Exhibition “Navel Gazing”– Julia Runggaldier und Theresa Künig

07.04 - 07.05.22

The exhibition "Navel Gazing" examines excessive self-examination and questions whether this makes personal progress in this world possible. The two young artists Julia Runggaldier and Theresa Künig reveal to us their personal search and attitude in relation to this topic.


With our global and digital worlds, everyone is increasingly worried about themselves. Through constant self-formation, we bring about unscrupulous self-examination. The French philosopher Foucault formulated it as a human “relationship with oneself”, as an examination of one's conscience and as a quest for knowledge and truth. However, self-reflection can also become self-care. Doubts, worries and fears are increasingly characterizing our society today. Too much self-criticism can paralyze people. Artists in particular have a strong tendency to constantly examine and question themselves. This healthy self-dialogue is therefore important in order to create their own personal worldview.

The digital world has long had us under control and roles about our thinking and appearance. More and more people are looking for and need confirmation of their own self, through selfies that peek "likes" in the digital channels. In today's social media ecosystem, such shots are often seen as attempts to generate positive attention. These footages are piling up on social media and are evidence of an insecure society that needs constant encouragement. A natural self-portrayal often remains hidden.

The artists Julia Runggaldier and Theresa Künig take up this topic and look honestly at their own "I". In doing so, they represent an adequate and exhaustive relationship to oneself and seek the essence of individuals. Her work is inspired by the coexistence of our community on the net and its fictions.

Julia Runggaldier's deep examination of her own self can be seen in the large number of her self-portraits. They are deeply personal and do not simply show their creator but immortalize her story in them. She portrays herself as witty, mysterious, melancholic, profound, absent. Sometimes she paints her picture discreetly, almost as if she were spying on herself, and other times her thoughtful face takes center stage. Her introspection is to be regarded as a special manifestation of a holistic conception of man. Julia manages to convey herself in an open and sometimes revolutionary way in her works.

Julia Runggaldier is critical, she always puts her actions to the test. The artist looks for the questions of life within herself. She is occupied with the daily thoughts of today's illusory reality; a staged reality in which we are the characters. This kind of self-observation and reflection constantly creates new obstacles and new incentives for her. She doesn't want to paralyze herself in a situation but is always ready for new challenges. Resilience, forgiveness and rebirth are the guiding principles of her work. She has learned to benefit from deep emotional phases and to gain new opportunities from them. From sleepless nights and nightmares bright colors ignite in her palette. Shrill colors as well as soft pastels characterize her works. Shades of green and pink envelop these often undefined contours in a crystallized space. These human closeups on canvas look like restless souls, with distorted anatomy. They move nervously or lie passively, waiting for something to change, for the fear to pass, for our gaze to go away.


Theresa Künig paints portraits of women. They are self-confident, stubborn characters who rarely avoid the viewer's gaze. However, they don't seem to be particularly interested in their audience - rather they are completely self-absorbed, somehow removed, not paying attention to the view from outside. Whether caught in thought, melancholic or exploratory, she leaves the uniqueness of each identity. As with Julia Runggaldier, Theresa Künig's women are also concerned with themselves, a self-examination, in search of a place in this world.

Their eyes do not reveal what thoughts the women are thinking, one can only speculate. We are left with the view from the outside and the riddle of the feelings and thoughts of an unknown woman who shares an intimate moment with us but takes no notice of us. Theresa Künig's work show the potential for honest, natural portrayal. Their depicted faces convey emotional and partly veiled messages to us, which the viewer can perceive in his own personal way.


Both artistic positions depict no expression of narcissism, self-criticism instead of self-admiration. With conscious and realistic self-assessment, they present their worldview to the viewer.

Request now