Lines Fiction: You were born in Bozen, Italy, and raised in a small village in South Tyrol, up in the mountains. Nature and the memories of your childhood village play a dominant role in your art, in your drawings, installations and performances. Is your artistic concept of “going local” rooted in your biography?
Gabriela Oberkofler: Yes I would say it is rooted in my biography. You have to imagine that I grew up in an atmosphere of nature as a great spectacle in the middle of the Dolomite Alps, being surrounded by lots of animals, especially horses. I lived in an environment with strong traditional values, a living culture connected to nature. It stays with me. In Italo Calvino’s novel “The Invisible Cities”, Marco Polo says that whenever he talks about all the cities he had visited, in the end it is always about Venice. In some way this is also the case with me. Even if I get lots of different impulses for my work, I start with images of my own past to mix with impressions of other locations to finally create new situations in my art work.
Lines Fiction: Visualizing a location from the past reminds us of Marcel Proust: à la recherche du temps perdu. But you extend your preoccupation with past times and the self into the presence, in 2007 you founded a group: Local to Local.
In recent years there is an increasing interest in forming communities on a local level to emphasize the pecularity of a region. Do you understand your commitment for the local space politically?
Gabriela Oberkofler: Yes I understand my commitment also politically. I am really into local developments throughout the world. With “Local to Local” we travelled to Korea, Turkey and Lithuania, and realized different projects. It was very important to communicate with the place, and not to ignore what is going on politically, economically, and socially. So I realized a piece of art with the horse carriage drivers on the the Island of Byükada (Turkey); cause of my childhood experience I am really interested in horses or more precisely in peasant’s lives.
Lines Fiction: You combine your drawings with sculpture or animation in an installation. How does it work with your animation CADE?
Gabriela Oberkofler: I realized CADE for the Museion in Bolzano, the city next to my village, and the screening covered one wall of the building inside. My exhibition was about the dissolution of traditional structures. What is happening if the tower of the church, located in my village for more than 300 years, is symbolically transferred to the museum? What is going to happen when our familiar surroundings are about to disintegrate?