty has nothing to do with these general images that so circulate about beauty and in advertising. Just something with tension and depth. There are a lot of components that make something beautiful. For one this can … but that is always only for one individual, their individual perception of beauty! This seems beautiful or repulsive or horrible to me. MS

There are often two sides of the coin – something can repel us, but on the other hand one can find it attractive. That’s in ourselves, that polarity. I find it hard to express, but why do you admire a perpetrator in any film who is actually bad? There’s something, something that attracts us, and it has something to do with beauty. In any case for me, it must attract me, it must be exciting, then it can be beautiful, otherwise you pass by everything else. MS

How do you define beauty?

Beauty is something relative, it is certainly not an objective criterion. This can be seen from the historical contexts that today things that were beautiful in former times are no longer perceived as beautiful. Even though you can explain why they saw it that way back then. It’s somehow that we perceive it as above the norm. So you’re sensitive to something that’s above average. You notice it when it’s different from most things. WE

Where did beauty catch your eye in this exhibition?

The whole garden, that’s why we came in. The young man who was also very nice. Here you can see the social commitment of the local youth, which we also like. The whole environment here is beautiful. The individual exhibitors, who are covering a wide field, going from one room to the other is like a huge leap. What shocked me were all the hair and the drawings. They’re a different world than what I prefer. Adelheit Rumetshofer pleases me very much. AE

Here very different aspects are illuminated. These drop formations, the paintings with shooting holes jumped into my eye. They speak to me a lot. I am also fascinated by the room “Is nudity beautiful?” because this natural standing in the middle of nature is simply completely different from how one would otherwise depict it. I think it’s very cool, too, I like it. And the portraits (which is also on the invitation poster) are incredibly vivid. They fascinate me, too. WE

The poster, of course! The lady on the poster and the beauty of nature and perfection in technology. Regarding the paintings, where I just have the feeling of expression, especially those of Lotte Profohs, no perfection but still such a beauty, such an expression in it, that was impressive. That’s a big concern of mine, that this doesn’t get lost. BA

I like the bodies; this I would say is beautiful, this unbiased nakedness that radiates towards us in these photographs, the self-triggered photographs. MS

What is the relationship between art and beauty?

I asked this additional question especially to those who are artists themselves. (Sometimes I also had to explain by adding that this refers to the remark I sometimes heard “this should not be beautiful, otherwise it is not art”)

Yes, of course one encounters this again and again. It’s such a trend, such a fashion: it shouldn’t be beautiful, but you would have to define beauty. MS

If it’s just nice and flat and blatant, then you can say, this really doesn’t have to be. BA

When I see a character or an act … it’s the same again, very individual. Someone says it’s not pretty at all. BA

Art can be beautiful, but very often it is not … it has to have the something; it must go into people and touch something in them and shake them up. Then it is art that moves something, and perhaps also moves something positive. Moving to the positive also means stimulating someone to think about themselves or a behaviour or something else. MS

Theme beauty in the work of Lotte Profohs

The prepared interview questions resulted in an unplanned conversation on the subject of beauty in the work of Lotte Profohs and the question of how her work should continue.

The pictures of the Leherb (Helmut “Maitre”, Lotte Profoh’s husband) are perfect from the technical point of view but they don’t really say anything. But the woman (Lotte Profohs) with her ink drawings, which are spontaneously sketched and when she draws, there is emotion in it. BA

[In his pictures] there you can see that it is Lotte, his wife … it is finely chiselled in detail, nothing different from anime drawings, completely, very finely worked out. MS

It would be a great loss if these sheets were sold individually, because it is simply a testimony of contemporary history, of women who at that time had hardly any chance to exist in this men’s world. She of course worked as a model and was pretty and was the prettified [by her husband’s artworks] and then led a good life maybe. But I think, this self-confidence that one needs to be really a painter, that was completely undermined back then, in part even today. She gave up her career completely in favor of her husband’s career. I think this would be the second time that her work has been abused. The artworks are sold individually. And if you don’t appreciate and value them now again, then it gets lost … I think it is a very important testimony for our development as women. BA

Consequently, I then asked curator Ferdinand Götz about it and learned that efforts were underway to sell the legacy of Lotte Profohs as a whole to a museum.

The following persons gave me permission to mention you by name: WE – Wolfgang Eisl, BA – Barbara Artweger, MS – Margit Strobl. I would like to thank all interview partners for their willingness and obligingness.

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