Linda Bilda

Linda Bilda is a fine artist, an inventor1, and a political activist. Her programmatic idea “that the world has to be changed”—an idea thoroughly in keeping with the concept of the Situationist International—is a determining factor in her work and in her selection of artistic tools and strategies. Bilda works with the connections and interplay between image and text. She has been a co-publisher of fanzines that took on the institutional art world, its discourses, and its protagonists with critical distance and wit, including ArtFan2 and Die weiße Blatt, Zeitschrift für Kunst und Politik3, in which the “Manifest für emanzipatorische Bildproduktion” [Manifesto for the Production of Emancipatory Images] was published in 2007. Linda Bilda’s primary medium, however, is comics, which she says is so important for her as a pop culture genre “because it is capable of producing information that is both linguistically concrete and visually multilayered.” To her, the advantage of the comics genre is that it is capable of “giving rise to an autonomy of sorts” and conveying content independent of both prior knowledge and the gallery space along with its contextual preconditions.

The stories that Linda Bilda tells in her comics serve to defamiliarize or polemically paraphrase everyday goings-on in society, politics, and the business world, as well as their respective myths as conveyed by the media. Her collected volume Keep it Real5 contains comics drawn between 1992 and 2009 as well as programmatic texts such as on the “sabotage of immaterial work.6 Her pictorial stories take on topics such as gender issues in the art business, the fictitious interlinking of Austrian right-wing populism with crime, or the imagined crash of an airplane occupied by the heads of the American, Russian, and German governments. In Die goldene Welt [The Golden World] (2009), Bilda develops her theme around the question of to what extent the economy constitutes our world’s reality. At stake in this “golden world” are a million dollars, which the wealthy Rick Subisha leaves to his friends upon his death with one caveat: the money will ultimately go to the one among them who manages to make the most profit from it within one year. To this end, Bilda creates seven prototypical characters who pursue this goal according to the criteria of neoliberal competition.





1 Linda Bilda has developed two patents having to do with architectural glass.

2 ArtFan: see work list.

3 Die weiße Blatt, Zeitschrift für Kunst und Politik (1999–2007) was published in Vienna. Linda Bilda’s co-publishers were Ulrike Müller, Christine Haider, Nora Hermann, and others.

4 A quotation from this manifesto (2007): “We would like to stimulate an emancipatory process with regard to the production of images that goes beyond mere analysis. We speak here of image production not in the sense of art but in the sense of a concrete, controversial, progressive and emancipatory image politics that intervenes against a dominance of pictorial wares sponsored with large amounts of money.” Reprinted in: Linda Bilda, Keep it Real, p. 142–144; see note 4.

5 Linda Bilda, Keep it Real. Eine Koolektion von Comics und Texten, ed. Salzburger Kunstverein (2009); this publication appeared in conjunction with the 2009 Salzburger Kunstverein exhibition Linda Bilda, Zukunft und Ende der goldenen Welt.

6 Ibid., p. 166–170.

7 Ibid., p. 146–165.


1963, Wien / AT



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