Michelle Schmollgruber

Analogue cloud photo 100x150cm (template for tapestry), various types of wool. Photo: Michelle Schmollgruber

“The ship is the heterotopia par excellence. In civilizations without a ship, dreams dry up […].” (Foucault)
When one enters Michelle SCHMOLLGRUBER‘s studio, one simultaneously enters a heterotopia, a different place, a ship or even less (this also depends on the dreaming feet of the person entering). This swaying space – or is it more a cradling? – knows about the sea, about the tides and above all about the crossing. Crossing over (über_setzen) from one shore to the other, without knowing in advance how the arrival will turn out. A digital photo is the only template guiding the path that Michelle Schmollgruber weaves: weaving threads, each knot unique, each line unique, like pixels, knot by knot. Finally, after a long time, a tapestry emerges, or is it a flying carpet? It is certainly a tapestry that guards the dreams, dreaming with hands, with fingers, with eyes, with time that threads one time that has flown away into another.
On this ship, people begin to dream and to weave. The few arranged things in the room all refer to each other, and ultimately to Michelle Schmollgruber. She is the artist who crosses with the threads from one shore of time to another. In between, the cradling in space for herself alone; Virginia Woolf writes of “a room of one’s own,” after all. Certainly a tapestry by Schmollgruber would have hung in her room, reminiscent of a digital photograph from a time long gone, while she was writing in 1929 about what Schmollgruber weaves today: against the drying up of dreams.

Text: Judith Klemenc

Michelle Schmollgruber (*1967) works with textiles, makes street art as well as sound design and has been working with photography since her early youth. Her current works include the photographic spatial installations Feigenbaumszenario 1.0 – 4.0 (2020–2021), the project lamonstera – Zurück zu den Wurzeln (2020), and the photographic fragments mehr oder weniger ich (2019). Schmollgruber’s works have been shown, among other venues, as part of Slide Show: Rethinking Nature at the photo festivals FOTO WIEN (2022), IMAGO LISBOA (2021) and Mois européen de la photographie Luxembourg (2021), at Fotoforum Innsbruck (2016), in the context of the Democracy Congress Innsbruck (2011) and at Galerie im Andechshof Innsbruck (2000).