Talia Mukmel – Artist in Residence


Talia Mukmel about the work she realised during her residency

My creative process is led by questions of identity and place. The source of these questions comes from a family story full of transitions, immigrant parents, different cultures and a life in a conflict-ridden area. A collection of overt and covert personal and national stories make up a dichotomous reality in which I live and from which I create.

Days after I arrived in Linz I was led by a familiar feeling. A stroll around the city left no hint of events that took place 80 years ago. On the walls of the buildings there are marble inscriptions telling different stories in a language I do not speak. As a granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor that the fate of her family was influence by World War II, I was very curious to learn more about Linz’s story.

In this work I chose to engage with the way we rewrite history. What we choose to document, what we choose to omit and what these choices tell about us. In order to evoke the sense of absence in Linz’s historical record, I copied parts of words and years from the same marble inscriptions that are scattered throughout the city. This is a “site-specific” process done with porcelain pieces that were prepared in the workshop of the Sculptural conceptions/Ceramics department at The University of Art and Design, Linz.


My works do not follow a particular traditional culture

Each series of works describes a different view from the whole of my life, the place where I live and the cultures from which my parents came. For example, dealing with the Persian rug began the day I realized the cultural complexity to which I was born. As diverse as it is, I know little about it. Actually my interest started as a child when my grandparents immigrated to Israel from South America. They did not bring many things with them so the rug had a strong presence in their home space. Because of language limitations I found the carpet as a space of wonder while we visited them. Every object or technique I create is a tool through which I connect a variety of signs into a new personal language.


I have a great interest and curiosity in the field of materials culture. Research on materials and work techniques, traditional or modern, is a fascinating way through which we can learn about social, economic and political characteristics of different cultures in history. Is human society the one shaping the industry or vice versa?

The choice of a material is made from the work’s context and from the idea I wish to express. I believe that materials, as well as products, are loaded with memory and meanings that affect us even if we are not always aware of it. The more they evoke in us well and the more we will feel its origins, so, I hope, we will relate to it and appreciate it. Natural materials contain these properties so whenever I have the opportunity I would rather use them than other materials.


Some of her objects look like archaeological finds…

The presence of the archeological appearance in my works I recognized only in retrospect, after a few years of work. This is not an intentional result. In every work process I give significant weight to the properties of the material. I don’t force it to be perfect, but rather give it the freedom to express itself.


The project was done with the support of :

  • Atelierhaus Salzamt
  • -Prof. Dr. Irene Posch
  • Design and Technology, university of art and design Linz
  • Sculptural conceptions/Ceramics department, university of art and design Linz


Talia Mukmel