top of page

 Cristiana de Marchi & Günter Zehetner

On the 14th of June 2022, STUDIOSPACE Lange Strasse 31 presented .works by Cristiana de Marchi (Beirut, Dubai, Vienna) and Günter Zehetner (Frankfurt).

Kommunikation und Korrespondenz

Christiana de Marchi und Günter Zehetner by Anglica Horn you find below.

Bringing together Cristiana de Marchi and Günter Zehetner - two artists who write, or otherwise two writers who draw with light, - the present edition of “Pairings” reflects not only on the polyedric nature of creative expression but also on the potential of establishing and sustaining correspondences which present revelatory moments to their very participants.

Writing to the self as much as writing to the other, de Marchi and Zehetner reveal a passionate attachment to their respective practices, while also exploring the potential intersection of themes and modes of manifesting their personal universes. The originating correspondence becomes pretextual as it reveals a deeper meaning to the noun: not only the words which are exchanged in a written form create a correspondence, but especially the consonance between the two, as they venture and expose the intimacy of their daily exercise.

“Fadesse sounds familiar in its Portuguese despair of consolation, in the morbidity of a loss that is allowed to be. 
Not an order, not a direction, not the cleanliness of an imposed structure, rather the slipping, the sliding away of a not-so-well-kept secret, of a past desire. […]

I know I was writing on that same day, November 25th. I always write on odd days, or pretend I do. Thoughts for odd days, journals of inconsistency, notes like dispatches, war diaries of an obstinacy – holding the post – along a forgotten frontier ”. (Cristiana de Marchi)

Cristiana de Marchi, from a Letter to Günter Zehetner, December 3rd, 2020


“Do you write Poems regularly? Every day or some in one week? I make drawings every day and they are somehow like poems, they are picturing inner states like your Poems. […] As I said, I do them every day, they are simple, raw and somehow Art Brut. They come out directly, it does not last more than 2 to 5 minutes to complete them, and they all get a title. They are somehow rude, raw, but also delicate and often sexually connoted. I would like to see them both on the wall. Both have an inner world in them, both have their own very personal syntax. The use of language and drawing follows their own singular, personal regularities, not following common rules.”. (Günter Zehetner)

Günter Zehetner, from a Letter to Cristiana de Marchi, January 21st, 2021

About the works:

Cristiana de Marchi, Thoughts for odd days, 2018-ongoing.

Excerpts from Cristiana’s Thoughts for odd days will accompany the presentation of a selection of short videos, based on fictional correspondences, thus expanding on the notion of duality and introducing a voyeuristic component to the intimacy of an exchange of impressions, memories and existential angoisse.

Günter Zehetner, Drawings, 2020-2021. Paper, ink and coloured pencil on paper, cm 21 x 29.7

Presenting a selection of Zehetner’s daily drawings, all intentionally created within an extremely brief timeframe, the artist and writer reflects on parallels between the two practices, almost introducing his drawings as visual translations of automatic writing.

Cristiana de Marchi is an Italian / Lebanese visual artist and author who lives and works in Beirut and Dubai. She received her MFA with honors in Archaeology from the University of Turin, after completing her Bachelor with Honours in Humanities at the same university.

Cristiana de Marchi is an Italian / Lebanese visual artist and author who lives and works in Beirut and Dubai.
Cristiana de Marchi's working method explores the social and political terrain of memory, of past and present places, of identity and disputed borders, and of utensils of contemporary nationality. Using textiles, embroidery, films, and performances, she initiates processes that draw attention to the currencies of power by exploring these very structures. By extracting signs and symbols, she questions the conditions of the systems that constitute them. She reveals the power structures contained in flags and their colors, passports, places, statistics, sociological models, words and letters. By focusing on often overlooked details, she points out how the seemingly harmless actions and details of everyday life are the essence of larger structuring systems.

Günter Zehetner (1965) Filmmaker, from it photography, drawing, existing material, language.
The Super-8 work in the collection of the Austrian Film Museum in Vienna and is shown there in the cycle "what is film".
Participating as an invited artist in symposia dealing with found material "amateur film".
As well as showing the unedited amateur films (found films) in the art context, where he calls himself the author of the films, insofar as he sees himself as a "retrograde" commissioner. One film -original author unknown- is given to the audience, as a "Perfect Film" in reference to the film of the same name by Ken Jacobs.
19 hours of the film "Franz Biberkopf. Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Döblin, read by Zehetner, unprepared, in different places, with himself alone and the camera, one hour each. Already shown as an installation in the Liebfrauenkirche, it still hairs the performance, in a piece in the invisible cinema of the Austrian Film Museum in Vienna.
For a year (2017/2018) every day on the same bench on the Main he tastes the cosmos, gives him 3 hoods or spits him in the face, whereupon the same comforts him with the play of waves in light, colour and shape infinity and thus shows him his ecstasy ability again and again.
The drawings, created since 2020, show the desire to transform a narrative, created daily in individual sheets, through constant repetition of the elements that occur, and a resulting accumulation of sheets, into a complex pictorial-linguistic work that comments on and completes each other. 
Zehetner refuses to be categorized. His home is and remains with film, from which he departs to operate in other terrains. With the credo "Everything is work", he draws directly from his love life, life, as well as from the love of life itself. 
Lives and works in Frankfurt and Vienna.   

(…) Verliebter Narr,                                                                                

wenn sich die Zeiger treffen,                                                                                  

machst du mit Albaster                                                                                  

der Gedanken                                                                                   

den weiten Weg zum Frauenleib,                                                                              

bis dich dein Blut                                                                                  


mit abgekühlten Schatten.


aus `Libellenflügel von Lejzer Ajchenrand`

Communication and correspondence
Christiana de Marchi and Günter Zehetner
by Angelica Horn

Communication is the sense of how the other person is feeling at the moment and how you are feeling yourself. This feeling is fundamental - before it comes to empathizing and understanding, sharing and saying. Communication understood in this way is fundamentally human, and successful communication can be seen as humanity in general.  In his "Critique of Judgment," Immanuel Kant writes that "humanity means, on the one hand, the general feeling of being human, and, on the other hand, the ability to communicate intimately and generally; which qualities, combined together, constitute the happiness appropriate to humanity." ("Critique of Aesthetic Judgment," § 60, B 262)


Christiana de Marchi once defined her artistic attitude in a video (Maraya Art Centre 2022) to the effect that art does not communicate information, but makes the offer to the viewer to determine himself, and asks the question, "Where are you standing?" This is a silent question, a question in silence, which the artist asks with a calm and quiet urgency in all her work again and again and continuously - also to herself: "Where are you standing?" Thus, this position of a humanity is not a direct, but still an open objection to violence, which for the most part does not ask long, but is exercised.

The artist stands in a reciprocal (!) communication with his time (his historical present and its events), in which he on the one hand takes up impulses and structures from it and on the other hand relates his own attitude and his own artistic expression to this own time. In this respect, communication is always also correspondence, a relationship of correspondence and response, in which the whole range of human possibilities appears and is realized in the respective choice.

The exhibition of Christiana de Marchi and Günter Zehetner in the exhibition series „“ curated by Carolin Kropff in the Studiospace of Frankfurt's Lange Strasse 31 had to be postponed for two years due to the Corona period and the explosion in Beirut, the effects of which also affected Christiana de Marchi's apartment. The two artists started a correspondence on e-mail level with each other, communicated about art and about poems and their translation, for example.

Feeling how the other person is, feeling how you are, that is a form of knowledge. And this form of knowledge allows one to recognize where one stands and thus also what or who one is. Sensing is an expression of sensibility, not actually a certain sensation, but an interplay, a communication or correspondence of sensations. Both artists in this exhibition succeed in communicating such things intimately and generally, and they succeed in their exhibition and in conversation with the viewer.

From de Marchi we see 14 letters to himself on the right wall of the exhibition space and a sequence of short videos running on a smaller screen. The letters, "Thoughts of odd days" (since 2018, ongoing), are an arrangement of one photo each, a short text, a date/title on Din A4 - here shown on tracing paper on the wall and with the photos in black and white. Still without the viewer has read something, perceived something exactly or identified, a feeling of intimate consternation may arise in him, a feeling that clarifies and explains itself in the occupation with these thoughts. The thought is the spoken or written word and the image, at the same time it is the respective whole, which ultimately cannot be stated. The whole has a poetic sound that makes you think. The whole is pictorial-visual and spiritual-immaterial. The order and arrangement is formal and peaceful. Art also represents the place of a self-assurance in the context of respective reality. The sheet from 23.06.2020 with the title "Christiana de Marchi, Blue (Hands), 2022" written next to the photo shows the text: "... the effort to become language ..." and a photo with two hands stretched upwards, in one of the videos the text is connected with another photo, a window view. How does a person come to speak and to speak? In the video "Doing & Undoing" (2013), we see embroidering hands embroidering letters that together form the word "borders," and those same hands undo the embroidery, stitch by stitch. Can borders be undone? Everything is done here with great deliberation and precision.


The 91 drawings (2020-2021) by Günter Zehetner, which are presented in a block on the left wall of the exhibition space, appear more delicate and lighter. Here, too, the artistic work and attitude is a specific way of man's self-communication with himself, a real self-reference, which is shown in the trace text of the work of art and which contains it in itself.

Communication is the sense of what the other person is about. This drawing is itself a feeling and self-feeling.  Over a certain, but not predetermined or intended period of time, the artist made every evening a drawing (Din A4), the material lay ready and, when the real moment came, was drawn quickly, in two to five minutes a drawing was made, gradually adding colors. Each drawing has a title; a list of the titles of the exhibited works is on the front wall of the exhibition room and the viewer may make up his mind whether he can establish an associative or even significant relationship with the respective sheets.  Drawing was done quickly, not according to a specific plan. Motifs appeared over time, which then repeated themselves, such as the snail or the flower. It is about sexuality, no doubt, but less in a direct sense, than about tenderness and tenderness, about inner worlds. We don't have to worry about drive fates and the like here.  It is about human encounters, getting to know each other, it is about events of private life. As direct and immediate as the approach is, as approaching and playful it is at the same time. It is also about humanity. The handwriting is linear and outline-like. On sheet 42 of the drawing block, for example, two silhouettes face each other, looking and smiling at each other. On other sheets, an entire story seems to be told without being easily retold. The view of an event is precise and non-intrusive, as is also known from Günter Zehetner's films. Thus the view is directed to the individual.


Immanuel Kant speaks of taste, i.e. of the human ability to judge in relation to the results of art, as the "general sense of man". The work of art itself can give a pattern and a concept, "of the happy union of the legal compulsion of the highest culture", by which the freedom of man and the obligation to freedom is to be understood, "with the power and correctness of free nature feeling its own value". (op. cit., B 263). If freedom is, according to Kant, the constant and unchangeable demand of human reason, the nature of man is that which changes in the ages of man. Art, expressing its time or something of its time, creates in its success such a "happy union."


Christiana de Marchi and Günter Zehetner correspond with each other with their works in this exhibition and develop a communication. Or vice versa, they communicate and develop a correspondence of two different attitudes, which are nevertheless (also) concerned with a common cause. Between the two positions is the exhibition visitor, who, looking at both presentations, can ask himself: "And where do I stand?"



Angelica Horn

© Frankfurt am Main 2022

Kindly supported by Kulturamt Frankfurt.



bottom of page