Überlebende #2: Elisabeth Biener

Room installation


In 1651, a desperate Elisabeth – wife of the inconvenient Tyrolean court chancellor Wilhelm von Biener, who was executed following accusations of treason – threw herself into a waterfall after her husband’s beheading… or so the story goes.

A good 320 years later, Katharina Cibulka grows up next to the very same 20-meter waterfall and is influenced by the legend of Elisabeth Biener, whose ghost – the grieving “Bienerweibele” (Biener widow) – is said to haunt the neighboring chancellor castle Schloss Büchsenhausen.

Cibulka’s installation rewrites Elisabeth Biener’s biography and brings it into the 21st century; the ancestral portrait of the chancellor’s wife merges with the face of a fictitious Elisabeth Biener from today, a video shows an endless crash of water from the aforementioned waterfall and a fresco fragment on a whitewashed wall highlights the woman’s absence in historiography. The modern-day Biener appears in a giant photograph, head held high as she stands on a wooden ramp boldly placed over the precipice. She is a proud woman, determined to face life rather than jump.

C-Print, Video, Fresko, Wandtext, Audiofile



SOLO III Katharina Cibulka, Fotogalerie Wien, 2012 (Exhibition view)

Keep the pot boiling, Galerie im Andechshof, Innsbruck 2011


Fotocredits: Ferdinand Cibulka