Bianca Lugmayr delves deeply into language, materiality, and abstraction in her work. Her signature is the fast, freely sewn line that represents liberation from perfectionism, raw beauty, and the value of imperfection.

In her graphic text works, the act of creation itself – the force of the sewing machine needle perforating the fabric – intensifies the power of the repetitively written words. Common to all her works is the line and the textile grid as visual tools.

Biography

Born 1979 in Wels and lives and works as a freelance artist in Vorarlberg. She studied pharmacy at the University of Innsbruck as well as textile/art and design at the University of Arts Linz under Marga Persson and cultural management at the Institute for Cultural Concepts in Vienna.

Bianca Lugmayr

Portrait-Lugmayr-Bianca

Selected Exhibitions

2024

Rethinking.tradition, Südtirol – Vorarlberg (Group Performance Show)
Zollart Textile Intervention, Koblach (Solo)
Poststelle Schwarzenberg (Solo)

2023

Galerie Z, Hard (Solo)
Galerie 9 und 20, Bregenz (Solo)
Emsiana, Hohenems (Group Show)
Alle, Palais Thurn und Taxis, Bregenz (Group Show)

2022

Unterm Strich, Villa Claudia, Feldkirch (Group Show)
Schiele Award 2022, Minoritenkloster, Tulln (Group Show)
Wenn Material zur Form wird, Artenne Nenzing (Group Show)
Kunsthotel Hirschen Schwarzenberg (Solo)
Heimspiel 2021, Feldkirch (Open Studio)
Gesponnen, bemessen, beschnitten, Kollektiv, Bregenz (Solo)
Warum Kunst, Palais Thurn und Taxis, Bregenz (Group Show)
Wechselspiel, Zollart Schauraum, Koblach (Group Show)

2021

Vom Schatten ans Licht, Musica Femina, Wien (Solo)
Round 72, Bregenz (Group Show)
Feministival 2021, Chybulski, Feldkirch (Group Show)
Residency, Borgo Museo di Pistoia, Castagno di Piteccio, Italy
Kunstlager II, Villa Claudia, Feldkirch (Group Show)
An Vogel, Palais Thurn und Taxis, Bregenz (Group Show)

2020

Augentrost, ORF Funkhaus, Vorarlberg (Group Show)
Geburtskultur, Frauenmuseum, Hittisau (Group Show)

2019

Chybulski, Feldkirch (Solo)
Was berührt Dich?, Alte Seifenfabrik, Lauterach

Art prize and Collections

Sammlung Illwerke VKW
Sammlung Landes Vorarlberg
Nominierung Schiele Award 2022
Frauenkunstförderpreis der Anne Goldenberg Stiftung

Member

Künstlerhaus Vereinigung Wien
Kunst Vorarlberg
Berufsvereinigung bildender Künstlerinnen und Künstler Vorarlbergs
IG Bildende Kunst Wien

Residencies

Borgo Museo di Pistoia, Castagno di Piteccio, Italy

Text

How everything is woven into a whole
— by Peter Niedermaier
An encounter with Bianca Lugmayr's art means initially – and above all – movement: taking a walk with your feet on the ground but with your head in the clouds of fantasy. Here we focus on her text works, which appear sensual, foreign, but yet, at the same time, familiar. In our minds images develop that are already stored there and are continually newly texted. In this process she dissects the still, precarious revolt with an exciting deceleration. It is a dream bird from the paradise garden of her fantasy that hatches the egg of this art and visualises the invisibly imagined behind and in front of the everyday scenes. In a sensual interplay she freezes the textile formatting and the textual content, and then transforms them, enchanted in an amalgam, back into the physical. Here, seen philosophically, the artist ventures into aesthetic formalisation, shows sketched sculptural sections, everything light as a feather as if they were canals of the accidental. Inclinations. This transports puts us into a dancing ship, it is like coming to shore on a coast. Like smoking glass kisses. Like a bare morning. Like velvet, blue and meandering on the hills of the night. Like sweetness without a look. Like textual poetry from the world that the artist lays out in front of us. The finely chiselled dimensions develop from something playful, from the laboratory situation, researching in undetermined directions, but without a goal, always prepared to fail.
 
In her art, however, something provocatively new develops out of this, something ambivalent, which is, paradoxically, easy and difficult, fast and slow, text and image, lying, hanging, floating through our minds, movement and speed. She turns on the small dream machine that makes us into human beings with our excited passions and searching longings. She weaves blue nets of longing in which we enjoy getting caught and yet remain free and autonomous. In the echo space of the eternal eternity of the moment, when our steps have slowed down, when the languages and speaking become softer, the artist shows us a book in which she has collated texts, hovering slightly as if sewed into a dress. With all the essential instruments that shape the intertextually coded aspect of her art into a comprehensible format. And this is how her art is, life in the echo of weaving, spinning, and tying, argued with threads. The activity "sewing" is symbolically close to writing because it ties the threads of life together. With weaving, in fact linking, and with sewing, actually translated inspirations from life, we veil and reveal truths.
 
Fragments in a state of suspension
With the inspirations from life we have arrived at opening and concealing. Right down to the last ramifications, down the very tips. Here we research the orbits of the inner planets and the happiness of involuntary memories. One writes in order to be loved. Where, in any case, there is nothing to know. There is no renunciation without speculation about a subsequent gain. What is useful for itself? And what happens in turning over? And why do we sew? We know the stories, the invented and speculative ones, the absurd and sorrowful ones, we know Penelope who waits for Odysseus and tells the men who desire her that she wants first to finish weaving the big carpet. and she does this. But every evening she unravels the work she has done during the day, as she does not want to come to an end. Does art follow life or life art? Much grows heated through textiles and through art. The indifferent and the desirable and all the shades between with and without patterns. And writing? Writing is a mode of the rhetoric, as T. S. Eliot says, an affection for the world, for the ideal. And what is sewing? Like with writing, it is giving an indication of oneself, linking networks. A part of existence. Because there is not anything to know. Sewing is an aesthetic experience. An intertextual connotation. Imaginary research. The essence of love is disillusion. Writing and sewing are its sensual longing. A game with language. An unmasking. As original social critique. Finding what connects and expressing it in language, binding and joining with thread, putting together, not constricting. The sack dress is an advance into life, like the bike. Liberation from the corset.
 
A self-determined life
Searching for the lost paradise. In the direction of the sunbeams in the afternoon, which extend into the early evening, like a fleeting beauty. An hour dissolved into details that stand for themselves. Realities in which one no longer believed or asked about. What remains is a form of simplicity. The style of the dress is like the style of the building. A very different one. And yet, essentially, related because reduced. An existential dwelling. As a paradox of the present. The most beautiful books are written like the most beautiful clothes. Texted clothing. With a turn the artist suggests seeing the dress of life from the end, wide and open, tolerating the parlour. Seeing the dress reflected in life, quenching the thirst of the day. Just as each kiss awakens the next one, like flowers in a meadow in May. One can only lose the thread respectfully if one looks at art like love, without illusions. Life in an infinite script and an infinite thread. What remains in art, actually, is the dream text. The skin-like quality as a canvas for the ideas of the mysterious.

Peter Niedermair
Translated by James Roderick O’Donovan
From Word and Line to Form and Feeling. On the Textile Painting of Bianca Lugmayr
— by Anne Zühlke
A look at the current work of Austrian artist Bianca Lugmayr, who lives in Vorarlberg, reveals a change in her artistic practice which has moved from the figurative works of the early years to an intensive study of language, materiality, and abstraction. The earlier themes – an examination of femaleness, the confrontation with the uncertainties of mundane life and the need to give the internal life a visual expression—still remain evident, while since 2021 her formal language has undergone a consistent selfcritical renewal. The collages of strong female figures using a mix of materials such as photographs, print and decorative textile elements on linen or paper, whose strengths, courage, and lives served Lugmayr as metaphors of an autonomous and combative female way of living, give way to the line and the textile grid as artistic means.

On a Path with the Line
In the works Juppenmädchen I (Girl in Traditional Costume I, 2020) and Juppenmädchen II (Girl in Traditional Costume II, 2021) the shift of focus to the sewn line as a form-giving element is easily recognisable as a continuous process. While in the first version the artist’s photographic template is like a stencil that predetermines the position and paths of the collaged additions, in the more recent version of the portrait Lugmayr allows herself to follow her own impulses more closely and to give room to her own physical presence. With a rapid, irregular stitch, she reconstructs the two schematically suggested female figures and leaves the picture space to their movements, writes or “stiches” herself and her perspectives into this allegory of femininity. She develops her subject further—from the depiction with an artist’s comment to the construction of an individual perspective. One common aspect of all the works that is retained is the picture material of fabric whose frayed, uneven edge interrupts the endless repetition of the little stitches and dissolves it. The artist remains loyal to the textile grid of the different linen fabrics. She now openly contrasts the grid as metaphor for a seemingly ordered reality, ordering principle and symbol of the everyday with the subjective, partly chaotic, and individual path of the sewing stitches, which is frequently the product of chance—just like the decisive experiences and adventures in life. Numerous small remnants of thread that hang from the picture mark turning points, discontinuations, or simply loose ends on which the path taken by the needle stops, is set in a new direction, allows a new start, or is used. At the edges of the canvases, along with the picture medium the presupposition of an ordered reality in which everything happens along regulated paths dissolves into nothing.

Living Words
The word-painting too, for which the artist has frequently used fragments from song texts, is developing further. The meaning of the words recedes into the background, while the act of production itself acquires greater relevance. The force of the needles with which Lugmayr perforates the often thin and fragile fabric, their arrangement, the repetitions, and empty areas now convey her intention. Selbstermächtigung (Self-empowerment, 2021) and Stilles Verbluten (Silent Bleeding, 2021) impressively visualise this new form of typeface for which the word awakens to a living animism. In a mantra-like repetition the lines of letters meander, flounder, and sprawl across the fabrics, which are often full of holes, tattered or yellowed. In accordance with their word content, they wind along the picture surface, falter repeatedly, get lost in the distance only to remerge at another point, out of nowhere. For Ohne Titel (Untitled, 2022) Lugmayr goes even further, replacing words and letters with small unevenly burned circles with which she creates an irregular pattern and subsequently burns holes in the canvas. Ohne Titel is emptied of word meaning and the associations connected with it and yet is richly filled with traces of artistic presence and a visually conveyed reflection of people's often diffuse internal life that cannot really be articulated verbally. The work therefore stands as an example of the development of Lugmayr’s artistic vocabulary—from the observer and collector to the author and constructor. 
Anne Zühlke

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Atelier_01

“A look at the current work of Austrian artist Bianca Lugmayr, who lives in Vorarlberg, reveals a change in her artistic practice which has moved from the figurative works of the early years to an intensive study of language, materiality, and abstraction. The earlier themes – an examination of femaleness, the confrontation with the uncertainties of mundane life and the need to give the internal life a visual expression – still remain evident, while since 2021 her formal language has undergone a consistent self-critical renewal.

The collages of strong female figures using a mix of materials such as photographs, print and decorative textile elements on linen or paper, whose strengths, courage, and lives served Lugmayr as metaphors of an autonomous and combative female way of living, give way to the line and the textile grid as artistic means.”

— Anne Zühlke

Selected Work

Bianca Lugmayr delves deeply into language, materiality, and abstraction in her work. Her signature is the fast, freely sewn line that represents liberation from perfectionism, raw beauty, and the value of Imperfection.

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