“I see my paintings as conversation openers. They can encourage people to share thoughts and develop ideas together”
AT: Where are you from and how/why did you start engaging with art?
SF: I was born in a town close to Leipzig, Germany, a few weeks before the fall of the wall. So there was a quite active painting scene, that suddenly had access to the world and vice versa. I grew up in the absolute periphery of it.
AT: When did it become serious?
SF: In my teenage years, I would say. In the afternoons, after school, I was able to visit a studio where I was free to paint, draw, print and make pottery. I was actually there every free minute.
AT: Are there any person who has been signiﬁcant in your breakthrough as an artist?
SF: I can not speak of a breakthrough, but in my development there were many inﬂuential people, both in my personal and professional life. It is hard to pinpoint it down to one speciﬁc person. It is rather a conglomerate of conversations and relations that form you as an artist.
AT: What is your ﬁrst approach to the work? How would you describe your practice?
SF: I am always collecting digital images. This forms an archive that serves as a starting point. There are motifs that have the potential to describe the now – evoke thoughts, imply answers or reﬂect a contemporary mood well. And there are some that are just funny, nostalgic or frivolous. From this mass of images I select some, collage, modify and edit them. There are several recurring topics that interest me: Power structures, physical money, comfort food, beauty ideals and hygiene. It is in the end a way for me to understand or decode the world.
Put It Somewhere, Exclusive, 2022, Acrylic on canvas, 130 x 180 x 2,5 cm | Exhibtion view at Kunsthalle-Exnergasse | Photo Kunstdokumentationen
AT: What do you aim to reach with your work?
SF: The decelerating process of painting gives me time to think. But the works do not aim to give answers or illustrate my theories on world events. They are rather chains of associations that can evoke thoughts or feelings – for me and others. I see my paintings as conversation openers. They can encourage people to share thoughts and develop ideas together.
AT: What are your favorite tools and materials for working?
SF: At the moment I am mainly using airbrush to paint on canvas. For the install it can be all kinds if materials – depending on what the room needs.
AT: What do you feel while you work? Do you usually think about the ﬁnal outcome beforehand?
SF: Since I work with my archive to prepare the paintings, I already have a pretty good feeling for how the work should ultimately look. However, the painterly process comes in between, which charges the motif again diﬀerently and adds a certain ductus. Even if it is not the typical gestural explosion of a brush.
AT: How do you understand that a work is ﬁnished?
SF: A work for sure has several phases where it could be considered ﬁnished, and even would look interesting. But it always depends on each one, on the artist, if it transmits what they want or have in mind. If a work I do, starts to resonate with me personally, it is done.
All Good, 2022, Acrylic on canvas, 100 x 110 x 2,5 cm | Photo courtesy Harkawik
Normal Lead, 2022, Acrylic on canvas, 90 x 100 x 2,5 cm | Photo courtesy Harkawik
AT: Where does the inspiration for the work come from?
SF: Absurdities of our everyday life.
AT: Are there any artists who inﬂuenced your works? Why?
SF: I’m really impressed by Tintoretto’s way of not giving a damn, painting sometimes meticulously, sometimes unbelievably disgustingly – and that it works! El Greco for the color contrasts and skies. Domenico Gnoli for his calm and intelligent way to combine ﬁguration and abstraction and James Rosenquist for his compositions.
AT: How important is the role of social media for you?
SF: Social Media for sure makes my work accessible to a wider, more international audience. Which wouldn’t be the case just exhibiting in Vienna alone.
AT: What is your opinion about NFTs and their impact on the art world?
SF: Back in the days some people around me believed the internet is just a phase and one shouldn’t jump on every trend. I feel like this with NFTs. It has yet to be proven how wrong I am. It just doesn’t exists in my world.
Four Fingered Stitch, 2022, Acrylic on canvas, 80 x 120 x 2,5 cm | Photo courtesy Harkawik
AT: As an artist, what is your point of view about the contemporary art system?
SF: Contemporary Art System is a broad term. The people of the system I’ve dealt with so far have been enormously interesting.
AT: What do you ﬁnd to be the most challenging or daunting thing about pursuing art? What is the most rewarding part of working as an artist?
SF: I like it very much when my works leave the studio and are transferred into another context. It also helps me to become aware of the works: what do they actually communicate? I take these experiences with me into the next paintings and exhibitions.
AT: What do you do besides art?
SF: Yesterday I co-hosted a barbecue in a vacant villa, where someone gave a whip cracking performance and people applauded.
AT: What are your goals and expectations for the future?
SF: Today I got a forwared mass-mail saying: “I never think of the future, it comes soon enough.” – Albert Einstein. I forward this one to you now.
Exhibition view of “Try To Look Natural” in Pilot, Vienna | Photo Simon Veres
Sarah Fripon is an artist living and working in Vienna, Austria. Fripon´s paintings are quoting imagery reminiscent of stock photos, snapshots, screen grabs or classic iconography. The idea of quoting can also be found in the installation of her exhibitions, as she considers and works with the peculiarities of the space, often quotes or reﬂects on elements in the room.
Born in 1989 in Zeitz, Germany, Sarah Fripon moved to Austria to study at the Academy of ﬁne Arts Vienna. She graduated with a B.A. in Fashion Design and a master in Fine Art. Her work was shown, among others, in Taxispalais Kunsthalle Tirol (2019), Palais Liechtenstein Vienna (2020), Fünfzigzwanzig Salzburg (2021),
Harkawik New York (2022) and Kunstforum Bank Austria (2024).
Her works are part of the collection of the Baden State Museum in Karlsruhe, the Graphic Collection of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and the Collection of the Vienna Museum. She currently is a Fellowship Awardee of Bank Austria Studios 2022 – 2024.