Organizer: Galleria Doris Ghetta
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DRY RUN is Martina Steckholzer's first solo exhibition at the Doris Ghetta Gallery, focusing on the representation of animals in art.


Martina Steckholzer

Dry Run


Pontives 8, Ortisei (BZ)

May 20 – August 26, 2021



Galleria Doris Ghetta is pleased to announce DRY RUN, the first solo show by Italo-Austrian artist Martina Steckholzer (Italy, 1974), at Pontives 8, Ortisei (Italy). Encompassing works from her most recent experimentation, the show premieres nine previously unseen sets of paintings on canvas and paper that she has produced in the last few months.


Throughout her career, Steckholzer has addressed themes such as the space of representation, the visual symbols of cultural and historical context, and the role of painting as an epistemological tool. Inspired by her encounters with artworks by fellow artists and visits to art spaces such as museums, galleries, and institutions, Steckholzer processes her emotions by re-enacting the episodes experienced and questioning them through her paintings.


In DRY RUN, the artist focuses her attention on the non-human and the representation of animals in the visual arts, asking why we represent animals in our different cultures. The ongoing pandemic has brought to light a number of issues about the relationship between humans and animals which have led Steckholzer to concentrate her work on the domestic and wild animals she has met during her early morning walks in nature and in her research in the art world.


The Kunsthistorisches Museum – KHM –became a special place for the Vienna-born artist. Since opening days were few, hence precious, and no visitors were coming from abroad, the rooms of the KHM were empty and encounters with the art on show became more silent and more intimate than usual. Looking at Renaissance paintings in the permanent collection, Steckholzer noted how animals are often depicted as observers that protect, threaten, or accompany a scene or look back at the viewer. Inspired by the works of other artists, in SCENES FROM THE KHM and MENAGERIE Steckholzer re-enacts hunting scenes and mythical allegories, in which monkeys, dogs, foxes, birds and tigers turn into symbols of fertility, wealth, companionship, divinities, emotions etc., and thus, unknowingly, become part of a system of human representation. 

 From analysis of the positions and functions of animals in Egyptian representations in the series USCHBETI to study of the movements of Donna Haraway’s pet dog Cayenne Pepper performing agility tasks in Fabrizio Terranova’s Film “Story Telling for Earthly Survival” (Series: AGILITY TRIAL); from the guard dogs taken from the altarpieces of Geertgen tot Sint Jans and Bernaert van Orley (Series: ALTAR PIECES and HIERONIMUS’ LION) to the frescoes of wild animals on the walls of the medieval Runkelstein Castle near Bolzano in the series BADESTUBE/TIGHTROPE WALK – Steckholzer conceives of the represented animals as active subjects and asks how they look at and perceive us. In LIBRI ANTICHI STAMPE / BOOKENDS, a set of works on paper, Steckholzer redesigns the animal statuettes used as bookends in an old Italian book store she happened to come across as silent guardians that, at once, “support ” and question knowledge, immersing herself in another time and dimension.


Steckholzer also examines regimes of representation in a set of geometrical and conceptual works in which black dots dance across the canvas space. Once more, her work is rooted in her own experiences insofar as the pictures show sculptural and spacial interventions by fellow artists (in particular Felix Gonzales Torres for the series SZENARIOS and Yayoi Kusama for SPECULATIVE DRAFTS) that have impressed her during her visits. She thus restores the art space to the canvas, reducing it to its essential features. Under the spotlight is art itself: in what spaces and circumstances do visual representations shape our present created? Who or what should be observed: the viewer, the artwork, or the space?


DRY RUN stands for a rehearsal of a performance or procedure before the real event and it’s an invitation to better understand Steckholzer’s work, but also the times we’re living. Vulnerability and processuality are essential here.




Martina Steckholzer (1974, Italy) lives and works in Vienna. At the core of Steckholzer’s research is visual art of a given geographical and temporal context, which leads the artist to look for fractures, layers and glitches occurring in different regimes of representation. Her work aims to open to new destabilising and affirmative narratives, by transforming the exhibition space into a stage where characters, spaces and viewers perform a silent event. Her work was exhibited at Museum Moderner Kunst Kärnten (2020), Galleria Civica Bressanone (2020), Museion – Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (2020), Galerie Gefängnis LeCarceri (2019), Taxipalais Kunsthalle Tirol (2019), Galleria Doris Ghetta (2017, 2018, 2019), Kunstforum Montafon (2018), Galerie Meyer Kainer (2017).


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Artist: Martina Steckholzer


Introduction - Closing day: 26.08.2021
Mit Finissage


Introduction - Vernissage: 20.05.2021
Künstler/in anwesend
Startdatum: 20.05.2021
Uhrzeit: 17 - 20

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