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Art Talk Princeton

Art Talk: Eva Flatscher

Date/time: 
Apr 24 2014 - 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Location: 
Community Room

The artist, a Princeton resident who was born in Vienna, discusses her work that is on display in the gallery on the library’s second floor. Flatscher is a painter and performer who works in an avant-garde combination of painting, dance and music known as Light Painting. Community Room

 

http://www.princetonlibrary.org/events/2014/04/art-talk-eva-flatscher

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Light Painting

Forty paintings by Eva Flatscher, presented in a newly published catalog, were drafted during live performances, but finished in a meticulous process of refinement and detailed elaboration at her studio in Princeton, New Jersey, USA. The fortpieces of art that are presented have a history and stand or themselves in their own right.
 Eva Flatscher is a Viennese painter and performer working in an avantgarde combination of painting, dance and music known as  Light  Painting. She performs frequently with outstanding musicans from differing backgrounds  - classical, jazz, new music -  and with renowned dancers throughout Europe and the USA. It is transcending art Eva Flatscher creates. It transcends traditional boundaries between art forms and expands ho
zons. Uniquely for a fine artist, she paints live in front of an audience. She creates in the moment for the momen
 without using any preproduced material. She uses light instead of paint, a grip pen instead of a brush. It is a digital performance, that has its roots with the Dutch masters of the 17th century. Johannes Vermeer knew, that with the first stroke of the brush a painting is ready and readable in its entirety. Without this technique live painting in front of an audience would be impossible.  
Eva Flatscher transforms our understanding of fine art and takes it to an entirely new level.

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Visible music

I learned about Eva Flatschers art in 2004, when I was
artistic director of the Festival Hall, St. Pölten, in Austria. I
was in dance all my life and grew under the guidance of
the best of the business. The fabulous Rudolf Nurejew was
my great mentor. After having danced at the highest level
at the Vienna State Opera and the great Opera Houses of
the globe, I had the honor to lead one of the finest dance
companies in St. Pölten, Austria for three wonderful years.
Eva's work impressed me enormously, as her art ma-
kes music visible. It was so unique and new and an ex-
citing prospect. I worked hard to bring the extraordinary
work of Eva and modern ballet together, and failed - not
for artistic but for financial reasons. We ran out of funding.
But we were lucky and managed to arrange a brea-
thtaking evening with the phenomenal musican Eivind Aar-
set and Eva Flatscher at the Festival Hall. It was an over-
whelming spectacel and a smashing success.
Eva Flatscher is a great pionier of art and I consider
myself lucky to have worked with her. 

Text: Michael Birkmeyer- The author was 1. Solo Dancer and Director of the School of Ballet at the Vienna State Opera, Austria, and 

Artistic Director of the Festival Hall St. Pölten, Austria. He is considered one of the great disciples of Rudolf Nurejew.

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New book published

The new book  is titled Lighpainting by Eva Flatscher presents forty paintings by the artist,
that were drafted during live performances, but finished
in a meticulous process of refinement and detailed elaboration at her studio in Princeton, New Jersey. The forty
pieces of art that are presented have a history and stand for themselves in their own right.
Eva Flatscher is a Viennese painter and performer,working in an avantgarde combination of painting, dance,
and music known as Light Painting.
She performs frequently with outstanding musicans from differing back
grounds - classical, jazz, new music - and with renowned dancers throughout Europe and the United States.
Eva Flatscher creates transcending art, that breaks traditional boundaries between art forms and expands horizons. Uniquely for a fine artist, she paints live in front of
an audience. Her work is created in the moment for the
moment - without using any preproduced material. She
uses light instead of paint, a grip pen instead of a brush. It
is a digital performance, that has its roots with the Dutch
masters of the 17th century. Johannes Vermeer knew, that
with the first stroke of the brush a painting is ready and
readable in its entirety. Without this technique live painting
in front of an audience would be impossible.
Eva Flatscher transforms traditional understanding of

fine art and takes it to an entirely new level.

More Information
Order the book

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Mysteries of fairytales

My first encounter with Eva Flatscher's artistic work
was long ago, but it remains fresh in my memory. How
unexpected then was this experience, not only for me,
but for all who were able to be present: the whirling
dance of colors created by the painter in time with the
music, her brush strokes matching its staccato sounds,
embedded in an ever-evolving design. In these cons -
tantly changing digital images there seemed to hide a
sweeping tale, which we enchanted spectators were
seeking to decipher! It was a great experience, though
it is now long past.
But her work – her endeavor to tell a story through
grand gestures of movement, of dance, of colors suf-
fused like suns with light and life-giving gladness – has
progressed further. With artistic certitude, and in a truly
natural way, it has found its unique form of expression,
which is described only in part by the name Lightpain-
ting. Dance and music, movement and formal com -
position, the colors of paintings, often modeled on the
works of great masters, generated in the brilliance of
light and digitally transformed: these are the formati -
ve elements not simply of Eva Flatscher's work but of
the world as a whole. All of these elements, united by  the guiding hand of the artist – the "storyteller" – mir-
 ror the world, tell stories, mysteries or fairytales, show
 signs of oneness with our feelings, perceptions and
 thoughts. And in this way your compositions convey
 their import. At times, Eva Flatscher's productions re-
 call the Traumpfade, the "song lines" or "dream lines"
 of the Australian aborigines, who by dancing and sin-
 ging seek to decipher the mystery of the cosmos, of
 Dreamtime, in a pictorial realization of the past. So also
 Eva Flatscher's performances, with dancers in the role
 of thaumaturges, offer in their dramatic configuration
 and amalgamation of music, movement and densely
 textured compositions of color an image of our world,
 of our existence. To immerse oneself in them brings
 delight!
 Wilfried Seipel :  The author was Executive Director
 of the Museum of History of Art (KHM) in Vienna from
 1990 to 2008, he is honorary president of ICOM, the
 Interntional Council of Museums. The  "El Greco" and
 "Bruegel" exhibitions during his tenure were among
 his greatest successes.

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New level

Born in Vienna in 1965, Eva Flatscher studied free
and applied painting at the School of Arts. Since 1992,
she has worked as a freelance visual artist. In 2002 she
brought the concept of  Light  Painting to the public realm,
and since then she has practiced her art in concert halls,
at international festivals, and in public venues both in Eu-
rope and in the United States. With  Light Painting, the
Austrian performer unites the art forms of music, painting,
and dance in a unique and electrifying manner. As dan-
cers move on the stage and music sounds, she directs
them both, the musicians and the dancers, through her
painting. In this way, she seeks not to produce a backdrop
to the stage but to bring her painting together on the same
level with the other art forms.
Technical Requirements
Rather than painting in a conventional manner, Ms.
Flatscher trades in her brush and canvas for an A1 graphic
tablet and plotter pen in order to transform her art into
something dynamic. Her simple setup also includes a lap -
top, the software program Adobe Photoshop®, and one
or more multimedia projectors. Her medium during the
performance is light. With these implements she paints
before the audience’s eyes, without following a pre-deter- mined design. The painting is projected right on the stage
 as it takes shape during the performance.
 The Concept behind  Light Painting
 Eva Flatscher conceives of her work, which develops
 live on stage through improvisation, as a narrative activi -
 ty, in which the lines that she paints carry the story for-
 ward. The narrative is reflected in the music and also in the
 dance. For the musicians, what carries the energy is not
 line, but tone. For the dancers, it is movement.
 In this way, all of the art forms that Eva Flatscher
 places side by side in her performances have a narrative
 function. By ‘listening’ to one another through movement,
 tone, and line, the performers seek to create a dramatic
 arc that tells the audience a tale.
 Through the dancers, Flatscher’s work becomes
 three dimensional. They serve as solid, figurative elements
 in the abstract work of art. During the performance, the
 layers of painting, music, and dance interpenetrate. Each
 art form reacts to the others and influences them as well.
 Eva Flatscher establishes anchor points for the ‘plot-line’
 of the story that is to be told. The gaps between these
 points are then filled through free improvisation. Their mu-
 tual interaction forces the artists to move out of their cus -

tomary environments and to engage with what is foreign.
This appears to be an interesting challenge, particularly
for the musicians. While under ‘normal conditions’ musi -
cians improvise by listening to one another play, in  Light
Painting they must react to movement and color.
 When the performance is over, Eva Flatscher captures
the work of art that has been created. Although the dance
comes to a standstill and the music fades, she converts
the resulting images into a series of paintings.
Music and Dance
 Two commissioned works proved to be transforma-
tive experiences with music for Eva Flatscher (cycles of
paintings to accompany Pictures at an Exhibition by M.P.
Mussorgskij und the jazz oratorio, Eversmiling Liberty, by
Jens Johansen und Erling Kulberg, freely adapted from
Georg Friedrich Händel). Through these projects, she
gained public notice as a visual artist. These days, she
does not restrict herself when selecting music for her
performances. Of interest to her is any substantial pie-
ce of music – from the twelfth to the twentyfirst century,
from diverse cultures, and of various musical styles – with
which images might be associated. Movement was also
drawn into the concept of  Light Painting from the very

 beginning. At first, however, the type of movement was
 that of Physical Theater (storytelling through movement).
 Only later did Eva Flatscher work with dancers. Here also
 she started small, progressing from a single moving figure
 in her paintings to her present work with groups of dan-
 cers. The collaborative work proceeds under the motto:
 See with the ears and hear with the eyes.
 During the performance, the different art forms must
 communicate with one another and take turns following
 one another. A different art form thus takes the lead in
 each segment of the performance. For this reason, the
 rehearsals are immensely important. The artists seek to
 construct a dramaturgic arc whose substance the perfor-
 mance can then follow. Most of all, the rehearsals enab -
 le the artists to learn to understand one another. Mutual
 understanding is crucial to the success of improvisation
 during the performance. Thus, the collaborative work is
 facilitated by several rehearsals.
 The Performance
 The goal of the performers is to show that artists and
 ‘listeners’ are part of a greater whole. Through her pain-
 ting, Eva Flatshcer seeks to transform tonal colors into vi -
 sual colors. In this way, the ‘listeners’ – but also the musi -
 cians and dancers – can see the music. She understands
 her work during the presentation itself as a process too.

Taking great delight in experimentation, she continually in-
 corporates new dimensions into her work. The paintings
 that emerge in connection with music are digitally recor-
 ded on film and later reused in installations. In this way, the
 performance serves as a kind of studio for Eva Flatscher.
 Rather than working alone in seclusion, she stands (when
 the setting allows) right in the middle of the public, so dra-
 wing them into her work. The individual art forms overlap
 with one another, and yet each is able to retain its own in-
 tegrity. So dancers frolic with splashes of color, Flatscher
 moves along to the music, and the musicians respond to
 the resulting play of colors.
 Eva Flatscher’s living three-dimensional paintings fill
 the room and afford the audience an amazing, over-the-
 top spectacle, an immersion in art itself. Reactions to this
 artwork come to expression in the comments of artists
 and spectators: Eva, how do you know the colors I was
 seeing while I was composing? The plotter pen dances.
 Or, Eva, I can feel the colors.


 Author: Hester Schodterer,  University of Vienna,
 Austria, Institut of Musicology. The reproduced text is an
 excerpt of a scientific paper written by Ms. Schodterer.

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