Sophie Gogl: "STORNO"

July 14 - August 23, 2020
Curated by: Marlies Wirth
Photos by: Aslan Kudrnofsky


With the onset of modern travel culture, the demand for large steamer trunks declined. Trains, cars, and finally airplanes required smaller items of luggage. Today, luggage in carry-on size and trolleys are everyday objects. The outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic put a sudden end to traveling, all international travels had to be cancelled. During the shutdown, the practical companions turned into relics of a carefree time and even more, with regard to climate change, they could be viewed as a memorial for environmentally harmful low-cost flights.
Based on these compact small suitcases, artist Sophie Gogl (*1992, Kitzbühel, Tyrol) critically views the topic of travel in times of Corona and climate change in her pop-up exhibition Storno [Cancellation], the second show in the context of the series CREATIVE CLIMATE CARE.

Carry-on pieces of luggage in the standard size set by airlines serve as a base and frame for a series of newly produced works ranging from paintings in small format to object arrangements and sculptural presentations. Already at the beginning of the year, Sophie Gogl developed a series of works in the context of climate change and overproduction. In small glass containers she combined materials close to nature such as bird’s nests or hair with objects like plastic toys or photographs to sculptures that seem surreal.

For the exhibition at the MAK, she created an overall installation resembling an airport terminal abandoned long ago. Different models of suitcases can be found in this utopian setting including fake metal detectors and artificial plants: open or closed, painted and with personalized stickers, with artificial moss or little mushroom sculptures made of clay growing on them.

They serve as a frame for portraits of important people from pop culture and TV series whose attitude towards climate change and society the artist views critically. However, they also act as containers for arrangements of objects and sculptures which are “preserved” in a kind of “microclimate” as relics and snapshots of our consumer society.

The artist also addresses the fact that the production of travel luggage was once a craftsmanship that today has become a low-cost production mostly in low-wage countries. Nowadays, neither traveling nor the production of luggage is a sustainable and environmentally conscious activity. Both have become a “disposable product” and a factor impacting the current climate crisis.

With Storno, Sophie Gogl aims at honoring a temporary era of downtime and “antispectacle” (cf. Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle, 1967) in which we are forced to engage in the present. The scenery of the exhibition is not only a place to reflect upon the climate situation in the context of the COVID crisis but also a place of deception: Are we really at the airport? And if so, given that for weeks it was considered a luxury to move freely in the area we live in, what for? The visit to the museum turns into a journey and a newly gained spectacle.

Sophie Gogl completed her graduate degree in Fine Arts: Painting and Animated Film at the University of Applied Arts Vienna in 2017. She is represented by the Viennese gallery Zeller van Almsick (

With the exhibition cooperation CREATIVE CLIMATE CARE, the MAK and the University of Applied Arts Vienna are giving five graduates of the University of Applied Arts selected by a jury the opportunity of each exhibiting in the MAK GALLERY for three weeks. The series addresses the contribution of design, architecture, and art towards the development of a new mindset for active climate care and is simultaneously also the starting point for the MAK GALLERY to permanently perform as the CREATIVE CLIMATE CARE GALLERY in the future. CREATIVE CLIMATE CARE started off with Florian Semlitsch. Sophie Gogl will be followed by works by Chien-hua Huang, Martina Menegon, and Antonia Rippel-Stefanska.


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