curriculum vitae

Edgar Honetschläger is a visual artist, screen writer, filmmaker and environmental activist born and raised in Austria. In 1989 he moved from Vienna to NYC and in 1991 on to Tokyo which remained his home base until 2011. Since then he commutes between Vienna and northern Lazio (near Rome). Projects of his participated in art events like documenta X as well as international film festivals like the Berlinale. 2006 he founded the EDOKO Institute Film Production Ltd. Vienna, 2018 the non-governmental-organisation gobugsgo.org.

For a detailed biography please scroll down

“In 1991, when the second gulf war started, the mood in Manhattan was scary. With friends I set out for Washington DC in order to join rallies against the war. It was the time of the economic bubble in Japan. Nippon believed that it could outdo the USA economically, Japanese companies bought up important American symbols like the Empire State Building, Columbia Studios which were then renamed as Sony etc. As a consequence there was serious Japan bashing in American politics as well as in the media. But in Manhattan more and more Japanese galleries, art dealers popped up etc. One of them discovered my work and said: “You deal with space like a Japanese, it’s so close to our aesthetic feelings, you should go to Japan.” Completely turned off by the US because of its political arrogance I borrowed money from a friend to pay for a flight to Japan. When i arrived something strange happened: at NARITA airport i felt like i was at home. A feeling i hadn’t known before, because i’d never felt at home in Austria. I’ve never felt at home anywhere. i don’t trust people who claim to love their homeland. What’s that supposed to be? The concept of nation, which occurs very late in the history of mankind, needs to be rejected, because it’s dangerous. We should only differentiate in cultures. Some cultures one feels closer to. From the very beginning i’ve felt very close to Japan, and that’s how it has remained to this day. See my movie MILK.”

In his artistic practice Honetschläger focusses on questioning cultural givens, the concept of individualisation and man’s concept of nature. Honetschläger: ‘My work has a very anthropological approach. It’s preceded by lots of research. In its appearance, it is like a pond, beautiful and still, but the pond is deep – you can only understand the depth when you dip your finger into it, more so if you completely dive into it. I am perhaps playing a game of seduction – the surface draws you in and when you’re ready to go into it, the piece takes you along and literally opens up your eyes and mind, which is particularly true for my films but also for the installations/performances. The base to anything I do is the drawing – it all starts with a drawing. My paintings are like drawings too. And they always serve a purpose. I mean, I could never go to the studio and just paint. For instance the PORTRAITS series is conceptual painting that has been ging on for over 30 years. I love projects that occupy me for many years, even for decades.”

Honetschläger compares without being judgemental: “It is evident that every culture is shaped by an outside and inside view. Perhaps reflections from outside are not always equally effective, but over the decades and centuries they leave traces. It’s not unusual for an outside view to be deeply internalised to a point where it is being understood as an unambiguous inside view, in other words as a trademark of a culture. The outside that brought in the element has forgotten or does not even know that it brought it about itself. In the course of time, the original changed so much in the hosting culture as it has been adapted to the local colour to an extent where the original is no longer recognisable. This gives rise to EXOTICISM, because when visiting a foreign culture one will say: “Look – how bizarre, it’s weird”, yet one does not even know that the gadget or RITE one observes/discovers in the foreign CULTURE has been invented by one’s own ancestors. Globalization has always existed, it is not a 20th-century invention.”

One of the recurring themes in Honetschläger’s work is an ongoing fight against central perspective: “In Western painting, space is created by adding, in the East by omitting. We invented central perspective and are mightily proud of this mathematical principle. In japan, painting has always been flat. On a two-dimensional background, perceiving the illusion of 3D is not innate, it’s a learning process, as i already show in my 2001 film MASACCIO and as is one of the big themes in the movie LOS FELIZ. In Japan, on the other hand, one brushstroke on an empty canvas is sufficient and the viewer already gets to see things that are not there. That’s also learned. From my point of view, the space they create is much wider, way more open. In Japanese KABUKI, there’s a figure called KUROKO (black child) – a kind of servant, dressed completely in black, who helps the actors on stage. The Japanese audience simply doesn’t see him. The art lies in blocking out. Or two old men stand leaning on their canes under a blossoming cherry tree, quoting poems about all the beauty in front of them. They do not see the concrete wall behind it and the adjacent parking lot. They block it out, it’s a certain kind of short-sightedness. One only sees what one wants to see. In this respect, i was Japanese from childhood on. Suggesting is always more beautiful than openly and directly demonstrating.

Edgar Honetschläger believes that anything mono casts a threat to the beauty of diverging expressions/believes/languages/approaches toward life, as well as nature: “One can drive individualism (does it really exist or is it just a concept?) only so far as not to hurt other – both human and non-human existences – see SCHUHWERK.” He also feels that Linear understanding of HISTORY is a misconception. And Emotions too, are after all only ideas – see the movie L+R. Honetschläger expresses these believes – most of the time in an ironic way – by means of drawing, painting, film, performance, installation and photography.

Julian Schnabel once said that anyone who becomes an artist in order to be loved has chosen the wrong profession – this probably applies to anyone who works in the field of the arts. I always hope for a strong reaction. I’m not providing decoration. Art can’t be critical enough. it can say anything, it can do anything, its task is to doubt, to question, to point out, to cut into the flesh. That was already the case with CARAVAGGIO, why should it be any different today? People have always had difficulties with it. The maturity of a society manifests itself in what it can tolerate in terms of self-criticism. Any form of patriotism=nationalism ultimately leads to censorship, absolutism, to dictatorship. Such few countries in the world enjoy democracy and even in those that do we currently have our backs against the wall. Art has to shout all the louder.”

What drove the artist to go into movie making? “Foremost a frustration with the art world. As I’d meet people who worked in the film world I believed that i could find more intellectual integrity there. I’m not talking Hollywood but Japan or Europe. Some filmmakers will wait tables in order to be able to pull together a meaningful short film. In the art world it rather felt like: Let’s make it to the top asap so one can live a cozy life off it. It took me years to realise that in the film world the snake pit can be even deeper. But well, Tokyo stripped me off decent workspace, on the long run it was no fun to paint on roof tops, my apartments were 15m2 (50 sf) and as a consequence I started to write papers for art projects in open space and then scripts for films. After all I had grown up next to the projection room of the non-stop-movie theatre. My mom was working in the office. I got to see Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy films over and over again. I guess that triggered in interest later on in making films. Yet, my aim was from the very beginning on to break the canon of the classic film narrative. The way stories have been told in film for a hundred years. Painting has been around for thousands of years and no matter how often it has been declared dead it is still being innovative. But film got stuck. It is repeating the same pattern over and over again. Now if one tries to break those patterns one is bound to failure. Radical changes wont work. Nonetheless it is worth a try. My feature films are to be understood as a honest try.

2016 – 2020Vienna / Rome / Tarquinia
2015Los Angeles / Rome / Vienna
2011 – 2014Vienna / Umbria
2009 – 2011Tokyo / Vienna
2007 – 2008Brasilia / Sao Paolo / Tokyo
2003 – 2006Tokyo / Vienna
2002Palermo / Vienna
2000 – 2001Rome / Vienna
1999 – 2000Vienna / Tokyo / Los Angeles
1997 – 1999Vienna / Tokyo
1991 – 1997Tokyo
1989 – 1991New York City
1985 – 1989studies economics + art history at the Universities of Linz, Graz, Vienna and spends a loose semester at the Art Institute San Francisco

Lectures and workshops at the Geijutsu Daigaku University Tokyo, Nihon University Tokyo, Yamaguchi University, University Olomouc Chech Republic, University of applied Arts Vienna, Academy of fine Arts Vienna, University of Yazd/Iran.

Guest professor at University of Arts Linz

 

Filmography IMDB

2018GOBUGSGO, Tarquinia/Vienna, 90” animated short, animator/editor
CIVILIZATION SUCKS, Tarquinia/Vienna, 90” short, actor/director
2017FLUCUTHUKH, Tarquinia/Vienna, 15’ experimental short film, director/producer/co-editor
2016LOS FELIZ, Rome/Los Angeles/Vienna,105’ feature film, screenplay/director/set-designer/co-editor/co-producer.
Best sound design at the DIAGONALE (AustrianFestival).
Best foreign feature film at Siena Int. Film Festival
Retrospectives at the Metro Kino/Film Archiv Austria
Presentation of LOS FELIZ and IL MARE E LA TORTA at Cinetecca Nazionale Rome
2015320 FILOSOFIANA, Sicily/Vienna, 18’ experimental short film, screenplay/director/producer/co-editor, premiere at the Viennale
RELIQTE, Minoriten Graz
2014OMSCH at Diagonale, Graz
2013OMSCH, 83’ feature-docu (AT) premiere at the Visions Du ReelPrix Buyens-Chagoll
AUN at TBA 21 Vienna, with Christian Fennesz
2012KAZUE, fiction short 2′ (IT/AT) director/set-designer/co-editor/producer
LONGING, fiction short 3’, (AT) director/co-editor/producer  
2011AUN, Feature Film, Japan/Austria, 100min, 35mm premiere @ the int. film festival Rotterdam, St. Petersburg Film Festival, Era New Horizons IFF
TARZAN 2011, Vienna, 3’ short, script/set design/director/producer/co-editor
Wann werden wir uns endlich erlauben um die Erde zu weinen? Vienna, 9′, director
Raum Körper Einsatz, MUSA Vienna
2008SUGAR and ICE, Brasilia, 6min, script/set design/director/producer/co-editor
BEIJING HOLIDAY at Rotterdam Film Festival
2007BEIJING HOLIDAY, Beijing/Taipei/Vienna/Tokyo, 13 min, actor/director/co-editor/producer
ERNI /Chickenssuit on Culture TV www.culturetv.tv
ERNI is chosen as the official logo representing Austrian cultural activities abroad
2006ERNI at IFF Rotterdam Vancouver Film Festival Calgary Film Festival Toronto WWSF Montreal festival Nouveau Cinema, Freewave FF, Rio de Janeiro Film Festival Hammer Museum LA Locarno Film Festival
THE AUDIENCE Brasilia/Buenos Aires/ Montevideo/Los Angeles/Tokyo/Vienna director/producer, for the 7th act of Peter Ablinger’s STADTOPERA 2 films (2x70min), libretto by Yoko Tawada, premiere at Steirischer Herbst
2005ERNI, 7 min short film, HD, director/producer, premiere at the World Expo, Aichi/Japan, Locarno Film Festival
2004Il mare e la torta/ the sea and the cake @ int. Premiere at the IFF Rotterdam, Diagonale Graz Buenos Aires Film Festival Rome int. Film Festival Tursak int. Film Festival, Istanbul Viennale, Crossing Europe, Sao Paulo IFF
Foundation of the EDOKO Institute Film production
2003Il mare e la torta/ the sea and the cake, film essay, 60min. script/director/co-editor/co-producer in collaboration with Amour Fou Film Production, premiere at Viennale
2002George in Hollywood, Los Angeles S8/35mm, 3 min. camera/director/producer/co-editor, int. Premiere at the IFFRotterdam
George in Hollywood @ LA Freewaves
enduring freedom, Vienna, 4 min, film for the internet, script/set design/director/co-editor/co-producer
2001Los Feliz, screen play for a feature film with Reinhard Jud and Jonny Elkes
Isola Farnese, Vienna/Rome, 45”, director/co-editor/producer, teaser for the Austrian Film Festival DIAGONALE
COLORS int. premiere at the IFFRotterdam, DIAGONALE , Pesaro Film Festival
2000L+R, Vienna/Tokyo/Kagoshima, 79’ essay, concept/director/co-producer/co-editor. premiere at the IFF Rotterdam, DIAGONALE , Seattle International Film, Vancouver International Film Festival, Leipzig Dokumentarfilm
COLORS = the history of chocolate, masaccio, in times of emergency film trilogy Rome/Florence, digbeta 33’, director/co-producer, premiere at the Viennale
1999MILK @ IFF Rotterdam India Int. Filmfestival
Sardines, screen play in collaboration with Susan B. Landau for a feature film
Randzonen, 45 sec. teaser for cinema+TV for the Festival of Regions
1998MILK @ international premiere at the BERLINALE, DIAGONALE (honorable mention)
1997MILK, New York/Tokyo, S16mm/blow up 35mm, 100’ feature, director/co-producer. premiere at the VIENNALE, international Film Festival Vienna
199697 – (13+1), Vienna/Tokyo, 10’ documentary, concept/director
first presentation at the documenta X, Kassel/Germany 1997
MILK, screen play for a feature film with Leza Lowitz
1995HCN MIAU, Vienna/New York, 2x30” shorts films, concept/director, experimental TV commercial for the shoe company HUMANIC for season 1996
1991SEQUENCES, S8mm Film/blow up 16mm, 15 min, New York, camera/director editor/ producer, with Serge Pinkus, James Goldwasser, Josef Ramaseder, Paula Hayes, Sjoerd Hofstra, Mia Hansford

solo exhibitions/group shows/performances/ installations/interventions SELECTION

2020GoBugsGo at H2 Glaspalast Augsburg as part of the show Blue Planet
2019GoBugsGo presentations at Forum Stadtpark Graz, Oberösterreichische Landesgalerie, Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Frankfurter Kunstverein
Japan Unlimited, Vienna, curator Marcello Farabegoli
2018GoBugsGo presentations at Kunsthalle Vienna and CHARIM GALERIE
2017Die Kraft des Alters / Aging Pride, Belvedere Wien, Kuratorin Sabine Fellner
2016LOS FELIZ solo show at BELVEDERE 21 Vienna, curator Mario Codognato
LOS FELIZ solo show Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Roma curator Mario Codognato [book]
KAPPA GOES TOKYO drawings [book], publisher: Schlebrügge.Editor
2015Sammlung Ploner, Albertina Wien, Belvedere Wien, Neue Galerie Graz
2014NO MORE FUKUSHIMAS, Vienna Art Week, curated by Marcello Farabegoli
Hier steht ein Sessel, Galerie im Traklhaus Salzburg
Elisabeth zeigt Edgar Honetschläger/Alois Mosbacher
Vienna Art Week, Parkfair, Vienna
2013SUGAR AND ICE, a [book] about Brasília, publisher: Schlebrügge.Editor
On emigrating and returning Kunstforum Montafon
Wallpaper 15 for Steinbrener/Dempf, Vienna
GUINEA PIGS, HANDARBEIT; Museum Kunst der Westküste, Germany
21er Haus (Belvedere 21, Vienna)
2012FRAMBOISE FRIVOLE, solo show at Charim Galerie Vienna
Autumn leaves fields, Bambin Art Gallery Tokyo
FUKUSHIMA – SOUND OF SIRENS – SOS – Internet platform one year after Fukushima with Sylvia ECKERMANN
2011NEGATIVE SPACE PERFORMANCE at Charim Galerie Vienna
Das Biennale Projekt, PROPOSALS FOR VENICE, Landesgalerie Linz, curator: Thorsten Sadowsky
Froschbärfant und andere Tiere in der Kunst, Galerie im Traklhaus
2010BRAVE NEW WORLD at MUDAM Luxembourg
EDOPOLIS, Solo show Casino Luxembourg d’Art Contemporain
2009EDOPOLIS, Solo show Kunsthalle Krems, [book]
BEST OF AUSTRIA, Lentos Linz
LINZ BLICK, Lentos Linz
2008NAGOYA or the rise of Japanese Metropolis, Vienna City Museum
Introduction to Art History Fotohof Salzburg
TOKYO PLAIN Fotohof Salzburg presentation of the photo [book] at the Nationalbibliothek, Vienna
BEIJING HOLIDAY, solo show ar Charim Gallery Vienna
2007DISCOVERING THE OTHER National Palace Museum Taipei with Tsai Ming-liang, Merilyn Fairskye, Ella Raidel, Deborah Stratman, Apichatpong Weerasethakul with BEIJING HOLIDAY
BEIJNG HOLIDAY at Shanghai Contemporary with Chi-Wen Gallery Taipei
Einführung in die Kunstgeschichte/Introduction to Art History, Ursula Blickle Stiftung
2006chickenssuit presentation at the Kunstverein AARHUS, Denmark
2005chickenssuit with Willi Mahringer – presentation at the World Expo in Aichi, Japan
chickenssuit at art cologne invents and develops the
Hangar 7, Red Bull Exhibit with six distinguished Austrian painters
go between at Magazin4, Bregenzer Kunstverein
2004THE SCENT OF SNOW at Gallery charim + at Vienna art fair
FEET & TOKYO, prints 2 Heliogravurs with master printer Kurt Zain
2003years after with Elisabeth Plank und Christoph Cagnelli at Palais Wittgenstein
window toGallery 422,
2002regie/directing at Brandts Kunsthallen Klaedefabrik, Kunsthalle Odense, curator Thorsten Sadowsky
2001regie/directing, State Gallery Upper Austria, Linz [book] curator Martin Hochleitner
LOS FELIZ, Gallery Charim, Vienna
in times of emergency Steirischen Herbst, Triennale Milano
2000Lives and works in Vienna, Kunsthalle Vienna, with masaccio, curator: Gerald Matt
Milk from the blue stream of the Danube with the history of chocolate at Kunsthalle Krems
1999all the banalities, Artspace Viktor Bucher, Vienna, Artforum Meran
I have time, Portfolio Kunst AG, Vienna, [book and video]
Die Farben Schwarz, Landesmuseum Joanneum Graz, curator: Thomas Zaunschirm
1998staged photography for the newspaper “Der Standard”
199797-(13+1) participates in documenta X, curator: CATHERINE DAVID
Griffin, Los Angeles, [book and video]
199597-(13+1), Gallery Freihausgasse, Villach
Memoirs of a Good for Nothing , Gallery Gerersdorfer, Vienna
sitt’n all over the place, Philips Gallery, Vienna
97-(13+1), Performance Projekt, Tokyo [book and video]
1994SCHUHWERK, exhibition at Sagacho Exhibit Space Tokyo / Koike Kazuko
Tampopo, Gallery Schillerplatz, Vienna
1993Real Thing? Gallery Hosomi, Tokyo, SAI Gallery, Osaka
SCHUHWERK, Performance in Tokyo+Yokohama [book and video] curators: Ritsuko Segawa and SCAI the BATHOUSE (Shirashi Masami), Interview with NANJO FUMIO, photos by Shigeo Anzai
1992TOOLS at Gallery Cross, Tokyo, Asacloth Gallery, Tokyo
TOOLS, Gallery im Stifterhaus, Linz [book] at Kunst Raum Stuttgart, Gallery Pollhammer Steyr
HAGAKI at Gallery Gerersdorfer Vienna
Down to paper at Austrian Cultural Institute NY with Elisabeth Plank + Josef Ramaseder [book], Vienna
1991Memoirs of a Good for Nothing presentation at MJS Books and Graphics, New York
Still Life, Performance New York
1990trotzdem wurm, Gallery Spitzbart, Vorchdorf
Palais Wittgenstein with Elisabeth Plank, Vienna
Illustration for Joseph von Eichendorff’s Memoirs of a Good for Nothing – 210 Lithographs, [book]
1989sensing soil, performance, New York
60 days Austrian Museum of the 21. st century, Vienna curator Oswald Oberhuber
Prizes &  Grants2019 Georg HEINDL Kulturpreis
2009 Cultural award by the Province of Upper Austria
1999 Japan Foundation for realizing the film essay L+R
1996 Japan Foundation Tokyo & JEC Fund Osaka Grant for the feature Film MILK
1995 Talent Award by the City of Linz