The window - in itself, a classic motif of longing - denies the viewer visual contact with the outside world as if covered by an opaque curtain, leaving what lies beyond to the imagination.
Richard Jurtitsch has been drawing and painting since early childhood. In his most recent paintings, the artist focuses on the depiction of window glass covered with raindrops. These ‘drop paintings’ are executed in a striking photorealistic manner, yet exude an air of mystery. They allow the viewer only to see the unclear surface and prevent us from seeing what lies beyond, to determine our place in this visual story.
INTERVIEW WITH THE ARTIST
Q. You started your career in screen printing, lithography, and graphic design. How did you arrive at deciding to become a painter?
A. When I was young, I could not possibly imagine that the profession of an artist - of a painter - would be a serious main occupation. It was only later on that my view changed and I became an independent visual artist.
Q. Was there a decisive moment in your career as an artist?
A. When I sold my first paintings it was an immense affirmation of my work because I never imagined that I could survive on painting.
Q. In your current series of works, windows are the main motif. They are often covered, at least partially, with curtains and there seems to be a constant interplay between inside and outside - the private and the public sphere. What attracted you to this particular theme?
A. Curtains are a special motif of longing for me as I associate them with melancholy moments from my childhood. Wonderful sunshine, a curtain gently billowing in the wind, the sound of children playing behind it but not being able to see them. This feeling does something to me!
Q. Your works seem to breathe a certain melancholy, a longing for that which lies beyond the pictorial plane. Is this a feeling you consciously try to evoke?
A. Yes, because I know that each of us has experienced similar impressions and emotions and I try to re-invoke and stimulate these.
Q. There seems to be a certain narrative element to your work, but although the viewer takes on the role of observer, he cannot quite decipher what is going on. Are narrative structures an aspect that is important to your work and process?
A. Narrative structures are very important in my work, but abstract elements are equally important. I formulate my language based on both, which I hope will make it more understandable.
Q. Are the windows you choose as motifs based on real places or moments you have experienced?
A. Yes, they are depictions of real windows and spaces that I have a personal connection with.
Q. Your paintings are devoid of human presence. Is this feeling of absence an essential element?
A. Yes, that is certainly an essential element in my work. I like to convey the feeling of a presence - of people that are just not visible at the moment.
Q. Do you think there is a certain voyeuristic aspect to your work?
A. Yes, there certainly is. In my series "Visiting ....", the subjects are almost exclusively based on old, historical photographs that provide a deeply personal insight into the private lifestyles of the various personalities whose homes are depicted.
Q. There is one painting in our collection that stands out: Zu Gast bei Karl Kraus, which seems to be a record of a very specific moment. Can you tell us a little more about this work?
A. This work was created in the course of the series of works mentioned earlier, "Zu Gast bei ...". After the death of Karl Krauss, his apartment was photographed for documentation purposes (these photos are in the possession of the Handschriftensammlung of the City of Vienna). Later, the interior was stolen by the National Socialists and thus only the photos remained.
Q. Do you think you will reach a point at which you will feel that your window series is complete?
A. Yes, of course, but since I am working on several series simultaneously, it is not yet finished at this time for me.
Q. Could you describe your work in three words?
A. Living - Feeling - Working!