This year, Der Schwimmende Salon held at Thermalbad Vöslau presented once again an exciting mix of well-known actors and actresses in six impressive shows curated by the artistic director and journalist Angelika Hager. As viennacontemporary is partners with Vöslauer, we spoke to Stefanie Reinsperger and Noah Saavedra about their experience as actors and their views on art.
Stefanie Reinsperger (Buhlschaft) and Noah Saavedra’s (Romy Prize winner) show consisted of an eye-opening performance and reading of the famous Austria’s artists, Oskar Kokoschka, Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. In the revelating act, diary entries and love letters between the artists and their muses, Alma Mahler, Emilie Flöge and Wally Neuzil were staged to uncover the psychological turmoil’s, hidden passions and eccentricities of each affair. Each act, interrupting into popular love songs from the past decade, served as necessary intervals to these friction-led and unbearably familiar and self-referential love affairs.
VC: How did you and Noah start with the idea to work with artists and their love stories?
It was actually Angelika Hager because she knows the both of us. Noah played Schiele in the movie and I talked to her about Alma years ago so she paired us together. It was actually fate.
Who is your favourite Austrian artist?
Well I really like Schiele actually. I really love his paintings and during acting school in Vienna I always went to the museum because there is this great Schiele exhibition for the entire year.
Oftentimes artists use art as an output for their psychological turmoil and trauma. Do you think this is something that is positive or does it exaggerate and reinforce the turmoil more?
I enjoy being on stage more than being live because I feel safer doing my art than being here right now in this situation. I feel more protected when I have a character and a play and words that someone has written for me. My acting teacher always says, “Stefi, you shouldn’t cry on stage, only the audience should cry!” So there is always a bit of a balance. You can’t just use it for you to feel better, especially acting. Of course the art gets special because it is individual and from the character.
As an artist, you also bring in your own past experiences into the art form of acting. How has that influenced you and the work you create now?
First of all, it was the art that influenced me and right now I’m at a point where I start influencing the art that I make.
How has your role as Egon Schiele influenced your perception of art today? How do you perceive the art market and the artist?
That’s pretty difficult, but I would say (please don’t judge) that something changed a lot and that is the market. How I see Schiele or people like Picasso is that they really worked hard on their art skills and painting skills and that made them into something. But even if they really have a know-how about their form of art, nowadays, its much more important to sell the person behind it or the artist as an individual – as a crazy and maybe fucked up person. You know what I mean?
Do you mean that the artist is also a businessman who needs to sell his/her persona?
I don’t know, with digitalisation we widen our view and we see so much and get to know so many artists. But the thing is, the difference is in the person. It isn’t exceptionally good, but I just see it like that.
So artists not only sell their art but also sell themselves?
Yes, for example, there was Raphael. He was a murderer I know; he raped a couple of women. He was quite a bad person or what you would call a nowadays morally bad person but still his art is holy. Nowadays that “moral” person and the artist is one. You have to sell the person behind the art.
What is the usefulness and function of art today? What does art do to society and why we need art and artists?
Artists are able to say things that politicians or other people who don’t have such a big range of listeners cannot say. They are free to say stuff. I think, for a small part, because it touches some people and that is important. Even if the painter from my society is not famous at all but I am touched by something he or she does then it is worth doing. Last but not least, without art it would not be worth living. You need to have a balance of the beautiful and the functional.
Art is a type of communication and story telling. There are so many different types of art forms such as visual art, music, theatre and acting. What is your favourite form of art?
Acting, of course.
How do you use acting as a form to communicate to the rest of the world?
I’m pretty sad because in the last half year I haven’t read anything except for things I needed for university. But when I start to constantly read newspapers, books or something from the present, it changes whatever I say on stage. I think that is recognisable for the audience if they read the same thing. I think if you talk in ancient Greek speech but still keep that in mind without saying it out loud then the audience feels it. You can always connect the present to the past with written words because history is always repeating in some kind of way.
Photo credits: Kathi Schiffl
Save the Date
27–30 September 2018
Marx Halle Vienna