“We enjoyed Albania and the people very much. To be in contact and also working with art students and artists from Albania have been inspiring for us. It is a start for more projects and more cooperation,” Austrian artists, Annemarie and Gunther Fahrner after the participation in their photographic exhibition and “AIEx-Iron Lady” workshop
By Genc Mlloja
Senior Diplomatic Editor
“Art- a Process of Liberation” with the participation of the Austrian artists, Annemarie and Gunther Fahrner has been a kind of a gift for a different celebration of Women’s Day in Tirana with two key events – an exhibition and a workshop, which was a continuation of the tradition of the ‘Iron Lady’.
The Austrian Embassy in Tirana in cooperation with the Austrian Institute of Excellence (AIEx) organized the photographic exhibition with metal art works by Annemarie and Gunther Fahrner, the founders of the well-known Atelier Fahrner, at AIEx Welding Training Wiener Werkstatt in Tirana on March 6 this year which became particularly attractive by the presence of both the Austrian artist couple in the event attended by art lovers and representatives of the diplomatic corps in Tirana.
The invitees and the artists present in the launching of the exhibition were greeted by Dr. Christian Steiner, Head of the Austrian Embassy in Tirana, and the AIEx Managing Director Bianca Duro.
“Violence is the weapon of the weak man. Nonviolence is the weapon of the strong,” was a saying by Mahatma Gandhi which was highlighted in Austrian Embassy’s invitation to the opening ceremony of the photographic exhibition.
In her remarks in the event Mrs. Annemarie Fahrner expressed the pleasure of her husband and herself for unveiling in Tirana their art through photographs of their metal art works motivated by the motto: “Art, a Process of Liberation”.
The second event was held on 9th of March by the Austrian Institute of Excellence which organized the workshop called the “Iron Lady” that has been going on for four years now offering various themes such as welding art, recycling crafts, handmade wire jewelry, and candle decoration.
The Austrian artists Annemarie and Gunther Fahrner were the novelty of this year’s workshop with their participation in a demonstration for daring Albanian women and girls who wanted to experiment and challenge themselves through welding and crafting with recycled materials.
Who are Atelier Fahrner’s Founders and Their Mottos?
Mrs. Annemarie Fahrner was born in 1966 in St. Veit an der Glan (Carinthia), and now she lives and works in Wesenufer (Upper Austria). She studied psychology in Innsbruck, and worked as a psychologist, but since 2004 she works as a freelance artist.
“Steel sculptures are at the center of my artistic examination. Mythological characters are my favorite subjects. The combination of different elements with metal particularly appeals to me. Animal skulls are sometimes worked into the metal sculptures and this connection is expanded with Venetian mosaic technology. This creates a field of tension that points into the depth of the meaning of the objects. For me, art is above all meaningful to make hidden connections visible and to get to the roots of existence,” says Annemarie Fahrner.
While Mr. Gunther Fahrner was born in 1961 in Tyrol, and now he lives and works in Wesenufer (Upper Austria). He studied philosophy, and worked as a psychotherapist. Since 2004 he works as a freelance artist.
“For me, art is above all a process of liberation. Through the intensive examination of the world and human existence in artistic work, there are always densifications in knowledge, which ultimately leads to a deeper understanding of being. This conscious anchoring in the world leads to a liberation that seems essential to me. In this sense, art is the best theology and politics for me at the same time. It is able to touch the very foundation of existence. Enduring these tensions is an essential prerequisite that an artist has to bring with him so that he does not despair of the creative work, but grows on it. Art permeates my thinking and feeling, it determines how I perceive the world. Art is the best way to understand the world and to deal with it. Metal is a medium that I particularly appreciate. It is particularly suitable to give shape to my ideas. It gives me great pleasure to lift archetypal content from the depths of the unconscious and to bring it to life in an artistic form,” says Gunther Fahrner.
Full interview with Annemarie and Gunther Fahrner
– In the first place thank you for the opportunity to learn something more about what stands behind the philosophy of your metal artistic works and please can you unveil how this exceptional endeavor has started?
– There are two important backgrounds for our art: It is philosophy and psychology. Annemarie worked as a psychologist. Here special interest was to help women to expand their possibilities and to create more space for their actions.
Gunther studied Philosophy and worked as a psychotherapist. In this working field he realized how powerful symbols are. And he especially used them to free the mind of the people.
Art has always been a main part for us. About twenty years ago there was a significant change when we began to use metal. It was our material. We decided to do art only and try to transport our information in this way.
– ‘Process of liberation’- how has this inspirational art experience connected Annemarie and Gunther Fahrner, and what has it delivered in the course of time?
– The power of symbols was evident for us. So it was a small step to use them in our art. A great source of the symbols is in all kinds of mythology and of course especially in the Greek mythology. To create the sculptures has also a great impact on us.
It has changed our way to see things and how we reflect the world. Normally you prefer to use the ratio and the rest of our conscious is not used very much. But there are more ways to see the world. Art made our insight wider.
– Which are your favorite subjects in your artistic work, and what prompts your inspiration?
– We like themes of the Greek mythology very much! But every culture has got very valuable mythologies and we are always interested to learn more. Inspiration means to be open for new fields of insight.
– Can you tell us, please, how have your works been appreciated by the art lovers in your country and wherever they have been exhibited? And as a follow up, which was the motive of your coming to Albania? How has it been made possible?
– Our works are all over Europe from Denmark to Cyprus. There are several permanent exhibitions in Austria (Otztaler Sagenweg, Keltischer Sagenweg).
DI Bianca Duro and Dr. Hans Spermbauer were the initiators for our coming to Tirana. The Austrian Institute of Excellence organized this event. It was an interesting project for us to do this in Tirana.
– Your works were displayed in Tirana on the occasion of Women’s Day when a performance of welding women has been carried out following the launch of the exhibition. Which is the message given by these two events to Albanian women and generally to the society of this Balkan country?
– We used the four – year old tradition of the Austrian Institute of Excellence to make an “AIEx-Iron Lady” workshop.
During the Women´s Day there was the opportunity for the guests to create their own sculpture. They could share the experience to do a creative work.
It was interesting for both sides to work together and to find a good solution.
– A few days in Albania… but, anyway, which are your impressions of your artistic experience in this country and certainly of its people who have had a tremendous historical link with Austria?
-We enjoyed Albania and the people very much. To be in contact and also working with art students and artists from Albania have been inspiring for us. It is a start for more projects and more cooperation. And we are sure that DI Bianca Duro and Dr. Hans Spermbauer will support this idea in the future./ADN