Judith Wagner was born in Vienna, Austria in 1973. She studied sculpture at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, and earned her diploma in 1998. She is currently producing both sculpture and drawings. Subjects of her art include people, horses, and centaurs among other things. Most of her work has an abstract, even grotesque quality that can make me feel uneasy, but nevertheless I cannot deny its power. It is apparently the artist’s intention to challenge the viewer, to force him to see things in a new way. Wagner wrote, “The beautiful and the ugly, the abysmal and the sublime, heaven and hell, that is what people carry within them, layered on top of each other. Just as a plastic is created in layers, sometimes the lower layer can be felt through, sometimes the upper layer hides the lower one. That makes it exciting, that makes me pause and look in amazement. To represent that, to comprehend it in form, to make it visible and understandable is my concern.”
Kids, also titled in German Kinder, is the topic of this article. It differs from Wagner’s typical work in two ways. First, the subjects are children. Second, they are portrayed with a realism that is lacking in many of Wagner’s other sculptures and drawings. The stern expressions and the staring deep eyes are the most noticeable features of Kids that are common to Wagner’s art.
You can view more of Wagner’s art on her website. When I enter the name Judith Wagner into a search engine, the first artist by that name that is found is another Judith Wagner that, coincidentally, also uses horses as a subject for her art. They are not the same person, so don’t confuse the two.
The figures are life size; ranging in height from 4 feet 3 inches to 5 feet. Although the title is gender neutral, all four figures are girls. The original Kids of 2015 are painted resin. A second edition of Kids was made of white concrete in 2018.
The model for the blue Kid is shown with Wagner’s abstract drawings of horses in the background.