Video and Installation | mixed media – dimensions variable

even if the lights go out, there is still light.

(…) they are almost always thrown around. And even if they don’t fall over right away, then at the end (…) and when the lamps go out in a fight scene, the film is still in bright light (…)

– Excerpt from an interview between Veronika Burger and Elisabeth Kemeter.

even if the lights go out, there is still light.

Installation | mixed media – dimensions variable

The light goes on. A video shows the camera’s gaze making its way through a dark, step-by-step illuminated flat. The light penetrates the living space of the woman who will tell of her journey in a few moments.lamps are the hem of Elisabeth Kemeter’s biography, whose story is at the centre of Veronika Hösch’s video installation even if the lights go out, there is still light. Next to Hösch’s video portrait, two slide projectors throw film stills from the James Bond series onto the wall. The light, the images showcase moments in which lamps play a dramaturgically important role – in Kemeter’s biography as well as in the often brief moments when a Bond lamp falls to the floor and the story picks up speed. Next to documents from Kemeter’s archive, a Trojan horse lurks not far away in the form of two light blue lamps with fringed borders: Kemeter’s reconstructed lamp designs, which play a mnemonic role in Hösch’s work. They are the agents of a memory that is capable of rewriting past, present and future. Elisabeth Kemeter made shades for Viennese interior designers for thirty years, worked with the renowned institution Augarten and created lampshades for the 1987 James Bond film The Living Daylights. The lamp designer, who used to have her own workshop, learned the trade from her aunt and passed the business on to her daughter, who continued to run it until 2010. Kemeter’s Bond shades presumably fell victim to editing; they are no longer to be seen in the cinema version of the film. Together with Veronika Hösch, she reconstructed the designs according to her memories, as no documentation of the patterns has survived – as is the case with most of her work. That would have been the custom at the time, according to Kemeter. Veronika Hösch not only portrays a personality and her life’s journey, she also draws an impressive biography of a cross-generational line of women who have passed on craft and knowledge to each other: According to Kemeter, in films she always waits for the chandelier that crashes to the floor or the light bulb that shatters – objects also tell stories. Veronika Hösch appropriates this idea by turning on the spotlight and, as an artist, creating the public sphere that is denied to women’s biographies. The artist does not develop a retrospective portrait with her installation, but takes a stand between documentation, fiction and political agitation. In Hösch’s work, the lampshade becomes a storage medium in which Kemeter’s life story and the exclusion mechanisms of historiography are negotiated.

Text by Katharina Brandl


EK 001: even if the lights go out, there is still light., duration: 14.30 min. | format: 16:9 Full HD
EK 003: Sequences of lamps – James Bond movie series, 1963 – 2015; 2 x 68 framed slides

EK 004: Light test with light bulb, FIne art print, 50 x 34 cm, white wood frame

EK 005: Light blue lampshade (Documentation), Fine art print mounted on aluminium, 600 x 900 mm

EK 006: Lampenbroschüre Augarten Wien, Injectprint, rice paper, 122 x 19 cm

EK 007: Two blue lampshades, steel, blue fabric and  golden edging 2 x 1.70 m

EK 008: Augarten Porzellan Wien Katalog, Injectprint, rice paper, 36,5 x 29,3 cm

EK 009: Reproduktion Werkstattfotos, Injectprint, rice paper, 41,6 x 22,2 cm

EK 010: Broschüre Lampen und Lampenschirme Frühjahr 2002, Injectprint, rice paper, 51,9 x 13,8 cm

EK 011: Dialgues about (non-) archiving, artist book, leporello, injectprint, rice paper, 15 x 20 cm closed, 15 x 440 cm open

EK 012: Stage for an artist book, steel (polished), 370 x 25 cm


Photography by:
Raffaela Bielesch, Veronika Hösch and Michael Michlmayr


FrauenFilmTage, Stadtkino, k/haus, Vienna, AT, 2018

Blickle Archive Series #24 – Veronika Burger, Blickle Kino, 21er Haus, Belvedere, Vienna, AT 2017

even if the lights go out, there is still light., Startgalerie, MUSA – Museum auf Abruf, Wien (AT) 2017

whatsherface#7: Veronika Burger, online feature, 2017

Monstronale – Internationales Kurzfilmfestival Halle, Sachsen-Anhalt (DE) 2017

Licht III – Lichtqualitäten, Fotogalerie Wien, Vienna (AT) 2016/17

47. KRAF – Film Festival Rijeka, Art-Kino Croatia, Rijeka, (HR) 2016

Second Asia International Youth Short Film Festival, Tianqiao Art Building, Wenzhou (CN) 2016

even if the lights go out, there is still light., fotoK [2] Galerie, Vienna (AT) 2016

femtrails, Angewandte Innovation Lab, Vienna (AT) 2016