Kevin Henderson
Drawings of the Sky. Birgit Jürgenssen interviewed by Kevin Henderson
In: Exh. cat. Birgit Jürgenssen. Früher oder Später (Linz: Oberösterreichisches Landesmuseum, 1998), p. 116; first published in: Alba, 12, 1989, p. 41.

KH: Your earlier work concerned itself with drawing. Does this still play a central role in your photographic pieces?

BJ: It does. Not with the camera but in the combining of images with slide projections. This is about drawing, and color and immediacy. What is important is the combination. My exhibition at Graeme Murray’s happened in three stages—the drawing, the exhibition and thirdly the catalogue which deals with light, darkness, and anarchy.

KH: Raymond Chandler is mentioned in the catalogue. His ability to hold a reader’s attention while describing a thoroughly ordinary scene is unique. Would you comment on Chandler`s writing in regard to your own work?

BJ: I was trying to simplify what I was doing yet also keep the complexity that Chandler attains. It allows more room for my own ideas. There is freedom in his work that allows for movement, and I like that. mehr

KH: By stretching fabric over many of the photographs you have taken what was initially a first step in the earlier work—the ground—and used it as the final gesture. Why did you do this?

BJ: At the art academy I learned so many techniques and I became involved in the idea of process, and it is this idea that is continued in what I do.

KH: Does the concept of camouflage interest you?

BJ: I like the idea that the fabric changes the image. You can only see the image clearly from the front. From the sides it looks dark—black or blue. It is like making a photograph and then hiding it. Making visible and then concealing. I also like the material, it is like silk. It is very erotic and tactile, and this is strange because you do not normally touch photographs. It is like going forward and backward.

KH: Images of molecular structures, numerical systems, and esoteric systems are juxtaposed in a number of these works with, for example, the image of a woman’s skirt. What is your reason for placing such images within the same frame of reference?

BJ: The woman’s skirt is similar to the fabric. I am using it as something you can look through and also because it is similar to the spiral. I also worked with books which dealt with alchemy, particularly one which dealt with drawings of the sky, and the names of people who discovered its various aspects.

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