Friedl Kubelka

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Friedl Kubelka
Friedl Kubelka portrait by Oona Mosna.jpg
Kubelka in 2016
OccupationPhotographer, Filmmaker
Era20th century
Known forViennese Actionism
Home townEast Berlin
Awards1999 Austrian Art Prize for Artistic Photography, 2005 Grand Austrian State Prize for Artistic Photography, 2016 Austrian Art Prize for Film

Friedl Kubelka (née Bondy, née vom Gröller) is an Austrian photographer, filmmaker and visual artist born in London, England in 1946. Her photographic practice has been attributed to a 20th-century movement known as Feminist Actionism or Viennese Actionism.[1] Kubelka's photographic works sometimes focus on accentuating temporality, seriality and the body.[2]


Friedl Kubelka was born in London, England as Friedl Bondy, she then relocated with her family to East Berlin and later to Vienna, where she spent most of her childhood. Her parents were forced to leave Austria due to their political views.[3] Friedl began taking photographs at the age of twelve after receiving a box camera as a gift from her father in 1958. At age sixteen, her photographic interests shifted to people, faces, and bodies.[3]

From 1965 to 1969, Kubelka began making her first films at the Graphic Instruction and Research Institute in Vienna.[4] After obtaining a diploma in commercial photography in 1971, she opened a professional photo studio that operated in Vienna until 1997.[3] Friedl's films often include a cast of family members, friends, colleagues and sometimes male strangers.[3]

In Kubelka's Year's Portraits series, a project begun in 1972, she photographs herself daily over the period of a year, repeating the process every five years.[4] In 1978, she married Peter Kubelka, Austrian filmmaker, theoritician, co-founder of the Austrian Film Museum and Anthology Film Archives, and changed her name from Friedl Bondy to Friedl Kubelka. On October 21, 1978, she gave birth to Louise Kubelka. Friedl began photographing her daughter during the first week of her life and continued until Louise turned eighteen, calling the series Louise Anna Kubelka (Portrait Louise Anna Kubelka).[3]

Vom Gröller is a professional image-maker, not a commercial one, yet professional in the sense that she is and has been a photographer and filmmaker for over 40 years, not to mention one of Austria's great, if profoundly unrecognized, artists. Traditionally one would say, vom Gröller's work specializes in portraiture, but more accurately the artist's prolific practice is one of intimate encounters, which capture and seize upon elongated moments and brief experiences that refuse to relinquish their fleetingness. – Andréa Picard[5]

Kubelka was awarded the Grand Austrian State Prize for Artistic Photography, Austria's most prestigious photography award in 2005, along with the Austrian State Prize for film in 2016.[4] She has had solo exhibitions at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Fotogalerie in Vienna and the Netherlands Photo Museum in Rotterdam.[4]

The first dual photographic and film retrospective of her work in North America was curated and organized by Media City Film Festival,[6] the only festival to exhibit artists' film on both sides of an international border.

Kubelka's portrait photography has included artists and filmmakers such as George Maciunas, Jack Smith, Nam June Paik, Jonas Mekas, Gunvor Nelson, Michael Snow, Mike Kuchar, and George Kuchar.[7]

Friedl divorced Peter Kubelka in 2001, and married Georg Gröller in 2009. She then changed her name to Friedl vom Gröller[3] but does not consistently use her married name.[5]

The School for Photography and Film in Vienna[edit]

In 1990, Kubelka founded the Friedl Kubelka School for Artistic Photography in Vienna.[3] The School was the first devoted exclusively to artistic photography in Austria.

In 2006, she founded the Friedl Kubelka School for Independent Film,[8] dedicated to the art of analog filmmaking. The School for Independent Film has featured guests and teachers including Ken Jacobs, Robert Beavers, Peter Weibel, Oona Mosna,[9] Kenneth Anger, Peter Tscherkassky, Eve Heller, James Benning, and Mark Webber.[10] The school is now directed by the Austrian filmmaker and artist, Philipp Fleischmann.[citation needed]

Major works[edit]


  • Jahresportraits (Year's Portraits). (1972/73-2012/13).
  • Pin-Ups. (1973-1974).[11]
  • Reise (Voyage) Bed Series. (1974).
  • Tagesportraits (One-Day-Portraits). (1974-1976).
  • Passstücke (The Adaptives), Franz West. (1975).
  • Lebensportrait Louise Anna Kubelka (Portrait Louise Anna Kubelka). (1978-1996).
  • Das tausendteilige Portrait (One Thousand Changing Thoughts). (1980).


  • Erwin, Toni, llse. (1968-1969).
  • Graf Zokan (Franz West). (1969).
  • Peter Kubelka and Jonas Mekas. (1994).
  • Eltern (Parents): Mutter (Mother), Vater (Father). (1997 & 1999).
  • Spucken (Spitting). (2000).
  • Psychoanalyse ohne Ethik (Psychoanalyses without Ethics). (2005).
  • Heidi Kim at the W Hong Kong Hotel. (2010).
  • La Cigarette. (2011).
  • Ich auch, auch, ich auch (Me too, too, me too). (2012).


  1. ^ "Feminist Actionism – Friedl Kubelka and Valie Export." British Journal of Photography Feminist Actionism Friedl Kubelka and Valie Export Comments. Web. 8 Nov. 2014.
  2. ^ "Friedl KUBELKA". Richard Saltoun. Retrieved 2016-03-04.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Schwärzler, ed. by Dietmar (2013). Friedl Kubelka vom Gröller: photography & film. Zürich: JRP. ISBN 9783037643204.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  4. ^ a b c d Saltoun, Richard. "Friedl Kubelka". Richard Saltoun. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  5. ^ a b Dietmar., Schwärzler,; 1946-., Kubelka-Bondy, Friedl Fotografin,; 1946-., Kubelka-Bondy, Friedl Photographe,; 1946-., Kubelka-Bondy, Friedl Photographer, (2013-01-01). Friedl Kubelka vom Gröller : photography & film. JRP. ISBN 9783037643204. OCLC 846249263.
  6. ^ "Media City Film Festival | Media City Film Festival is an annual international festival for film and video art. est.1994 in Windsor, Ontario, Canada". Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  7. ^ Omasta, Michael (2006). Portraits of American Independent Filmmakers 1974–1981 by Friedl Kubelka. Translated by Dossi, Julia. France: Re:voir / The Film Gallery.
  8. ^ Kubelka, Friedl. "SCHULE FRIEDL KUBELKA | independent Film, Vienna : Home". Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  9. ^ "oona mosna,artist profile". Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  10. ^ Kubelka, Friedl. "SCHULE FRIEDL KUBELKA | künstlerische Fotografie : The School". Retrieved 2016-03-04.
  11. ^ Seymour, Tom. "Feminist Actionism – Friedl Kubelka and Valie Export". British Journal of Photography. Apptitude Media Ltd. Retrieved 26 October 2014.