“I met Verena a while ago for the opening of her solo show at the Museum of Modern Art in Vienna. I remember it quite vividly because she was wearing extremely sparkly turquoise eye makeup, which I thought looked fantastic. But mostly, because she introduced herself to me in a very friendly, open and interested way, which rarely happens on the Viennese art scene, where people are, for the most part, very cool,” remembers Hanna Putz, recounting her first meeting with the Austrian artist Verena Dengler.
Putz’s first career was as a model, during which she spent eight years living in London, New York, Tokyo, and Paris, before returning to her birthplace of Vienna to fully focus on her artistic practice. It was on her return to the city that Putz’s project Portraits gradually developed. “Most of the images evolved out of me approaching people that I found interesting, both within my circle of friends and individuals that I met only briefly, and asking if I could take their portrait,” she says.
The photograph of Dengler was the result of one of these chance encounters. After that initial meeting, Putz got back in contact and the artist agreed to have her portrait taken. “She’s very fond of her Dyson, so we took a heroic portrait of the majestic paintress she is, showing off that majestic vacuum cleaner together with her painting brushes,” explains Putz. On their second shoot, Putz photographed Dengler in the courtyard of her atelier, where a posse of young boys observed the pair for some time from the other side of the street: “I told them to either move on or get in the picture. Luckily they got in the picture.”
Words: Hannah Abel-Hirsch
Throughout the Austria: The Art of Discovery submission period, Studio 1854 wrote a series of editorials profiling photographers living and working in the country. Vienna-based artist Hanna Putz discussed her project Portraits.