Name
Ashley Hans Scheirl
Country
Austria
Austrian filmmaker, performance artist, and painter Ashley Hans Scheirl (b. 1956 as Angela Scheirl) is an important representative of the international queer and transgender scene, who first became known for her experimental films. The prefix “trans-” can be expanded almost endlessly in Scheirl’s work, hence her work is transmedial, transdisciplinary, transgenic, transformative, and transgender—it develops out of the constant crossing or overcoming of binary structures. Scheirl’s artistic approach is characterized by the structure of transgression: ongoing transgressions take place between private and public space. Accordingly, Scheirl can be described as someone who crosses borders both in terms of conventional artistic disciplines or media, as well as in terms of gender identity and lived queerness.

Scheirl’s films from the 1980s and early 1990s operate at the interface of experimental film, performance/action, music, and expressive forms of lesbian-queer sexuality. They mark an important moment in the development of conceptual art in Austria. Beginning in 1995, Scheirl increasingly turned to painting, also here with a tendency to transgress the boundaries of the medium. Accordingly, her work is difficult to categorize into a single, specific media discourse. Concurrent with the beginning of her preoccupation with painting, Angela Scheirl changed her own identity and her body into the male artist Hans Scheirl—at times aided by taking testosterone. Almost twenty years later, Hans Scheirl transformed his own fluid identity again and lives and works since then as Ashley Hans Scheirl.

Scheirl’s work develops through constant experimentation and examines the boundaries of what defines a work by continually transforming it, creating new references, or switching genres. It operates both formally and thematically in the interstices, testing its indeterminacy, but with recurring vocabulary and motifs.

Ashley Hans Scheirl’s work has been shown at international exhibitions, film festivals, and at documenta 14 last year in Athens and Kassel, the Taxispalais in Innsbruck, the New Museum in New York, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, MUSA Vienna, Shedhalle in Zurich, Nova Galerija in Zagreb, the Semperdepot of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Macba in Barcelona, and the Museum of Modern Art Vienna.

Text: Anja Lückenkemper