Markus Oberndorfer

Markus Oberndorfer

Markus Oberndorfer works with a main focus on photography and timeline-based audiovisual media

Markus Oberndorfer was born 1980 in Austria and studied Art and Photography at Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. He works as full-time artist with a primary focus on photography and audiovisual time-based media, occasionally writes essays and uses performance, objects, additional material or spatial installations.

His work is a documentation of the pre-existing that is concerned with how we engage with space. How we interact with it, use and change it. By pre-existing he essentially means everything a place presents to him. Everything that has an attractive force so strong as to make him engage. He captures what moves him personally to tell stories and trigger chains of associations in the viewer.

Markus Oberndorfer’s projects usually are of a conceptual, interdisciplinary and media-reflective nature. They scrutinize what has been documented and how.

Apart from conceptual layers the image or visual landscape presented has to stand for itself and has to have the power to compel to engage. His creations nevertheless are part of bigger work-groups, sequences or stories that are supposed to show a wider context of things.

Some of his works have been published in books and/or shown at festivals, in museums and galleries (Circulation(s) Festival Paris, Musée des Beaux Arts de Rennes, Museum of Modern Art Salzburg, Galerie Ostlicht, Ernst Hilger, Bildraum…). He received awards and grands and is represented in private and public collections in Europe, Japan and the US.

REVISITED: Afterglow

360° Video / 8:30 – 15:30 min / 2016 (ongoing)

The REVISITED project is based on Ed Ruscha’s famous accordion-fold Leporello book Every Building on the Sunset Strip from 1966. Exactly 50 years later, Markus Oberndorfer (re)visited the Sunset Strip to reinterpret Ed Ruscha’s book through 360° video.

The installation includes the original book, a realtime frame of the 360 video on a TV and the 360 video in a VR goggle itself. The juxtaposition of these three mediums and multiple timelines visualizes 50 years of development of media and how we experience the one or the other, as well as then & now aspects of the Sunset Strip. The core idea is to reflect on the fundamental media-related changes implemented through 360 video and Virtual Reality experiences in general and contextualize 360 video as a medium. Particularly in regards to the intensity of the experience and to who holds the power to define the (photographic) frame. Producer or consumer.

REVISITED is part of an ongoing series called REVISIT. It includes 360 video, media installation, photography, collage, artist book, font… and soundtrack on vinyl and for the VR experience. The installation has been shown at Circulation(s) Festival Paris (2017), Musée des Beaux Arts de Rennes (2018) …

Autrement on devient fou

HD Video / 30:19 min / OmeU / 2013

“When I see them crumble, it is as if my bad memories of Cap Ferret crumble with them.“ (cf. Henri Lavrillat)

“Autrement on devient fou….. ” is part of an extensive art project about the disappearance and appropriation of the Atlantic Wall fortifications on Cap Ferret. Interview and book (2014) are directly related to a comprehensive photo-series called „Foukauld – Disappearance“ (2005-2012), a performance and installation on site with the title „Se Souvenir“ (2013), a photofilm called „Omega Point“ (2008), numerous essays by himself and guest-authors, and so on. The project spans over a period of 9 years.

In the interview Henri Lavrillat recalls his compulsory work service on Cap Ferret, how they built the fortifications, the harsh working conditions and in general his time during the Second World War. He also reflects on Oberndorfers book „Foukauld – Disappearance“, that has been the crucial reason for Henri Lavrillat to contact him with the concern of sharing his memories, and builds bridges between the past and the present, memory and imagination. All of which are an important topics in this work.

In the course of the project Oberndorfer worked in close exchange with Wolf Langewitz, Lydia Nsiah and (unfortunately deceased) historian Inge Marszolek, former professor at the Institute for Cultural Sciences of the University of Bremen and with a research and teaching focus on history and memory in the 20th century, media-history, visual history and everyday history. The project has been published in two books that also features essays by those named above and shown in several exhibitions and lecture presentations. Among others in collaboration with Institute Français and Austrian Cultural Forum.

Lenscapes #2

HD Video / 02:58 min / 2011

For quite some time I have been asking myself: „What is happening to a spectator open-minded enough to plunge into an image. Willing enough to screen his or her own imaginary movie to an experience triggered by presented fragments of time and place, influenced by the prejudiced viewers own experiences, and the surrounding it is presented in that is not only influenced by the visual, but also the sound.“

„Lenscapes 02“ is „an imaginary movie screening in front of my inner eye while enlarging a photo I took of the hotel room I have been living in during an artist residency in my darkroom.“

It is part of a correspondent installation that features photography (analog & digital), photofilm and sound. It reflects on the creative potential of each featured medium and their combinations based on research and philosophy. Thats where the project relates to the New Phenomenology of Hermann Schmitz, Lydia Nsiah’s investigations about actual and virtual movement in 'Hybrid: Fotofilm' and Steffen Kammler’s thoughts on the trace of the referent.

The sound piece has been made by Oberndorfer on site reflecting a certain vibe he found himself in at that time. It is etched into a primarily visual medium, a postcard, and the viewer has the possibility to listen to it in the installation on a turntable while also looking at the photograph of the room and the installation.


HD Video / 03:18 / 2006

“Untitled_in_case_01” is the first of 7 short photofilms that document interventions in urban and suburban space, it‘s architecture, function, mystic and re-dedication. Snap-shots and conquests of space borrowing visual dynamics of ego-shooter computer games.

Untitled_in_case consists out of 2000 photographs. Each photo has been taken by consciously pressing the trigger. Motion blurs are the result of longtime exposures. The audio has been taken from an a-d-a-p-t-e-r live performance. The film has been shown at festivals, in selected cinemas in Austria as supporting film for the documentary „China Blue“ and in exhibitions. It is connected to a series of photographs called „Traces” and has been awarded the Docuzone Short Film Award in 2006.