Lucas Gehrmann
Karin Pliem. Convolutions*

Karin Pliem shows us a nature that doesn’t exist inherently: on canvas diversified creatures from different ecological systems and various parts of the world meet. She shows plants from tropic rainforests and valleys in the Alps in bloom and withering combined with transgenic plants, sea- and fresh-water animals. Through the painting process Karin Pliem creates as well blossom-hybrids. Everything is flourishing, flowing, morphing, expanding in her art-biotopes and develops into an intense abundance of colours and shapes which competes and communicates against and with each other simultaneously on several multi-dimensional layers.
This inherently not existing nature can be understood as a symbolisation of the “language of nature” just as human civilisation is linked to technology in reality: crossing and genetic engineering generates new forms, hybrids and clones of creatures, the global transport system carries the invasion of biotic nature in newfound living environments, other species become extincted. When the artist builds in names like papavero (poppy), pueraria montana (kudzu) or dionaea (Venus flytrap) into the display titles, these plants are to be found more or less alienated, sometimes even hidden, somewhere in the picture they always act as codes for civilising usage and abuse of nature.
In her art Karin Pliem primarily aims to demonstrate the diversity of the living and the connected pluralism of appearances and expressions. In their background she detects a general syntax: “Even the most heterogenous things in the world have a common denominator, a causal correlation“.
The title of her latest series of works is based on the experiences she gained when exploring the world and working as an artist; convolutions are gatherings of things and phenomenons that do not necessarily belong together but are put into a context through bundling, folding or convolution. Thus the “language of nature” comes to a re-definition through a “language of art” which is not just about nature but about the picture, its coincidence and its proportion to the whole.
Karin Pliem invites everyone, even when not feeling as to be part of the nature nowadays, to immerse into her Convolutions with all its potential to unfold.

Born in Salzburg, Austria, Karin Pliem has lived and worked in Vienna since 1983. Pliem studied with textile artist Iris Mansard in Biarritz/France, painted in Salzburg under professor Giselbert Hoke and studied sculpture and painting at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna under professors Wander Bertoni, Carl Unger and Adolf Frohner. In 1984 Pliem began an intense study trip across Europe and Asia where she has done her research in Tonga, Samoa, Singapore, Taiwan, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand and others. Since 1986 the artist has presented her work numerous times in various venues in Salzburg, Klagenfurt and Vienna. She exhibits on a regular basis at the Walker Gallery in Klagenfurt/Austria. Since 2011 Pliem’s work was shown at Galerie Numaga in Colombier/Switzerland, at Ruskin Gallery/Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge/UK, in Museo Revoltella, Trieste/Italy, at Kunsthalle Wien Museumsquartier, Vienna/A, at Egon Schiele Art Centrum, Český Krumlov/CZ, Museum moderner Kunst Klagenfurt, Klagenfurt/A, i.a. Her paintings are, to name a few, presented in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in Salzburg, the Austrian National Bank in Vienna and in the Museum of the City of Vienna. Several representative catalogues on Pliem’s work have been published with texts by critics and curators such as Angelica Baeumer, Matthias Boeckl, Lucas Gehrmann, Wolfgang Hilger, Klaus Albrecht Schroeder and Axel Steinmann.

* First published in folder Karin Pliem. KonvolutionenConvolutions, Vienna 2014
© 2014 Lucas Gehrmann. Translated from German by Aline Rainer.