Born in Austria 1970. Lives and works in Vienna.
Grounded in the tension between reality and representation, Anita Witek’s practice often explores the relationship between the original and its reproduction. Central to Witek’s practice is photomontage — with an extensive archive of printed media, ranging from historical magazines to contemporary books and posters, the artist’s works often find form and meaning in the manipulation of these source materials. Slicing and dissecting the image, Witek removes their central motifs and uses the off-cuts to form new abstract configurations. Loosely layering the fragments, Witek then ‘fixes’ the final composition with the photographic lens. Often this final stage involves taking analogue photographs — an action that summarises the discontinuities of the abstract digital fragments and tends to the full-circle completion of a ‘quasi-homeopathic’ process of information collection and visual compaction.
Witek’s large site-specific installations allow the viewer to experience her photographic montages three-dimensionally. By enlarging and printing the paper off-cuts on billboard paper, Witek is able to generate both spatial and tangible installations. Here, images that once provided the background of a poster, become spaces which the viewer can enter and inhabit.
In re-appropriating the remnants of images taken from the international media, Witek draws attention to the vacuous backgrounds they so often use to frame and shape our understanding of the ‘message’ they are trying to portray. In doing so, Witek shifts the focal point of the image. With advertisements in contemporary urban societies themselves already powerful symbols of meaninglessness, what remains is ‘visual noise’ — something that mimics the onslaught of media images we have become so accustomed to today. Whilst Witek’s images may be without a narrative in the traditional sense, i.e. devoid of any visual connections between speaking subjects, this rupture enables the spectator’s temporal perception to be brought forward. As the gaze moves over the image, deducing and carving a pathway through its many layers, Witek releases what avant-garde filmmaker, Malcolm Le Grice, calls ‘spectator time’: vision as function.