GERTRUDE HONZATKO-MEDIZ

b. 1893, Krems, Austria
d. 1975, Zurich, Switzerland 

WORKS   |   BIOGRAPHY   |   EXHIBITIONS   |   PUBLICATIONS

SELECTED WORKS

BIOGRAPHY

GMportGertrude Honzatko-Mediz was the daughter of the Austrian artist couple Emilie Mediz Pelikan (1861–1908) and Karl Mediz (1968–1945). Shortly after her mother's death, spiritualist séances were held at her aunt's house, at which a medium established contact with her mother. Soon, the 16-year-old Gertrude herself experienced mediumistic trance states in which she communicated with her mother and other “spirit friends” on the other side, under whose guidance she began to make drawings. In a regular spiritualistic exchange with her mother, a kind of collaborative effort beyond the boundaries of immanence, the mother gave her, as it were, drawing lessons from the afterlife. At first, Gertrude created a macabre sequence with somber subjects of horror, death, and annihilation, representing an ambivalent realm of the spirit. Mediumistic drawing and painting became Gertrude's very own way of dealing with the mother's early loss. Often on the reverse side the drawings carry automatically written comments by the mother.

Karl Mediz was fascinated by the creative eruptions of his daughter and wrote: "I recognize in Gertrud an extraordinary genius of the strength of Goya and Klinger – full of demonism and deep mysticism and great monumentality!” Later, he let himself be inspired by his daughter's mediumistic drawings, copied them and elaborated on them together with her.

Gertrude’s spectrum became wider and wider. Under the governance of various spirit guides, she produced etchings, drawings with pencil, charcoal, and ink, symbolist to abstract pastel works reminiscent of Ensor and Munch in terms of formal and coloristic elaborations, and finally small oil paintings as well as impressive drawings of "spirit portraits" – a fascinating gallery of the afterlife, primarily by protagonists of German medieval legends. These latter works seem to have served her father as models for his own artistic plans. Karl Mediz pursued a (never realized) project to design the stage decoration for Parsifal and other Wagner operas in Bayreuth. Apparently Gertrude worked on this project in her own way while her hand was guided by the spirits.

The mediumistic work of Gertrude Honzatko-Mediz suggest, that she did not regard herself exclusively being just an instrument of powerful spirit guides without autonomy but that her art was largely produced in collaboration with disembodied entities. There are several historical examples of the notion of mediumistic art as an autonomous collaborative interaction of drawing and painting mediums with their spiritual guides.

EXHIBITIONS


2019 Plants of the Soul: Floral Fantasies between Symbolism and Outsider Art. Wilhelm Hack Museum, Ludwigshafen, Germany, 3/31/2019 – 8/4/2019
2019 Flying High: Women Artists of Art Brut. Bank Austria Kunstforum, Vienna, Austria, 2/15/2019 – 6/23/2019
2019 Alma: Mediums and Visionaries. Es Baluard Museum, Palma de Mallorca, Spain, 2/15/2019 – 6/2/2019.
2007 Galleria De Faveri Arte, Feltre, Italy, 6/9/2007 – 7/8/2007
2007 Donne simboliste: Le misteriosofie di Gertrude Honzatko-Mediz e Nina Karasek. Museo del Risorgimento e della Reistenza, Ferrara, Italy, 2/25/2007 – 4/18/2007

 

PUBLICATIONS

 

Gruber, Elmar R., "Flying Higher: Mediumistische Künstlerinnen." In: Ingried Brugger, Hannah Rieger and Veronika Rudorfer (eds.), Flying High: Künstlerinnen der Art Brut. Heidelberg, Berlin: Kehrer, 2019, pp. 232–235.
Roda, Roberto, "Il simbolismo medianico di Gertrude Hozatko-Mediz." In: Roberto Roda (ed.), Eredità del simbolismo: Mitologie, etnografie, esoterismi. Exhibition catalogue. Mantova: Sometti, 2007, pp. 235–49.
Mediz, Gertrud. Eichendorff. 12 Radierungen zu seinen Gedichten. N.p. (ca 1915).

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