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Maria-Aurelia Riese

Contemplation exhibition

Maria was born and raised in Vienna and moved

to the UK in the early 1990's. She now lives and works in Sussex.  Maria studied photography at the Vienna Higher Institute of Graphic Arts receiving a degree in Fine Art photography.

Maria says, "I believe that photography provides me with a unique and powerful tool to communicate my stories.  Childhood memories of Vienna fuel my research.  My work is driven by the need to find my own identity and a place of belonging."

Words from photo books

1. From the writing desk:  I inherited a large brown cardboard box which no-one wanted.  It contains the belongings of my grandmother's writing desk.  Letters tied together with brittle rubber bands, handwritten notes, photos and small objects. Passage of time. Awake. Words on paper, not seen, not heard, not read or touched.  I feel deeply privileged.  Unfolding paper. Opening letters.  Reading words long forgotten.  I feel her presence.  I smell old paper and I smell her.  A life long before mine. Travelling in time.  She is me - I am her.

2. Grandmother's utensils:  I remember my Grandmother's apartment well.  It smelled of coffee and mothballs.  Classical music from the wireless echoed comforting sounds from the high ceiling in her kitchen. Dripping taps accompanied her bird, Hansiburli's desperate tweets from his cage.  It was a place of warmth and curiosities. Poldioma was a collector of all things useful. Nothing was wasted, everything kept for better days.  She used her utensils every day.  I am the keeper of her treasures now. Delicate memories still linger within me, wrapped in a deep sense of love.

3. Grandmother's lace:  Boxes filled with things long forgotten.  Things kept for better days.  Sleeping lace folded neatly.  I open the box.  Her perfume lingers there.  Memories fading in and out like the focus of a camera lens.  Delicate silk-ribboned landscapes resonating nostalgic energy from a time long gone.

Winter collection 


Kunstblumen - translated from the photographer's native German as "Art Flowers," but more commonly known in English as "Artificial Flowers" -

merges and blurs traditional with modern imagery and processing techniques to create art from the artificial.

Drawing upon her Viennese upbringing and training to create works that evoke the melancholy beauty in the lives of the post-war population of Vienna - and Maria's own family - these ghost like images capture the fragile, grey simplicity of the Viennese "moth cupboard", the courtyard windowsill, the formal sitting room, a grandmother's song. Impressions and memories, like the evanescent objects represented in this series, are given permanence and life.

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