Austrian-born Caroline Ramersdorfer studied philosophy in Paris and sculpture in Carrara, Italy, and her sculpture is rooted in both disciplines. About ten years ago, a grant for a multimedia project led to the series Inner Views, works in marble that use light and space to create physical and spiritual interiors. Both large and small scale, her work is a study in contrasts—tense and fluid, weighty and ethereal—and speaks to the mutability of perception and experience.
Ramersdorfer carves into slabs of marble to reveal complex interior spaces crisscrossed by spindles, some as delicate as finger bones, others more substantial.
Lit from within and without, the effect is of something both built and organic.
From without, these structures, with their sharp angles and imposing heft, are a vital presence. In one series, groups of diamond-shaped marble slabs sit solidly in metal stands, grounded with an inward energy. Others rest on delicate metal piers or hang suspended from the ceiling, thrusting outward, intruding into the space around them. In all her sculpture, the light plays off the marble, creating luminescent and living surfaces that vibrate around the focal point—the open interior. Thick and tactile carving frames the central opening, drawing the viewer inexorably in.
More recently, Ramersdorfer has sheared away one side of the marble slab, shattering the boundary between surface and interior. This creates a lighter and more dynamic piece, where the interior is hard to define, always changing. Things shift again in her latest series, Inner View Open, where closely layered slabs, angled in opposition to each other, create a single interior interrupted by delicate bridges and spindles. This inner view recedes into a space that is complex, cell-like and through Ramersdorfer’s use of light, alive.
Light and its passage are central to Ramersdorfer’s compositions, as seen in her video projections where individual shots of her marble interiors, taken sequentially as the light changed, metamorphose into each other. The effect is of something pulsing, living and mutable. The images remind us that perception is subjective, an image or awareness that can change with the light, and conditional, based in the circumstances of a moment.
The ephemeral in her work can be unsettling, yet Ramersdorfer insists that we continue to look, her interiors drawing the eye in to search for an endpoint that is allusive. There is only certainty in the process—of looking, seeking, of discovery—just as our search for harmony in our personal interiors compels us forward through place, time and emotion, each choice as disquieting as the next. In her Inner Views, Ramersdorfer translates the tension inherent in our desire to find a spiritual calm into sculptural form.