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”Bringing art to places where you don't expect it"

Interview with artist Hannah Philomena Scheiber from Obergurgl

„SURROUND YOURSELF WITH BEAUTY” states Hannah Philomena Scheiber on her Instagram profile. During the interview, it quickly becomes clear that this sentence is not only her mantra, but also her personal mission. Integrating art into people's everyday lives is what she is passionate about. In the interview, the Obergurgl native also tells us why Gurgl Carat makes a perfect spot for art exhibitions and how painting and nature inspire each other.

Gurgl Carat: Dear Hannah, thank you for taking the time for an interview. Let's start with the first question. The first Alpine ARTtime took place in the summer of 2022 at Gurgl Carat. How did the idea of ​​holding an art exhibition at Gurgl Carat come about?

Hannah Philomena Scheiber: The idea came about at a meeting with Alexander Maria Lohmann and Felix Kupfer. At the time, we were of the opinion that it would be a shame if the architecturally high-quality rooms were not also used for artistic purposes. Carmen Fender from Ötztal Tourism was also immediately enthusiastic. And that's how the whole thing came about. I think high-quality art in this architectural jewel is really important.


Gurgl Carat: The theme of landscape and mountains played a major role, particularly at the first Alpine ARTtime. All the artists not only had a connection to Ötztal, but also incorporated the alpine region into their works. What was particularly important to you as a curator of this first exhibition?

Hannah Philomena Scheiber: Quality is extremely important to me. They were all academic artists with a solid education. What I find particularly exciting is that Ötztal has a very high density of both female and male academic artists. Actually, like no other valley in the Alps. I just wanted to show that. In the past, all the English academic painters like Edward Compton came to Ötztal. And I found it really exciting to bring that back again - but with local artists and those who are strongly connected to the valley.

© Hannah Philomena Scheiber

Artist Hannah Philomena Scheiber from Obergurgl | © Hannah Philomena Scheiber

Gurgl Carat: Other ARTtimes followed, such as Scenarios for Peace in summer 2023 and FORM*ATION in winter 2023/2024. What makes Gurgl and especially Gurgl Carat the perfect place for art exhibitions?

Hannah Philomena Scheiber: In the city - for example in Vienna, Hamburg or Florence - it is clear that you will find art if you are in the mood for art. There are museums and galleries. But in Obergurgl you don't expect it. And that's what I really like: bringing art to places where you don't expect it. I think it has a completely different effect in places like this. Also in terms of education. You show what is possible and that there are different approaches to the subject of landscape - from realistic to abstract. And I also believe that it does a lot to people subconsciously. Apart from whether they buy the works or not. Just by looking at them.


Gurgl Carat: In galleries and museums, the outside world is often shut out, for example windows are darkened so that the focus is entirely on the works on display. Gurgl Carat now has large glass fronts that let in light on the one hand, but also provide a view of the mountains on the other. What does it mean for viewers and interaction with the works?

Hannah Philomena Scheiber: It's a shop window, a total work of art. You have an overall concept right from start - the architecture together with the view to the outside, but also the interior. This is how this total work of art is created.


Gurgl Carat: You were born in Obergurgl, studied in Vienna, Florence and New York and your works have been shown at exhibitions all over the world. What does it mean to you to exhibit in your home town?

Hannah Philomena Scheiber: It's really really great. Unfortunately, Ötztal offers far too few opportunities for contemporary artists to show their work. I think it's fabulous that Gurgl Carat has taken on this task. I think history is important and coming to terms with history is important, but it is at least as important to create space for contemporary artists from the valley to show their work. Hats off to Gurgl Carat for doing this.

© Johannes Brunner

Alpine ARTtime at Gurgl Carat | © Johannes Brunner

© Johannes Brunner

Mountains as a motif and inspiration | © Johannes Brunner

Gurgl Carat: Many of your pictures show Ötztal mountains or landscape elements from the alpine region. Are the mountains both a motif and an inspiration for you?

Hannah Philomena Scheiber: For me, it's about abstraction and reducing things to the essentials. It's very much about reducing the landscape. But of course also about the fragility of the landscape. Nature is in a constant state of change. There is simply no constant. Painting, on the other hand, lasts for many centuries. This is especially true with the former mountain painters - such as Edward Compton, whose work is still on display today and has great value. But the construct that he painted no longer exists in reality. That is something that really concerns me. And of course also the spirit of the times today: back to nature, the power of nature, the mountains and the elements. All of that fascinates me very much. Therefore nature is not only the source of inspiration, but also what I want to show.


Gurgl Carat: What makes the mountain world of uppermost Ötztal so special? If you explain that to someone who has never been here before.

Hannah Philomena Scheiber: In Obergurgl it is definitely the end of the valley with Schalfkogel as a landmark. You really feel like you are at the end of the world. For me it is energetically a very clear and pure energy. It is definitely a place of strength because there are very few distractions. I think you can just wind down perfectly here.

© Lara Brunner

Schalfkogel peak (center) at the very end of Ötztal | © Lara Brunner

Gurgl Carat: Your art is not only found at exhibitions or in the form of paintings. You have already embellished house walls with your iconic mountain motifs, and you make ceramic works and aprons with humorous sayings. Is that an essential part of art for you? That it is literally “there to be touched” and that it also takes place in everyday life and not just behind closed doors?

Hannah Philomena Scheiber: Definitely. I really live for art outside of protected spaces, outside of museums and galleries. I get the most joy from commissions in public spaces. It’s really a completely different work. On the one hand in terms of skills. On the other hand in terms of what it does to people. Of course it is extremely polarizing. But I think that is exactly what it is supposed to do. If it’s hanging in a white cube somewhere, no one can see it and it can’t touch anyone. And that is what I am most passionate about: integrating art into people's everyday lives. The bottom line is that it’s energy. Paint on canvas is not rocket science. I believe that it is an energetic story. People talk about the aura of art works and I believe that it really does have an aura. It does something energetically to rooms, but on buildings it also does something energetically to the entire surroundings. You get stuck. It is not like an advertising poster, but you get stuck in a different way - on a subconscious level.


Gurgl Carat: What is your vision - both for your personal career and for the art scene in Ötztal?

Hannah Philomena Scheiber: For art in Ötztal: that it finds even more space. But I also think that a lot has happened in recent years. For me personally: I would be happy to be able to create even more art in public spaces.


Thank you so much, dear Hannah, for this wonderful interview and your interesting insights into the art scene.

© Hannah Philomena Scheiber

Brushstroke by brushstroke, a work is created that will last for many centuries | © Hannah Philomena Scheiber

Hannah Philomena Scheiber

The Obergurgl native studied art in Vienna, Florence and New York and has been working intensively on the subject of landscape since 2014. The Ötztal mountains in particular are a recurring motif. Her style oscillates between abstraction and realism, her trademark is ultramarine blue. She has been represented at exhibitions all over the world and has already won numerous awards.

If you would like to find out more about Hannah, her work and current projects, you can find all important details information here:

Website www.studioscheiber.com
Instagram www.instagram.com/hannahphilomenascheiber
Facebook www.facebook.com/hannahphilomenascheiber



Lara Brunner

Lara Brunner is a freelance copywriter and specialist in content marketing. As a studied Germanist, she writes about all topics related to Gurgl Carat in the Carat.Blog. The Tirolean-by-choice seeks and finds inspiration for her texts amid unspoilt nature in Gurgl. That is why she spends most of her free time in the Ötztal mountains. With hiking boots or on skis, she prefers to explore the many three-thousand meter high summits in the immediate vicinity of Gurgl Carat.