contemporary art / history of art

Greta Schödl

Born 1929 in Hollabrunn, Austria Greta studied at the Academy of Applied Art in Vienna (Akademie für Angewandte Kunst Wien, today University of Applied Art). She graduated in 1953 and was honoured with the Academy Price. Immediately, she was successful with her carpets and mosaics and participated in national and international exhibitions, like in the Vienna Secession, the GEDOK in Munich and the Contemporary European Tapestry in Houston, United States.

Since 1959, Greta lives in Bologna, Italy. She suspended her artistic work for seven years to devote herself to her family. Afterwards, she restarted to create new oeuvres and took part in exhibitions, first in Bologna and soon on national and international level.

Already since her childhood, Greta has a special relation to books and scripture. Not surprisingly, she introduced these elements in her artistic creations. Often she repeats words on different materials like paper, textiles or even tree bark. However, there is rarely a linguistic information, because the artist focusses rather on emotional aspects. Therefore, most of her inscriptions are in Austrian Kurrent script, the handwriting she learned first in her life. Moreover, there are several examples of asemic writing.

In the 1970s, Greta inscribed various objects with their names, like an ancient hemp peasant shirt, an ironing board, a bed sheet and a block of marble from Paros. Once again, she used the Austrian Kurrent script, except for the marble. Here the Greek word for the material is executed in Greek letters. During the lockdown in 2020, the artist revived this practise of editing precious stones and covered a whole series of found pieces. However, here the inscriptions are all with the Italian word for the type of rock, this time in Latin letters. Like on the first marble block, the choice of fonts indicates the origin of the stone. A piece of white Carrara marble is our artwork of the month June 2021.

Another recurring element within the inscriptions, are the supplement of points of gold leaf. They are situated in the empty space of one character, for example in the letter “O”. Greta describes them as points of light, which are giving the oeuvre a certain rhythm, creating a vibration. This vibration might evoke a resonance in the contemplator and a communication might arise.

The step from writings to books is relatively small. In consequence, Greta created numerous artist books with collages of different materials where often natural elements like leaves and tree bark are included. Another practice is the work with body prints, with graphic additions or alienated by enlargement, like the painting “The First Universe”, which is our artwork of the month November 2018. These examples underline, that Greta’s large artistic range is not only related to various materials and techniques, but also huge regarding the dimensions, which are varying from smaller than postcards-size to big canvases and even space-consuming installations.

Despite her advanced age, Greta constantly continues her work. Since a few years, the Richard Saltoun Gallery, London, represents her. They showed her oeuvres in 2016 at the Turin, Italy based art fair Artissima and in 2017 at the paper works focussing WOP Art in Lugano, Switzerland. In 2018 the gallery dedicated her the double personal exhibition “Tomaso Binga & Greta Schödl: Vocalizing” at the gallery’s seat. One year later, they presented her creations at the Frieze in New York and in 2020 at the Artgenève. Also organised by Richard Saltoun, was an online exhibition in May 2021, with the new stone works. At this years’ MIART in Milan in September, the Labs Gallery from Bologna will show her oeuvres in a double personal exhibition.

Artwork of the Month / June 2021

Artwork of the month / November 2018

Greta Schödl: All my experience enters into my work