A colorful Birthday

“(…) Erika Kassnel-Henneberg provides a roller coaster of emotions with her work “Postludium” (…) What locals may recognize as the historic Augsburg Gaswerk, at least at second glance, could trigger other associations for those not familiar with the area: The bare, barred rooms in black and white, pipelines and signage, right down to the forged advertising slogan above the gate, all evoke – intentionally or not – unpleasant memories. (…)” Manuel Schedl: Alles Bunte zum Geburtstag, A3 Kultur

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Artist Talk Utopia on the Horizon

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Zeitungsartikel Uncanny Valley

Uncanny Valley – Reviews


“(…) Erika Kassnel-Henneberg (…) raises a number of deliberately open questions on the basis of seven videos and several Polaroid photos. If one faces these questions, thoughtfulness, even unease fills the rooms.(…)” Rüdiger Heinze, Künstliche Intelligenz: Unbehagen im Höhmannhaus, Augsburger Allgemeine vom 16.02.2023

“(…)Can and may we bring people back to life through old photographs? Can we enjoy portraits of people who never existed? And do we still need people at all to perform human acts?

Erika Kassnel-Henneberg’s works do not provide answers, but they ask the right questions. (…)” Manuel Schedl, Nicht-Existenzen, A3 Kultur vom 13.02.2023

Foto: Manuel Schedl

Exhibition view

Artist talk

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Künstlergespräch Uncanny Valley, Künstlerin Erika Kassnel-Henneberg und Dr. Thomas Elsen

Uncanny Valley – Artist Talk


On 23 February 2023, an artist talk took place in the rooms of the Neue Galerie im Höhmannhaus, moderated by Dr. Thomas Elsen, director of the Neue Galerie im Höhmannhaus. The event lasted approx. 90 min.

Excerpt: about the Lego survey

Excerpt: Erika, where is your Uncanny Valley?

Excerpt: about Deep Paula

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Art Award Winners 2022

“Erika Kassnel-Henneberg’s media are collage, photography and video. The content of her works revolves around her own as well as found memories and their artistic reflection. The focus of her interest is always the human being with his subjective perception and his ability to remember, to forget, to associate and to create consciously or unconsciously his own utopia. In doing so, the artist characterizes forgetting as an ability, not as a deficit. At the same time, she embeds this approach, which is her own, in an expanded, existential questioning. “Today we know that memory is neither true, nor objective, nor complete. We lay traces, collect documents and photographs, and archive them. I see in this an existential doubt: who am I really if I cannot trust my memory and the memory of others? If I leave no traces, did I ever exist?”

Already in her earlier collage works, which are of high aesthetic quality and testify to a sensitive handling of the materials used, the confrontation with her own history is reflected. As viewers, we find in these artistic images assembled from drawing, frottage, various papers, photographs and wax, again and again a fundamental reflection on the nature of memory. This is also evident in the artist’s Polaroids, which represent a concentrated group of works in their own right. Technical observations (e.g. of “noise” as a physical quantity) are reflected here in her own aesthetic designs: “The Polaroid camera makes memory visible. It has a subjective and flawed view of the world. In it, the present rushes and leaves behind a vague view of the past.” We also find this in the experimental video works, which, for all their technical sophistication, sometimes seem almost like moving, faded images from a family album of days gone by. All of this together results in a homogeneous overall artistic design that is convincingly in line with the extremely conscientiously constructed CV in the artist’s application letter.”

Excerpt from the jury’s statement for the 2022 Art Award ceremony 2022/09/26

Ansichtssache – Review

Excerpt from the opening speech by Helm Zirkelbach on the occasion of the exhibition “Ansichtssache” in Münsingen:

With the 365 art cards on black wooden panels by Eri Kassnel, a third, completely different handwriting enters the art game of the cards and we can easily recognise many religious motifs, images of saints and representations of the Mother of God and the Child Jesus. The artist begins to interweave these with photographs from her own past, thus connecting in a fascinating way living people she knows herself, like her own mother, and interweaves them with the Mother of God, places her in the centre, or puts another larger head on the representation of the saint, which irritates and makes me wonder with what ease this seems to succeed.

The good Catholic believes in a God who is a person, but this cannot be proven and one must believe in it in order to then recognise it as reality. The soul is then the symbol that circumscribes the unity of the human and divine personhood. Eri Kassnel’s depictions of this mother-son bond show this balancing act for me.
For me, Eri Kassnel’s depictions of this mother-son bond show this tightrope walk by inserting people from her environment, for example, in a gold-studded monstrance in a shadowy way and thus releasing them for adoration and veneration.

Or the large black-framed collage over here on the wall, on whitewashed newspaper appears the black-and-white photograph of a woman, perhaps with her two daughters? They are all wearing three dresses made of the same fabric, in the middle is a postcard of a monstrance with figures of saints, above it is handwritten Trinity. Does the Trinity refer to the clothing of the women or to the arrangement and divinity of the persons, that is left to us viewers to decide.

Sometimes in the middle of summer there is autumn, sometimes in the middle of the day something nocturnal, like the negative image of an old tree, I am fascinated and I feel rigid, as if without joints, as if without limbs.
The child, the infant Jesus, is exchanged with perhaps the brother or someone else and it becomes comprehensible to all of us that the infant can only develop by trusting in its mother, only by trusting in another person, can its own personhood develop fruitfully.

The artist also shows us that this cannot always succeed by letting robotic demons appear, by completely blackening and veiling the mother, by inserting a multitude of disturbances into the relationship and we suspect that we ourselves carry an enormous number of disturbances within us.

This seems to me to be the central message of Eri Kassnel’s gruelling and thoroughly disturbing iconic images. But, take a look for yourself and find out where this unusual journey is going.

Helm Zirkelbach, Erika Kassnel-Henneberg, Marlies Achermann-Gisinger and Antje Fischer
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Art Radio Ö1


25 years after the end of the Cold War, a great political distance between Western Europe (e.g. Austria) and Eastern Europe (e.g. Romania) can once again be discerned in many places. The historical elective affinities between the cities of Vienna and Timisoara alone show that this is a distorted picture. For the play “Utopia lives next door”, the authors move through the two cities, inspired by the situationist concept of psychogeographical exploration. The starting points of the “wanderings” are the districts of Innere Stadt and Josefstadt (which exist in Vienna and Timisoara because of their shared history). From the field recordings collected in the process, they compose the soundscape of a utopian city in which the opposition of West and East is suspended. Woven into the composition are sound recordings of contemporary witnesses who remember living together in solidarity in Vienna and Timisoara under difficult social and political conditions in different phases of the 20th century. The quotations are placed in a dialogue-like relationship to each other on the basis of common thematic motifs, which open up a view of the “surplus of the possible in the real” (Erich Köhler) of the real history of Austria and Romania. The speakers are Friederike Brenner (born 1923 in Mödling near Vienna) and Johann Kassnel (born 1932 in Jahrmarkt near Timisoara).

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