Subal is spotlighting this era in her current gallery show, “Fragments and Masks: Works from the 70s and 80s.” Depictions of scissors often appear throughout the exhibition, a tool associated with fashion (Kogelnik made some of her own dresses) that also contains hints of violence. Subal likes to interpret the symbol through the lens of yet another Austrian, Sigmund Freud. In Kogelnik’s work, she finds ideas about castration anxiety. More than that, Subal says, the artist “is creating her own vocabulary, her own narrative, her own language.”
In the 1980 work Untitled (Still Life), now on view at the gallery, brown paper cutouts (of heads, hands, an iron, scissors, and other tools) swim across a pink backdrop. Pink pliers appear above a torso, while a blue thread weaves through the loop of scissors, in and out of an eye socket. The domestic tools look almost threatening, elements capable of both destruction and creation. In the nearby Untitled (Face) from 1976, yellow thread weaves through the eyes and mouth of a ghoulish, light pink head, as though to blind the figure and keep it from speaking.
Even if Kogelnik was outwardly quiet about her own beliefs, Zevallos says that in the show, “you can see that she’s making a comment on the objectification of women.” In the 1990s, just before her untimely death, she started making Murano glass heads that fell somewhere between design and art. These, combined with her public image as a socialite, led to her own ironic fate: objectification by the art world itself.