Sophie Utikal

There Is No Separation

Sophie Utikal

There Is No Separation

Curated by

Felicitas Thun-Hohenstein


04 Feb – 14 Mai 2022

Opening day

03 Feb 11:00 – 18:00


Rennweg 110-116, 1030 Vienna

Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

With the exhibition ‘There is No Separation’ Neuer Kunstverein Wien is pleased to present a solo show by the artist Sophie Utikal. The expansive in situ installation of hand-sewn textile works navigates the viewer through a liminal space filled with ambivalence and uncertainty. On fabric panels several metres high and wide, figures applied with powerful stitches explore threshold experiences, surveying the in-between zones of different states, as well as the intertwining of topographies and temporalities. Dedicated to those whose biographies are usually underrepresented, Utikal’s works focus on the body and its language:

‘My art is for those whose biographies are not represented in media or in a structural way: First, second, third generations of migrants in Germany, hybrids who constantly fall out and have to re-establish their own worlds. I believe that it is necessary to be seen in one's own complexity in order to be. I believe that there are many different worlds at the same time that are interconnected. When my world ends, so does yours.’

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To look at these fabrics is to look through windows into landscapes where groupings of women have gone together to the end of the world, where they are now building a new life, knowing that they have already left one (or many) behind. They are aware of this, but it no longer plays a decisive role in shaping the now and the future, in shaping their own persona.

‘Whether I actually mean others by it or myself in the diversity and contradictoriness of my character is less essential than the encounter with–and in–each other and oneself.’

If Utikal's paintings were a novel, we would have quite a few main characters. A family of people, brought together by choice, who know they are vulnerable, who know they are human, who know that they themselves occupy only one-twentieth of the image they inhabit. What surrounds them is just as crucial as what they are. This is about connectedness, belonging and shared existence.

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