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Judith Schossböck

Judith Schoss­böck is an ex-sci­en­tist and neo-artist with severe ME/CFS, severe MCAS, a CSF leak syn­drome, and oth­er ill­ness­es. She draws and paints lying down from her bed. For her, cre­ativ­i­ty is a help­ful strat­e­gy and pas­sion in the dai­ly fight for sur­vival, but also a pos­si­ble form of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the out­side world when oth­er options are lim­it­ed. Togeth­er with her part­ner Matthias Moll­ner, she co-found­ed Black Ferk Stu­dio, which aims to use the means of art for rais­ing aware­ness for social­ly neglect­ed top­ics and groups, as well as com­plex illnesses.


The Light and the Dark
Mini polaroids on paper

“And some are in the dark, and oth­ers are in the light. But one only sees those in the light; those in the dark, one does­n’t see.”
(Bertolt Brecht, The Three­pen­ny Opera)

ME/CFS is often invis­i­ble, but most of the time very notice­able for the loved ones around. The dark­er times are most­ly hid­den from soci­ety, be it du to shame, with­draw­al of those affect­ed from social life, or because suf­fer­ers are often too weak to doc­u­ment these moments, let alone to express them, as even strong emo­tions can lead to symp­tom wors­en­ing. This work is an attempt to, despite a pre­car­i­ous exis­tence in a prison of one’s body and brain, hold onto the kind of free­dom that remains: the choice to decide about what should be visible.

In “The light and the dark” Judith Schoss­böck doc­u­ments her “crash­es” and good times with a mini polaroid print­er. Most pho­tographs were bright­ened for the print. The added frames and signs under­line the feel­ing of a moment, but can also be under­stood as iron­ic ref­er­ence: of a sit­u­a­tion, in which emoti­cons often remain the only thing to say. As lit­tle visu­al nar­ra­tives the polaroids also stand for a lib­er­a­tion from the neces­si­ty to always present one­self at one’s best.

Instal­la­tion view Kün­stler­haus Factory

“Besides the time in unusu­al pris­ons, peri­ods of tor­ture and a forced robot-like exis­tence, there is also the end­less search for ideas and the path that we trav­el togeth­er with oth­er sick friends. While we are con­nect­ed through pain and suf­fer­ing, we may not pos­sess the same amount of nails, wounds, or marks, or may even be entire­ly dif­fer­ent ani­mals. But we share the light and the dark, the sad and fun­ny, the crazy and ratio­nal, the bru­tal and gen­tle, the shock­ing and calm­ing, and we know: these are often found close­ly together.”

Bionic pigs, or: My coffin nail is your coffin nail

Bion­ic Pigs, Or: My Cof­fin Nail Is Your Cof­fin Nail
Mark­ers and col­ored pen­cils on paper

A tin dove sits on a branch. Its wings flap and it holds a twig in its beak.

Harakiri Robot II
Mark­ers and col­ored pen­cils on paper

A tin robot stabs a katana sword into its own belly. Purple flowers flies in the air around the robot.

Harakiri Robot II
Mark­ers and col­ored pen­cils on paper

ME/CFS Broke My Body, the Indif­fer­ence of the World Broke My Heart.
(Christi­na Bal­tais)
Oil pas­tels, acrylic, glit­ter and goo­gly eyes on paper

Brain Brew Min­nie
Oil pas­tel, acrylic and glit­ter on paper

Sor­ry to Both­er
Oil pas­tel and acrylic on paper

Oil pas­tel, acrylic, glit­ter and goo­gly eyes on paper

Lul­la­by II
Alco­hol mark­ers, acrylic mark­ers, fine­lin­ers and col­ored pen­cils on paper

Frag­ile Dreams
Water­col­ors and mark­ers on paper

Schrödinger‘s Cat Con­tent II, Or: Apoth­e­cat
Alco­hol mark­ers, acrylic mark­ers, fine­lin­ers and col­ored pen­cils on paper

Where is my mind?

Ver­schluckt von einem

jeden Tag 5–20 Mal
Bis nach langem Rin­gen
(bess­er gesagt des Nicht-Rin­gens)
der lan­gen Stille oder Schreie
und unendlichen Stun­den
die Kau­gum­mi-artiger
nicht mehr sein könnten

Endlich mein Selb­st ein
kleines biss­chen um die Ecke
blick­en darf

Da ist es wieder
Mit den neugieri­gen Augen
Die niemals aufhören zu fra­gen
Wenn man sie lässt

Du sagst mein Gehirn ist ver­stopft
Ich brauche über-drin­gend eine Klemp­n­er
Einen bein­harten Wern­er
für meine Synapsen
Der die Neu­rode­gen­er­a­tion
und Inflam­ma­tion
irgend­wie aufzuhal­ten vermag

Wir wün­schen alle
Es wäre so einfach.

Oil pas­tel, acrylic and glit­ter on paper

Acrylic gouache on can­vas

Instal­la­tion view Kün­stler­haus Factory

What about Hope
Water­col­ors and ink on paper

A raven wears a pink piglet mask and pink sandals. Lines with fishing hooks hang from the raven's body and pull it in different directions.

Fine­lin­ers and mark­ers on paper

A green beetle with a soldier's helmet on its head marches with a bloody scythe in its hands.

Army of Formi­ca­tion
Pas­tel on paper

Queen of Hearts
Water­col­ors on paper

Some­thing Is Swim­ming Along
Water­col­ors and ink on paper

A bird holds a red lobster in its long beak and dips it into a pot of liquid. The bird is on a shelf next to the pot.

Me, Every Night and Some­times also Dur­ing the Day, Being Dipped into the Pot of Mis­fir­ing Nerves that Burn Burn Burn
Col­ored pen­cils on paper

In the Shad­ow­lands
Oil pas­tels, acrylics and glit­ter on paper


It’s fun­ny
How we are more afraid
Of someone’s death
Than their suffering

Maybe because the nov­el­ty of the dying
Is hard­er to suppress?

Maybe because one is so def­i­nite
With no change for good
Even though it could also mean that
Things would have changed
For the better

We find this so easy with ani­mals
Maybe because the part of our­selves
That only they knew
Is eas­i­er to digest
More vague

And yet it’s okay
To wish a long life
To a lover of it
So human of us to cul­ti­vate
Our healthy ego­ism
To hold on to that only part about our­selves
That is hid­den in the brain
Of one spe­cif­ic person

And we don’t want it to die
Even though it is dead­ly
Like many things in life
(This dead­ly dis­ease for everyone)

A path leads through a blue winter forest. Trees with eyes, gnarled hands and arms stand in the snow. Several red candles stand or hang in the trees. A big red human heart hangs on a rope above the snowy path.

Heart on a Sleeve
Gouache on paper

A three-headed dog has legs and a tail made of roots and wears spiked collars. The middle head is severed. The head of a plant with green leaves grows out of the neck.

Stay­ing Zen
Mark­ers, Fine­lin­ers and col­ored pen­cils on paper

Red snakes wriggle out of the open skull of a green figure. The figure has a fried egg on her eye, a black collar with a ring and several earrings. Two puncture needles pierce the skin of the figure and one of the snakes.

Self Por­trait with Punc­ture
Acrylic gouache on paper

Bog Char­ac­ters

Seri­ous ill­ness­es, par­tic­u­lar­ly those affect­ing the cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem, change the core of our exis­tence and affect the brain and body in ways dif­fi­cult to imag­ine for many. In order to process this trans­for­ma­tion but also to com­mu­ni­cate it, Judith Schoss­böck began draw­ing in bed from 2021.

“It would have felt extreme­ly strange to depict myself or my emo­tions as a clas­sic human being. So I invent­ed a frog or bog crea­ture with an open, burn­ing head, green skin and holes, as I could no longer iden­ti­fy with nor­mal skin colour and fig­ures. The red hair com­ing from the brain are sim­i­lar to nerves being pulled painful­ly in many directions.”

Lat­er this fig­ure became a more detailed char­ac­ter, reoc­cur­ring as a vari­a­tion with dif­fer­ent accents in var­i­ous works by Judith Schossböck.

Red and orange fire jets shoot out of the open skullcap of a green figure. Several black ants are crawling on the figure's head.

Self Por­trait, or I Turn into a Vine Louse
Pas­tel and mark­er on paper

A green figure with red fire rays on its head and black boots on its feet hangs tied to ropes upside down in a spiral construction. Several ants and a snake can be seen on the construction.

Fine­lin­er and mark­er on paper

A green figure with red fire jets on its head rides a bed on rails toward a large hole in the body of a Black Grim Reaper. "Ghost Train" is written on the bed.

A Dark Ride
Fine­lin­er and mark­er on paper

A red shrimp on a blue background has two puncture needles stuck in its back.

Lum­bar Shrimp
Acrylic paint on paper

Bloom­ing State of Emer­gency
Acrylic paint on paper

A pink and yellow figure blows a wind from its mouth.

High Pres­sure
Acrylic paint on paper

A green figure with red, green, and blue fire jets on its head lies in a bubble bath. Black, pointed arrows shoot out of a shower head at the figure.

Pas­tel on paper

A green figure with red fire jets on its head sits on the edge of a goldfish bowl. Fish and a globe swim in the glass.

The Med­ical Anthro­pocene
Fine­lin­er and mark­er on paper

East­er Spir­it
Alco­hol mark­ers, acrylic mark­ers, fine­lin­ers and col­ored pen­cils on paper

When Life Gives You Lemons
Pas­tel pen­cils on card­board