An interview with Austrian artist Markus Habersatter
Art doesn’t only live on paper or canvas. Art can live anywhere and on anything. This is a lesson that Markus Habersatter, son of a long line of hoteliers, learnt early in his professional life
– about to start a career in his family’s footsteps, he realized that he was more interested in designing the rooms, to give them a personality of their own. Today he runs his own business, Raumwerk, together with his partner Kim — a business that doesn’t really feel like work now that he finally has the freedom to tell stories through colors and interiors, and to live out his creative ambitions in the different fields of painting and photography. The Austrian multi-disciplinary artist re-worked neubau eyewear’s campaign images in his distinct signature style – see the results below!
Your work is all about rooms: which room has the biggest meaning to you?
My head. The most meaningful physical room for me is the studio in which I do this work. The pictures tell stories about their owners and about my path as an artist.
When does a room turn into art?
When art of the walls and rigid structures captivatingly breaks up the everyday, and gives a room purpose, and opens up a new perspective. Art gives the viewer a puzzle, lets him ask questions while also telling stories, and all the while sparks something in him too. A room that manages to do that is, in my opinion, art.
You turned your creativity, your vision for a self-employed business: which challenges and opportunities have you experienced?
I never had any particular desire or vision to begin my existence as an artist. What I mean is, the secret of art lies “not in looking, but in finding” (Picasso). And so art found me, and it became my profession. In my art I see the opportunity to have the space and time to slowly unfold myself without pressure, in order that something unique and consistent might be created. This art itself is the challenge.
You also studied photography and action painting – in what situations are you most creative? Do you have to be in a certain mood to create art?
There is no particular situation or mood that that I have to be in to be creative. I’m generally able to just begin. However, a certain time pressure, like the completion date or the opening of an exhibition, can be quite helpful in terms of jumpstarting the creative drive. Working under a time pressure tends to be more fruitful for me. The work exists in cycles when created in that way, and belongs together. In this way, work is made in successive series, gradually improving in the process.
What inspiration and emotions did you have, or did you want to become visible when you modified the paintings for neubau eyewear?
I’m working on fashion photographs that I’m starting to draw over, and further levels emerge from this. You have the background of the photograph, superimposed with individual perceptions and emotions. The sobreity and reality of the photographic depiction melts away. With the Neubau series, the thing that I liked most was the idea that in the same way that a pair of glasses gives the face a certain something, creating an identity, art can give a room, or the people inhabiting it, this individuality and identity – a face.
So you’re making art out of something that already existed – does that mean that anything can be art?
Art should reflect something unique. It can also bring that which already existed back to life, adding further layers. Art generated from the pre-existent is still art, because it can and should be interpreted and developed from a new point of view.
The key to a creative life:
An open mind.