Visual artist 
based in Vienna
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Mara Novak has developed her own approach to the techniques of early photography, expanding into sculpture and site-specific installation. 

Whether by sidestepping the use of a camera or by altering its functionality, Novak’s constructed realities expose the mechanisms of their creation, the complexity and, simultaneously, the fragility of the illusion.

Although working with photo-sensitive paper, light filters and many other staples of analogue photography, Novak’s approach is neither nostalgic nor historical. Although fascinated with properties of materials, Novak is not precious about the result. Rather, her installations resemble an artist’s studio, with constant re-iterations and re-conceptualizations we came to expect from the post-digital approach. The space itself, the processes she sets up within it as well as sculptural objects are all equal participants in the resulting artwork.

Her curiosity leads her deep into the photographic metamorphosis as is evident in the artworks she describes as “revisions”. They emerge out of her later engagement with the material from her site-specific installations and are a result of the artist’s motivation to re-approach the installations as if through a viewfinder. While these self-contained pieces bear witness to the spaces they originated in, Novak attempts to detach the installations from the room through sculptural framing and scale. (Text: Nika Kupyrova)