Magazine Cover/ Article  2019


  • Focus Magazine 2019 Sabrina Horak
  • Focus Magazine Cover 2019 Sabrina Horak_So close to paradise_2014_150 x 91 cm_acrylic on wood


Newspaper/Magazine Articles  2017

  • Art Forest Bijutsu no Mori BM Spring 2017 Web Version
  • Mainichi Newspaper 3.3. 2017 WebVersion
  • Mainichi Newspaper Mainichi Shinbun 22. March 2017 Web Version
  • New Art Newspaper Shin-Bijutsu Shinbun March 2017 Web Version
  • The Japan Times 8. March 2017 Web Version
  • Window of Art Bijutsu no Mado June 2017 Web Version
  • Window of Art Bijutsu no Mado May 2017 Web Version



Newspaper/Magazine Articles  2016

  • Solo Exhibition Review in Geijutsu Shincho Magazine May 2016


Solo Exhibition "I'M climbing a mountain and I'm never looking back", SYP Gallery, Tokyo 2022

The title of the exhibition is referring to how I see my own life. I perceive my own life as a mountain that I have to climb. I always have the feeling, that I need to get somewhere, a point in my life, that feels kind of out of reach.

I am mainly depicting myself-
There are two reasons for this
First:  Depicting myself, along with the three-dimensionality,  makes me feel like I actually occupy space in this world where I sometimes feel like I don’t exist. So I manifest myself in this world through my work. In these works, my body becomes the literal mountain that I perceive my life as. Small figures, that are also me, are climbing up or resting on the various body parts

The second reason is, that I am at the same time examining  my identity. And I do this by depicting myself.  

So these different parts I feel like my identify is fragmented into are defined by my religion, womanhood, my half Japanese- half Austrian heritage, and being an artist.

These feel like very different fragments to me, that often seem incompatible to me,  and I think my work process of combining separate layers, elements and materials  and uniting them in one piece of work- whether that might be on paper or wood-is a reflection of how I am trying  to unite all those fragments inside myself.




Also, making these works, making Art in general, is also something highly transformative to me, and I mean that on two different levels.


One is on a material level. I buy the raw materials, wooden veneer panels, paint, metal parts, canvas and so on. These are separate elements. Then I start cutting the wood. If you have ever cut wood with a jigsaw, you know that the edges will be very rough and look frizzed out. It looks very rough, and I have to use sandpaper to make the edges smooth. It also leaves a huge mess with all the sawdust. But through the whole process of making an artwork, you re-arrange all those separate and maybe rough elements, and create something new and beautiful.


And the second one is on a spiritual level. I was talking about how life often feels like climbing a mountain to me, which is a strenuous ordeal. I often feel like encountering obstacles or difficulties, including my identity that feels fragmented. But Art gives me the power to transfor these negative elements into something positive and at times also humorous.

Making art also helps me, myself, transform and transcend, ascend to a higher level, and overcome my own difficulties on many different levels and aspects in my real life.
Depending on the artwork, especially the drawings it often almost feels like exorcism.


So I don’t have a separate studio, and during the process of making the works for this exhibition I felt so calmed by seeing these big figures in my home. (Sometimes it also felt stressful to waking up and always seeing work in front of me, but on the other side,) those big embodiements of me also felt very calming to me. They felt like companions to me, sisters that were watching over me and support me. Also, seeing enlarged, multiplied depictions of myself in this vivid colors in my apartment felt like it invocated a multiplication of my energy and strength.
 So I used my energy to create these large works, and in return, these works gave me even more strength, they made me-more, bigger, stronger?

Like making refined work out of rough materials, I create something beautiful, a visually appealing artworks out of negative or ugly emotions.

That’s the transformative power of art.

It's pure magic.


I am interested in the concept of Utopia, not in the meaning of an ideal society, but rather that of a paradise, which, in my opinion, can exist for a short time, and is more state of mind, a memory, or even just a short moment, rather than a certain location.
Having grown up in Austria with an austrian father and japanese mother, I always had an Utopia-like image of japan. I visited Japan several times during my childhood without speaking the language back then, and thus, felt very much like a tourist in some sparkling wonderland. This image of Utopia has nothing to do with real Japan, but is, as a dreamlike memory, the source of my inspiration.
An image like this towards Japan might be rare. Maybe someone, who did not grow up in between two cultures wouldn’t understand it. But I think that everybody has a longing for a perfect, Paradise-like Place.
I want to analyze my relation to Japan, based on the experiences and impressions I have, and express it in a way that is easier understandable for the viewer.
The huge gap of the two cultures I grew up in between generated a perpetual tension throughout my whole life. I always used this tension as energy to create my works.
Living and studying in Japan now didn’t make this tension disappear. In Austria, I am always perceived as an oriental or asian, and in Japan I’m a foreigner as well. No matter where I go, I never fit in. So as long I use this as a stimulus to create my artwork, I will never run out of energy.
With my former “Crowd”-Series and my current series of symmetric paintings I want to create an equal tension.
On one hand, I want to express this tension, and on the other, I want to express feelings of utter happiness, the imaginary paradise. Through this gap, even more tension is created.

Symmetric composition

In mid 2013, I started with my new series of symmetrical paintings of sunbathing people.
I want to use the body parts of the people to control the gaze of the viewer. If the composition is not symmetric, the gaze might leave the painting easier. I am trying to find symmetrical compositions that capture the gaze of the viewer and make it linger inside the painting for a longer time.
Austrian and Japanese culture, society, language, senses, and so on, are very different. I want to create artworks that were obviously by someone who grew up between those two cultures.
The shape of the series of symmetric works I am working on at the moment looks a little bit like european crests from times long passed by. That wasn’t something I did on purpose, but something I recognized after finishing the works. The shapes I had around me growing up in Austria subconsciously influenced me and have now emerged in these works.
While having this aesthetic sense as a base, I want to adopt japanese aesthetics and influences and combine them in my works.
My work “So close to paradise” is my first symmetric work, where the height is longer than the width. That makes it resembling to churches or temple buildings. The compositions of my symmetric paintings are strongly related to architecture.
I want to learn more about architecture, because I think that the composition of my paintings will benefit from this.

Why did I choose summer as a setting for my works?

Winter in Vienna is very different from winter in Tokyo. It’s very cloudy and cold. For me personally, it’s almost unbearable; that’s why light-flooded summers are my personal ideal.
Summer exists only for a limited time span, since we have no direct control over weather and temperature.
To imitate this state of summery happiness is very difficult.
From my point of view, man-made public swimming pools and resort centers are an allegory to this state of summer.
I was very interested in a resort center named ocean dome in Miyazaki, Japan, that was famous for being the only artificial real indoor beach in the world for a while (and was built in walking distance from a real beach). I was planning to take pictures there for my next works, before I found out that it unfortunately closed down in 2007. What I am interested in is not natural beaches, but man-made swimming pools and resort centers, since I am interested in the artificial image of Paradise or Utopia.
In the same way I retreat into my memories of Japan, people retreat to swimming pools or resort centers to forget daily life, and have a good time (also similar parallel worlds such as amusement parks like Disneyland, or the popular Venus Fort, Odaiba, with its kitschy decoration, and many others). This is also, in my opinion, just one word: Paradise.

Why do I express an abstract feeling with figurative paintings of people?

More than, for example, paintings of landscapes or animals, what impresses the viewer the most and gets the most attention is the flesh of the human body.
For me, it’s not important, whom I’m painting. The shapes of the humans and their body parts are like toys to me, that I can arrange in any way that pleases me.

Materials and production process

Since 2007, I am using wood for my three dimensional paintings. I started to dislike the quadrangular shape and the hard edges of canvases, so I decided to simply remove the backgrounds and only paint what I wanted to paint- people.
I am browsing through hundreds of pictures I took at various public swimming pools, to find people that fit best into the work I am planning to make.
I draw directly with pencils on wooden plates of the thickness of 8 mm that were primed with Gesso beforehand, and make the composition of the actual work. In this process, the composition grows like a plant.
Then I cut the shape with a jigsaw, and grind the edges with sandpaper, to make them smooth. Then I paint the actual painting with Acrylic paint, and in the end, apply a shining varnish to achieve a glossy effect.
To create a distance between the level of the wooden painting and the wall, I apply round, wooden spacers with the diameter of about 1 cm (0,39 inch), and the length of 1 cm- 9 cm (3,5 in), depending on the size of the painting (the smaller the painting, the shorter the distance to the wall).
Wood I prefer due to the warmth it exudes. Cutting it with my own hands and being involved in every step of the production is also essential for me.

Sabrina Horak, 2014






日本人とオーストリア人のハーフとしてオーストリアで生まれ育ってきましたので、日本に対して、少し変わった見方をしているかもしれません。日本の親戚が、よく日本の食料品や雑誌を送ってくれました。その送ってくれたものが私にとって特別でした。そして、子供の時から何度も訪日していますが 、当時は日本語が出来ず 、日本を観光客の目からしか見ていましたし 常に短期滞在だったので 、日本の良いところ、楽しいことしか経験しませんでした。私にとっての日本は、素晴らしい秘密をたくさんもっている謎の国だったのです。






2013年には、シンメトリックな構成のある新しいシリーズを作り始めました。日光浴をしている人を描いていますが、 絵は中心で分かれており、右側は左側にそのまま映っています。その方法で、より一体感を強調したいのです。コンポジッションによって、人物の身体各部は視線を導いています。コンポジッションがシンメトリックでなければ、視線は絵から出て行く可能性があります。でもシンメトリックだったら、視線は必ず絵の中に残ります。ヨーロッパと日本の文化、社会、言葉、感覚はかなり違います。その間から生まれた人間によって作られたということのすぐ分かるような作品、私の作りたいのはそうした作品です。




 -) なぜ、私は夏を作品の場面として選んだのでしょうか。





私の興味の対象は、自然のビーチではなくて、人工的なリゾートセンターやプールに限りません 。なぜかというと、そういう場所は人間が想像した、ユートピアやパラダイスというべき理想的な場所だからです。私が日常生活を忘れるために、自分の日本に対しての思い出に入り込むのと同じように、人々は、日常生活を忘れるために、プールやリゾートセンターのようなパラレルワールドに入り込み、楽しい時間をすごします(そういうパラ レルワールドはリゾートセンターとは限らないです。遊園地、例えばDisney Landや、お台場のVenus Fortというデパートも、パラレルワールドの一つです




 -) なぜ人物?










-) なぜ木材? ―素材と制作プロセス―







2014、ホーラク サブリナ









Statement, Crowds Series


In my works I want to share the personal  experience I had in Megacities, such as Tokyo, with the audience.

After having spent one and a half years as an exchange student from 2005-2007 in Tokyo, my work is focused on metropolises and their inhabitants.

When I saw the incredible masses of people at places likethe Shinjuku station, which is one of the largest train stations in the world, and the famous crossing in Shibuya, I was as well shocked as intrigued.

I started first without any motives, I started to make photos of such crowds, that, for example, were crossing a street. At first glance, these photos were only an indefinable, colorful  flicker; only at the Zoom, I discovered the individual.

Such an effect I would like to achieve with my work. The viewer is at first, perplexed by the mass of the painted people, but if he starts looking carefullier, he will discover each individual and all the details.

My works are not 1:1 pictures photographed street scenes, as I gather together the various components from different photos. The collage-like character I will step up in my next work, when I embed the "Crowds" in pictures of cities, and thus replace the pure white background. Various components of a city as the people who move within it, buildings, billboards, etc. are cut from different photos, and joined to a new city. A first step in this direction was made with the work "You or someone like you (Tokyo), " an acrylic / paper collage.

To create a three-dimensionality of my work, the painted with acrylic  “Crowd”-level is fixed with 10 cm long, cylindrical spacers of 1 cm in diameter onto rear white painted wooden panels.  By the distance that appears between the white backwall and the “Crowd”-Panel, the crowd casts a shadow on the backwall. So all the shadows you see in the photos of my works are real.

The manufacturing process is very complex ,as the human figures, even, if they hang together, are cut out manually with a jigsaw.

Some work, such as "Crowd 11 ", are made of aluminum. In this case I send a file of a computer-generated crowd to a company that cuts the aluminium with a water jet cutter. The spacers and the backwalls are in this case made ​​of clear Plexiglas, and mounted by cylndric spacers made of the same material.


 Sabrina Horak, 2012





Sabrina Horak vertritt eine singuläre Position zwischen Skulptur, Malerei und Fotografie. Ihr Sujet sind Menschenmassen, wie sie in den internationalen shopping malls als globales Phänomen auftreten. Die Megacities Japans, wo sie zwei Jahre an der University of Art and Design in Tokyo Malerei studierte, boten Anschauungsmaterial. Ausgangspunkt ihrer Gestaltung ist der fokussierte Blick durch die Kamera. Die solchermaßen mediatisierte Erfahrung der Stadt und ihrer Bewohner transponiert Sabrina Horak in das Medium der Skulptur, um die Einzelfigur in ihrer Individualität neu zu definieren. Die postmoderne Visualität der mediatisierten, zweidimensionalen Bildwelt transformiert sie in die singuläre Form der dreidimensionalen, figuralen Gestaltung. Der soziologische und anthropologische Blickwinkel als Fotografin weicht in der künstlerischen Ausarbeitung einer individuellen Auseinandersetzung mit der Masse als Ansammlung von Leuten mit individuellen Erfahrungen, Wünschen und Träumen.

In diesem Prozess der Transformation behält sie verschiedene Elemente des zweidimensionalen, fotografischen Mediums bei: Die in geringem Abstand zur Wand montierten Figuren sind in ihrer Silhouette bildhaft, Ausschnitte aus größeren (nicht sichtbaren) Gruppierungen, als Körper werfen sie jedoch Schatten.

Das Retardierende der manuellen künstlerischen Bearbeitung wird vom Betrachter als intensives und spannendes Schauerlebnis nachvollzogen. Jeder Einzelfigur, die sie mit der Säge aus Holzplatten formt und bemalt, widmet sie allergrößte Aufmerksamkeit, um sie mit ihrer persönlichen Geschichte aufzuladen (Sabrina Horak). Betrachtet man diese Figuren näher, was dem Zoom-Vorgang in der Kamera entspricht, kann man feststellen, dass keine der anderen gleicht, alle aber in ihrer charakteristischen Bewegung, der Alltagskleidung, am Weg zum Arbeitsplatz oder beim Einkaufsbummel, plaudernd, essend, oder telefonierend, wie in der Endlosschleife einer Webcam auf den belebten Plätzen der Weltstädte von der Künstlerin bis ins Detail beschrieben werden.
Das Interesse an einer feinen Differenzierung und das narrative Moment rufen eine, bei näherer Betrachtung phantastische Vielfalt der Bilderzählungen hervor und erzeugen ein charakteristisches Spannungsfeld im Hinblick auf den scheinbar objektiven, Alles vereinheitlichenden, fotografischen Blick.

Durch diese Sichtweise werden von der Künstlerin aktuelle Fragen aufgeworfen, wie die nach dem Stellenwert des Individuums in der Konsumgesellschaft sowie nach den Möglichkeiten politischer Manipulation. In ihren Installationen zerfällt der Komplex der Menschenmenge in einzelne Charaktere mit ihren einzigartigen Erfahrungen, Gedanken und individuellen Gefühlsregungen. Dabei verbindet Sabrina Horak Positionen der zeitgenössischen Kunst, wie das Thema des Individuums in der postmodernen Konsumgesellschaft im Medium Skulptur in der Arbeit von Stephan Balkenhol, mit der fotografischen Interpretation des Phänomens Masse und Freizeitverhalten in den Aufnahmen von Andreas Gursky, Thomas Struth und Massimo Vitali. Ähnlich wie in den Fotografien des Italieners zeigen ihre Strandszenen einen Mikrokosmos des rituellen Freizeitverhaltens. In ihrer Installation The Beach, 2008, bildet sie figurenweise die individuelle und doch massenkonforme Haltung Einzelner in ihren bemalten Holzfiguren nach. Aus den vielfältigen Bewegungen ergeben sich Gruppierungen, welche die, sich auch aus den Farbakzenten ergebende visuelle Dynamik der Komposition nach Zufallsprinzip für den davor stehenden Betrachter lebendig macht. Dadurch entsteht einerseits der Eindruck lebendiger Vielfalt, es stellt sich aber auch die Frage nach dem individuellen Spielraum innerhalb genormter Lebensräume.

Diese äußerst witzige und intelligente Auseinandersetzung mit der Banalität der Masse als Lebenserfahrung des 21. Jahrhunderts durch verschiedene Medien charakterisiert die verheißungsvolle und interessante Arbeit der knapp 24jährigen Künstlerin. Ihre künstlerische Tätigkeit ist eine multilaterale Gratwanderung zwischen den Medien Fotografie, Malerei und Skulptur.

Sabrina Horak, die 2007 ihr Diplom an der Wiener Akademie erhielt, beteiligte sich im Jahr 2006 an der Ausstellung „Real. Junges Österreich“ in der Kunsthalle Krems. In Japan wurden ihre Arbeiten im Rahmen einer Ausstellung des Zokei Festivals gezeigt.


///Galerie Suppan Contemporary, 2008///