Each Poison, A Pillow | STEFANIE MOSHAMMER / Foto Wien

10 Mar 2022 – 23 Apr 2022

Regular hours

10:00 – 19:00
10:00 – 19:00
11:00 – 16:00
10:00 – 19:00
10:00 – 19:00

Free admission

Save Event: Each Poison, A Pillow | STEFANIE MOSHAMMER / Foto Wien

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A letter written by Stefanie Moshammer (*1988) when she was eight years old functions both as a basis and at the same time as a hypernym in her work, Each Poison, A Pillow. Dichotomous developments in the relationship between alcoholic mothers and their daughters evoke incomprehension and distance; Stefanie Moshammer tries to apprehend and understand both of these.
And whereas the moment of writing is long forgotten, the undertone remains of a love that will not accept disagreement, fear, and distrust, that clings on to hope, and exploits the potential of an optimistic future. The eyes of mother and daughter look out unexpectedly from sixteen monitors, a literal-medial conflation without distance, enabling a view through and into the eyes of the other. This view is a visual contact of the origin of both illness and recovery, extending far behind the lens and the retina into the intimate interior reality: the simultaneous breakdown and decipherment of sixteen varying emotional moments induce an arbitrary emotional parallelism – often not an unfamiliar experience for the addicted and their familial contexts. Simultaneously, the personal experience begins to untangle due to the participation of the mother; the image of the other and of the self are levelled, and a type of enhancement of understanding by means of reconciliatory rapprochement is constructed. The synchronous multiplication evokes excessive demands and confused feelings on the part of the observer, feelings that ultimately lead to emotional blindness, cuts back every possibility of mimic–non-verbal communication, and shifts into limbo and silence. This medial construct of emotions operates completely unavoidably on emotional memory, and allows one to surmise the psychological overload of the artist that forms the foundation of the work.

Perceived from outside as a paradigm of disorder and responsible for the alienation of the mother-figure, for the afflicted, alcoholic addiction functions increasingly as a physically and emotionally necessary support, similar to a destructive cushion. On symbolic pillows, the artist projects an associative mixture of images which visualise the multifactorialness of coping with addiction without falling back on pure sentiment: private photographs from the family archive demonstrate not only the search for the roots of the maternal illness and its active awareness, but are also accompanied by medical diagnostic images, in the need for substantiation. Subtly humorous mass-media references in the form of pictures and videos incorporate themselves. Stefanie Moshammer compresses this layering of testimonials of irreversible self-intoxication and standardisation of addictive substances in the collective moral sentiment, into the foundation of her own emotional cells. Each Poison, A Pillow is therefore the analytical-subtle reminiscence of an attempt to form an internalised repertoire of memories and to formulate them to the outside. Above all, it is a matter of the most highly individual development of identity and connotations from multiple perspectives, aiming to provide maximum allusions to the impact of female addiction to alcohol. In her exhibit at KOENIG2, Stefanie Moshammer thus constructs a chronological mind-map in a number of chapters.

(Teresa Kamencek, 2022, translated by Sarah Cormack)

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Stefanie Moshammer


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