Saturday, 13 December 2014

Totentanz, Christiane Baumgartner

I was introduced to the work of Christiane Baumgartner by Olga of Threading Thoughts so when I found out that there was an exhibition of her work in London, we went to see it. We saw four exhibitions of different artists in Mayfair that day, all small but delightful.

Totentanz by Christiane Baumgartner, at Alan Cristea Gallery, Cork Street, London.

Baumgarter is known for her woodcuts taken from her own video stills in which she employs a system of carefully carved horizontal lines that taper and thicken in such a way that images merge. The viewer is forced to work hard to recognise the image, and through having to put in the effort, we are more conscious of what it is, we pay more attention. Viewer participation is required as is the case with a lot of modern art.

She is interested in the contrast between the modern and sometimes distanced process of shooting digital video and the physicality of creating prints using ancient woodcutting techniques. By combining two seemingly opposing mediums, notions of time, movement and transition are embedded in the work.


Wald bei Colditz (Wood near Colditz).

A series of forest scenes.


Totentanz, (Dance of Death).

A 15-part work printed in electric blue, that depicts the smoke trails of a plane which has been shot down and is falling from the sky.



Deep Water

Reflections in a canal. The title references the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010, which happened whilst the artist was participating in a residency in Birmingham when she collected footage for the piece.

Vince Court.



  1. I am pleased that you enjoyed the exhibition. I do so admire her work, not least because of the combination of techniques: contemporary and traditional. Totentanz brings to mind the downing of the plane over Ukraine, about which the newspapers and broadcast media seem to have forgotten.

    1. I enjoyed it very much, Olga, and I'm very glad to have seen her work. We were going to London for the Gerhard Richter exhibition, and Gaumgartner was just round the corner - such luck.