206. Travel Escapes

The German term Malfluchten, translating to the artist’s flight or escape into painting, encapsulates the pursuit of solace and refuge within the act of painting, signifying a conscious shift from daily reality to the expansive, imaginative terrains of artistic creation. This concept, pivotal in Martha Jungwirth’s discourse, denotes painting as a portal to transcend the everyday, venturing into explorations of inner landscapes and emotions, and highlighting the emancipatory potential intrinsic in the creative process. For Jungwirth, travel has been a cornerstone of her artistic exploration since the 1970s Indesit series, viewing it as an immersive form of research enriched by engagement with classical literature and architectural history, thereby infusing her work with the nuanced cultural layers encountered during her travels.

The selection of paintings in this room draws inspiration from Jungwirth’s travels to locales such as Mexico, Greece, Cambodia, Bali, Yemen, and her native Austria, reflecting the impressions and perceptions preserved through memories or photographs. These watercolor series, rendered mainly on handmade paper, showcase the medium’s inherent translucence and luminosity, enabling light to permeate and reflect off the underlying paper. Watercolors are lauded for their fluidity and capacity to blend seamlessly on paper, creating subtle gradations of color that can range from delicate washes to vibrant hues. They dry quickly, creating a fundamental challenge to work with speed and intention and allow for layering techniques that build depth and complexity. The pigments, when applied thinly, maintain a sense of airiness and spontaneity, often evoking a dreamlike or ethereal atmosphere.