Magdalena Kröner

Foreign Bodies: about the work of Margret Wibmer


Margret Wibmer’s photo-collages explore what the French philosopher Jacques Derrida calls “that which is not knowable as such.”

Surreal ensembles of spaces and bodies, which are always newly conceived in her work, are permeated by signs of a complex culturalization that transcends both geographic limits and unambiguous historical classifications. Margret Wibmer develops a complex plexus of cultural codes that materialize in a piece of furniture or a certain type of clothing.

The opposite pole to the spaces, which describe a vague functionality, is formed by the presence of female bodies, which are dominated by latency and passivity. The body and its surroundings remain peculiarly unconnected. The body doesn’t fit into what surrounds it. It doesn’t adapt to its environment.

One feature shared by all motifs is their multiple fragmentation, in which the constructed and willful character of the artistic setting is disclosed. The figures, which have a strongly excerpted character, appear as foreign bodies in alien surroundings which are filled with suggested but unresolved historical references.

Like their surrounding spaces, the bodies that have been inserted into the picture are socially and culturally shaped and reshaped. Rather than suggesting immediacy or innocence, the partial nakedness of the bodies is used as a monochrome surface that breaks into the frequently chaotic surrounding space.

At the dawn of the so-called “Cyber Age,” some theorists envisioned an imminent de-materialization of the body, which was expected to dissolve in the digital currents of virtuality. Margret Wibmer’s photos, which seem to have fallen out of time, assert the body as the medium of a disconcerting obduracy.