Irma Hölzl

Artist’s card

Bronze and white, shiny and dull, smooth and rough, pure lines and yet sinuous, elegant, lofty, precious forms. These could be some of the key words of a possible reading of Irma Hölzl’s works. But his sculptures are much more than that; they tell and represent much more. Sprung from intense creative work, intellectual first and physical later, they encapsulate the passion to create, the inescapable need to give life to a given entity, depiction, allusion, whether naturalistic or merely anthropomorphic, zoomorphic or completely abstract. Intuition comes over insistently, breaks through the thoughts and needs to be studied, deepened, modified. It is then the time of setting up with the “partners” – more or less ductile – as always: iron, mesh, ropes, plaster, wax. And here, as in a crowded forge, new ideas surface and new solutions are devised. And it’s still research. Finally, the sculpture takes on its final physiognomy and as such is entrusted to the foundryman and his mastery. Waiting, with its fears and suspense for the final outcome, is the last act of the long creative affair.

Irma Hölzl’s varied sculptures represent a path of artistic growth and transformation, underscoring the development of a language capable of renewal in terms of freshness and adaptability to the new, to today. They weave a dialogue with the user but-not at all invasive-they have no desire to impose a thought or flaunt a slogan.

The search for balance and refinement has always guided the sculptor’s stylistic choices, while her artistic poetics yearns to achieve a soothing afflatus, capable of restoring beauty and harmony to the observer.

Nostalgia, memories, dreams, narratives, as well as reflections, can emanate from each individual sculpture and adapt to and permeate everyone’s personal universe. However, it is perhaps the feeling of concordances, of the total absence of dissonant or cacophonous elements that is striking. In Irma Hölzl’s works everything is respite, respite from the deafening din: it is rather a subdued flow of feelings and sensations.

Opening the door to his atelier, it is an orderly, almost rarefied universe that opens to the visitor’s eyes. The large sculptures, while perfectly substantial and plastic, are light and precious as jewels. Bronze castings, which have lost their roughness and heaviness thanks in part to the use of muted coloring and a kind of “whitewash” in matte acrylic color, seem caught in the precise moment of movement. The robes of many of the human or anthropomorphic figures are barely noticeable, indistinct, and timeless. Slightly rippling, they allude to the movement of striding or the wind catching on fabrics. The hair, which has become a prey to the puffs, wiggles naturally. The faces, usually uncharacterized, are unexpectedly expressive and incredibly unique. The unraveling headdresses variously directing the flap of fabric tell of movement or speed. The generally solitary figures attain a special strength when they are in pairs, threes or in true groupings: whether naturalistic or stylized, they are especially striking for their special mastery in emulating the spontaneous attitudes now of the crowd, for example, observing something toward the sky, now of children intent on playing and of whom it is easy to guess what game they are alluding to.

Joy, zest for life, and freedom are often the feelings that seem to emanate from many of the artist’s sculptures. This is the case, for example, with two large works such as Ballerina and Dancing Figure with Ribbon. Refinedly feminine, light, and able to soar through the air, the Ballerina acquires further symbolic meaning and at the same time mythological reminiscence-that of the Greek Hours placed to protect the alternation of the seasons and the cycle of vegetation-thanks to the presence of the olive twigs decorating the tutu. Juxtaposed following the axis created by the arms raised upward, the twigs help give movement to the sculpture. In the Dancing Figure with Ribbon, the body seems to sublimate into the dress, and the dress, in turn, becomes ribbon-like to create a pendant with the golden ribbon that unravels and wraps right above the figure’s head held by the arms stretched upward and held by the fingers.
The emergence-perhaps even unconsciously-of childhood and youthful reminiscences, of a whole educational, cultural and traditional background, gives this artist’s works a special charm, a double valence of present and past, of rootedness and the ability to go beyond, looking to the future, with a mild attitude that is still all youthful.

Indeed, the two statues dedicated to Margareta Maultasch, the charming countess of Tyrol who really existed and was the protagonist of a series of vicissitudes restored to posterity by a whole flourishing of legends and novels, speak of ancient legends heard as a child. Here the figure is caught seated, the hair styled in the style of the late Middle Ages acts as an identifying feature of the historical subject but without in any way blocking the imagination of the realization and its fruition. Belonging to a fairy-tale world is also the Bird figure that seems to take form and life from a broken tree branch. Here the bronze has a completely atypical workmanship, and one realizes that it is not wood just by getting close and touching it. Remarkable castings, aesthetically refined, precious in their materials, fascinating in their subjects, harbingers of a culture and imagery as complex as the land from which the artist comes: these are the works of Irma Hölzl.

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