Cora Pongracz

Cora Pongracz has dealt primarily with the portrayal of individuals from her personal surroundings, documenting each of them in multiple photos. Her almost exclusively black-and-white photographs appear as phases of an exchange between the ones being photographed and the photographer, even if Pongracz kept her physical presence out of the images in order to shift the interaction such that it appears to take place as a performative process between the camera and the portrayed. In doing so, she integrated the factor of time as an ephemeral, transitory phenomenon to which she gave reinforcement via the serial principle. But Cora Pongracz did no staging—neither of the individuals nor the camera nor herself. Her artistic approach consisted in constructing a sensitive field within which she hosts an irony and melancholy-laced process of interplay between photography, photographer and subject with the highest degree of photographic professionalism. Pongracz trained her lens on her photographic opposite with a fine sense of distance and simultaneous presence in order to enter into a quasi-unconscious performative dialog in which she succeeded in undermining that projective power of the camera which creates the pose as something which has always been anticipated. In the work of Pongracz, the mis(-)take is at once method and metaphor.

The poet Reinhard Priessnitz (1945–1985), with whom she was married, summed up her art well in the catalog published in connection with her exhibition verwechslungen in 1978: “when cora pongracz, in her series and individual photos, composed portraits in which she marked a frame by naming ironic portrayal, she encourages—in an exemplary way all her own—a change in one’s receptive approach. in multiple ways, she shatters the identificatory relations typically postulated in photography, thereby opening up to perception aspects from which we must figure out whether they are to be viewed as identical with their models because she intended it or because our intention would have it be so.”

Pongracz’s Photogeschichte Martha Jungwirth – Franz Ringel [Photo Story of Martha Jungwirth and Franz Ringel] (1971) and her 8 erweiterte portraits [8 expanded portraits] (1974/75), her individual portraits and portrait series from the Viennese art and literature scenes of the 1960s and 70s, and the series created since the 1980s are important examples of her artistic work, which she continued pursuing right up to her sudden death.



1943, Buenos Aires / AR – 2003, Wien / AT



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