Jakob Lena Knebl, born in Baden near Vienna in 1970, worked in elderly care for ten years before studying Fashion under Raf Simons at the University of Applied Arts Vienna and Textual Sculpture under Heimo Zobernig at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. She was a senior artist at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and has been a professor of transmedia art at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna, since 2021. In 2017, she conceived a rearrangement of the collection of modern and contemporary art at mumok, which she—always daring to be eccentric—presented in conjunction with new works of her own on two levels of the museum. That same year, Jakob Lena Knebl was awarded the Austrian Federal Chancellery’s Outstanding Artist Award in the category Fine Art. In 2019, ArtNet News listed her as one of the “Most Influential Curators of the Decade.” In 2020, she had solo exhibitions at Lentos in Linz and at Galerie Georg Kargl Fine Arts in Vienna. In her show Marcher sur l’eau at the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire in Geneva, Jakob Lena Knebl is currently working on creating a dialog between exhibits from the museum collection and her own installations.
The jumping-off point of her spatial strategies is often a photographic staging that puts the body as well as constructions of identity and desire in relation with sculptural objects and spaces both material and social. With this approach, she creates three-dimensional—at times walk-in—installations, settings, and dramatizations that are characterized by different aesthetics, media, materials, and intense atmospheres. She takes her references from the histories of art and design as well as the movements that have connected the two fields.
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