Anita Leisz

Published January 7, 2015

“When you meet a sculpture you don’t know what to do with, this can only be a good thing. It makes you keep looking. How often does that really happen?” -Rachel Harrison

There is something impenetrable about Anita Leisz’s austere, starkly beautiful geometric sculptures. The 41-year-old artist, who lives and works in Vienna, primarily uses industrial materials originally designed for construction and interior finishes. Take her series of spare, rectangular cubes made out of white melamine chipboard that she mounts to walls, or the slab-like gypsum board structures that have the appearance of poured concrete. Sometimes patches of spray-paint give an apocalyptic, urban effect. Many of Leisz’s works are untitled, while a select few (Freaks; naked and undressed objects; and unisex) hint at the anthropomorphic. Leisz grew up in the steel-producing town of Leoben in southeastern Austria and attended school in nearby Donawitz before studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. “The whole area-roofs, walls, sidewalks-were colored rust red,” she recalls of Donawitz. A local church, with an intricate steel framework, made a lasting impression.

“Decisions must be precise, and a piece is evidence of that process,” Leisz says of her practice. “I like to work in life-size scale with boards I cut and glue together. It’s doing that body thing, but they are like husks.” Rachel Harrison took notice of the artist at the Vienna Art Fair this past October, where Leisz collaborated on an installation with German painter Julia Haller. As for the future, “It would be great to equip a dentist’s practice room, placing some larger-than-life off-white sculptures,” Leisz says. “Repetition bores me. It’s like manually copying a recipe you already wrote down.”