Bernhard Cociancig

During early phases of my artistic activity, I have performed autodidactic painting – impressions gathered from many different countries in which I lived and worked. The formal art education at the Vienna Art School as a recent experience has not only allowed trying out all forms of visual arts, but has in particular sparked my interest for print graphics techniques such as Mokulito. Exposure to the often challenging work and life environments has sharpened my awareness for social and environmental issues. Art can -and must- play a pivotal role in communicating cross-faculty and socio-ecological problems. Forms of discrimination, refugees, global warming, access to clean water, plastic waste, endangered wildlife, the extracting industry: just some of the many concerns I try to incorporate into my artwork. Being meant as constructive criticism it shall also instigate participative reactions from the viewers. Art as social engagement has led me to bringing painting therapy to vegetative coma patients as part of their basal stimulation program. While in contrast to deep coma these patients have a wake-sleep rhythm, their motoric control and ability to communicate is restricted. It is rewarding to experience how art is capable to evoke minute yet clearly detectable reactions.

Having most recently worked with natural products in painting processes, I will use dry earth pigments rubbed onto canvas. These will be exposed to water in the form of rain, waves and tides. Over time, the artwork will be amended in some but a rather unpredictable manner. The results will reflect the influences caused by natural elements – a process, which may stand not only as an allegory for our lifecycle but also for the changes water can  impose on our planet. The process of the occurring changes shall also be documented in a series of photos and/or in a time laps video. The latter might be an excellent opportunity to interface with other artists, which are more intimately acquainted with digital media and video techniques. The resulting video could well be inspired by the genre of essay films and in particular the work performed by Derek Jarman (“Blue”). An alternative project proposal would be collecting sediments from the water bodies around Gibraltar Point and use the so recovered materials either directly as paint or as paint fillers. Such work would present a direct connection to some of my earlier artwork pertaining to micro plastic (www.micro-plastic.keicie.com).

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I live and work in Vienna (Austria). From 1975-2015, I worked in the international petroleum industry around the globe. From 2015-2018 formal art education at Vienna Art School with majors in painting and process, print graphic and graphic design: the diploma work “Skin of the Game” pertains to the thread of extinction of Africa’s wildlife. The “Big Five” (elephant, rhino, Cape buffalo, lion, leopard) serves as an allegory for the entire fauna. Since 2017, performing painting therapy sessions for coma patients, holding print graphic workshops for drug and alcohol addicts. Since 1992, national and international solo and group exhibitions of paintings, print graphic, graphic design (posters, brochures) and installations in public space. More on my work can be viewed at keicie.com.

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