What do you think comes out when a trained physiotherapist brings together a former TV-presenter and a painter? Of course, three-dimensional works of art based on photographs of interesting sports cars! The Salzburg gallery owner Dana Schweizer had the right nose for it. With photographer Carolina Porsche and painter Ilona Griss-Schwärzler, she brought together two creative minds who were immediately on the same wavelength. The trio created the exhibition “Dynamic Moments” at the Porsche Center Salzburg. A total of 38 pictures, mostly of Porsche sports cars, of various colors were on display there.
Ilona Griss-Schwärzler: The passion for art was always there. As a teenager, I had the opportunity to try out all kinds of things in studios alongside school. I liked that so much that I continued to train in this profession. Then, in the mid-90s, I founded my first studio and have been completely dedicated to art ever since. The longing for it has probably been in me all my life.
Dana Schweizer: I have carried the love of art within me since childhood. Professionally, however, the path has led me first in the physiotherapy. Working with and on people always gave me great pleasure. A few years ago, however, I started painting again more intensively. Finally, two years ago, I took the courage to venture into a combination of artistic work and gallery. I will certainly never regret the step.
Carolina Porsche: I have always been creative and have always been able to bring that into my work. No matter if it was for my work at a newspaper, on television or as a photographer. What all my jobs had in common was that you needed a certain eye. “Dynamic Moments” was my first real art project. The initial spark to become self-employed as a photographer came with the family and the move from Vienna to Salzburg. Being self-employed allows me to flexibly schedule my projects.
Dana Schweizer: It started with a visit to Carolina (Porsche) in her studio. When I was allowed to see her photos, I immediately had the impression that she has a good eye. Her pictures reflected her feelings, so to speak. I instantly thought about a collaboration with Ilona (Griss-Schwärzler). She has an incredible technical knowledge and I thought this could fit.
Ilona Griss-Schwärzler: I always need new challenges. For the 2008 European Football Championship, I did a similar project with a photographer from Vorarlberg, and a Welsh film team even flew to the gallery in Salzburg for a report. At that time, they reported in Wales on what they saw as the three best art contributions to the European Championship. There, too, I did paintings over photo shoots. And Caro’s photos immediately appealed to me, both in terms of craftsmanship and subject matter. Our collaboration harmonized wonderfully right from the start.
Carolina Porsche: I felt the same way. I found it exciting to do something completely new. After “getting to know each other” it was immediately clear that we got along well. We agreed to do three pictures as a trial and it went great. Only then did we expand the project.
Ilona Griss-Schwärzler: After those three images, it was immediately clear to both of us that we wanted to work on a large, diverse spectrum. “Dynamic Moments” should cover all facets from monochrome to color. The highest premise was always to reproduce the three-dimensionality in different moods.
Ilona Griss-Schwärzler: Very special effects can be achieved through the different materials. The image thus gains a lot of depth and dynamics, appears – as indicated – three-dimensional. I was able to develop this technique over the last fifteen years. First I had thought about what effects I wanted to achieve and then searched for the appropriate materials. Acrylic paint, some other materials and epoxy resin alternate in layers, the topping is done with oil paint.
This resulted in about 30 to 40 layers per picture. The drying times between them and the size of the picture naturally determine how long it takes in the end. But as a guideline, one can assume about three weeks of processing time per picture. A good year passed from the conception to the completion of the exhibition “Dynamic Moments” with its 38 pictures.
Carolina Porsche: For me, it wasn’t that easy at first. Otherwise, I decide as a photographer myself, from the motif, to the selection of photos, to the editing. So the final product is in my hands from front to back. Of course I knew Ilona’s work, but before the first result I was quite nervous. It is quite a learning to hand over your work without knowing what will come out in the end.
Ilona Griss-Schwärzler: I would also find it difficult to hand over my works from my own hand. But I really appreciated and felt Carolina’s trust. Normally I work very much freely according to my intention, often expressively. That’s why I tried to approach the works as free as possible in terms of thought. If I put the brakes on myself, the result won’t be good. Therefore, I approached the task quite pragmatically. I started where I had an image in mind from the outset. The luminescent colors on the blue and green works, for example, were set very quickly. As I worked, the next steps for the other pieces usually came naturally. That’s why there were no failures.
Dana Schweizer: This “success rate” is due to Ilona’s many years of experience. There are huge differences even among artists. I, for example, would not have dared to rework these images in such a way. Maybe I would have managed two or three good pictures, but certainly not 38 of them, as Ilona has done for the exhibition.
Carolina Porsche: Cars play a big role in our family, of course. It’s obvious that I also “have to” photograph a car here and there for my husband (laughs). The special thing about the idea for the project was for me to artistically lift the photos with cool vehicle motifs to another level, to paint over and edit them. This combination of photo and painting was the big attraction for me. It’s not something that happens every day.
Ilona Griss-Schwärzler: My work is otherwise dominated by human and animal elements. So it was a welcome change for me. Personally, it was also a very authentic change, because I’ve always been very fond of cars and motorcycles. Artistically, however, it was a step out of my comfort zone. The central question, “How do I make a stationary car drive in a painterly way?”, determined all the steps in the process. The experiments were great and really broadened my horizons.
Carolina Porsche: I produced most of the images from scratch, a few came from my portfolio. First we decided which vehicle categories and which color scheme we wanted to implement. There should be cool cars with charm, classics, but also technical high-flyers, the whole range. It was also important to us to cover a broad color spectrum, from black and white to strikingly colorful. I knew most of the cars beforehand, as they all came from private collections. So I have a certain personal connection to many of them.
The time windows for car shoots are sometimes very small. Especially when it takes place in nature. The time, weather and position of the sun have to be absolutely right. For one picture we had some bad luck with the weather. Countless raindrops had to be touched up. That was painstaking detail work.Carolina Porsche about the challenges of preparing for “Dynamic Moments”
In fact, the photos were taken after we had discussed which cars we wanted to stage where and how. Ilona and I planned everything together. The backgrounds in particular were crucial for the shots. The locations for this ranged from Zell am See to Salzburg to southern France. But we always coordinated the perspectives very closely. For Ilona, for example, the ¾-view was well suited for overpainting. You can see the car pretty well and it looks very 3-dimensional. All in all, we created the shots over the course of a year.
Ilona Griss-Schwärzler: I hardly like to pick out a favorite. The blue series with the Porsche 550 Spyder is very special to me because of its minimalism. I’m also proud of the large pictures, such as of the black 993 Carrera S in 136 x 204 cm. Porsche sports cars have always appealed to me and for almost 15 years it has become a running joke in the studio whether I already own a 911. So far, unfortunately, it has not happened, but what is not…
Dana Schweizer: I feel very much the same way. The large images are very impressive just by their presence. But my personal favorite is the Blue Series with the Porsche 550 Spyder, especially the picture with the balloon. But I also like the transitions in the 991 Speedster series extraordinarily. It all blends so smoothly and flowingly into one another. Photography and painting merge almost completely. There was already a Porsche 911 in our family when I met my husband. I still think the classic lines are great.
Carolina Porsche: For me, two pictures stand out. One is the Porsche 991 GT2 RS in the barn. I particularly like the contrast of this technical masterpiece under the wooden beam roof truss. My second favorite is the large-format black and white picture of the 993 Carrera S. Through family alone, Porsche sports cars are indispensable to me. Of course, I myself also prefer to drive my 911.
More information about the exhibition can be found here: Dynamische Momente at artaffairs
About the artists:
Dana Schweizer, painter and gallery owner @art_affairs_salzburg
Ilona Griss-Schwärzler, painter, @ilonagrissschwaerzler
Carolina Porsche, photographer, @caro.graphie