English summaries January 16 - 29

translated and summarized by: Liz Wollner-Grandville, 30.01.12

Bawag Contemporary
Erik van Lieshout - Erik makes Happy


01.12.11 until 29.01.12

Filming prohibited!

Last year, when Erik van Lieshout presented the shop that he once owned in the Rotterdam Shopping Center Zuidplein as an installation in the Gallery Kinzinger, it appeared chaotic and dirty: screws, old metal, dirt and other refuse was scattered between sloppy wooden displays and a huge Rem-Koolhaas portrait. The film the artist made back then is now presented at the Bawag Contemporary, and the installation, which he crafted especially for the film, appears much more orderly than the one at Krinzinger. He covered the floor with cheap carpets and the wall with equally cheap lettering – “mercilessly cheap”, “how much is your euro worth” and a quote by Rem Koolhaas’ stating that real luxury was not to buy anything; and it was this quote - like a thorn in one’s side - that he placed above the entrance of his Zuidplein shop.

In his film, Van Lieshout documents conversations with visitors to his shop, passersby and other shop owners. Some of them are like a pandemonium of xenophobic and extreme right-wing figures (he even had a poster showing the right-wing politician Pim Fortuyn in his shop - to attract people, as he explained); others reflect on the conditions under which cultural productions are created. The conversations in the video span across the contradictions of contemporary consumer spaces – with the mall manager justifying the complete video surveillance throughout the mall, while an employee in a cosmetic chain prohibits Van Lieshout from filming.

By Nina Schedlmayer

Bawag Contemporary
1010 Vienna, Franz Josefs Kai 3
www.bawagcontemporary.at
Opening hours: Daily from 14 to 20 hours


Städtische Galerie Karlsruhe
Kunst-Stoff. Textiles in Art Since 1960


12.11.11 to 12.02.12

Everything, but not grounded

Textiles accompany a person their whole life long - quasi from the nappy to the shroud. But does the observer truly have easier access to artistic works whose material is familiar to him on an everyday basis? This hypothesis is anyone's guess.

In "Kunst-Stoff – (Artistic Material) – Textiles in Arts Since 1960" in the Städtische Galerie Karlsruhe, it's about weaving, machine-knitting, crocheting, felting, knotting, embroidering or anything else connected from the fibre to the textile – if only it wasn’t converted by way of a grounding and thereby to a conventional canvas.

In the centre of the exhibition, there's a large pillow picture by Gotthard Graubner, a large canvas by Sigmar Polke (both ungrounded, naturally), a large work by Robert Morris, a sculpture by A.R.Penck, one of Josef Beuys' suits (made of felt), a hanging object by Reiner Ruthenbeck and a installation by Franz Erhard Walter, combined with a knitted picture by Rosemarie Trockel and a material collage by Louise Bourgeois.

Theme exhibitions are not usually easy. The field is often too wide-ranging for it to work comprehensively and clear limits or even a leading hypothesis are all too easily ignored. The result being that such exhibitions occasionally lose themselves in a somewhat insignificant presentation of: a few great names, some newcomers, a little humour, a little kitsch and some gender - none of which may be left out of the crude mixture and of course one sees that the whole thing is underpinned with the correct female quota.

In this respect, Karlsruhe is exemplary, so that in the catalogue, one can read about 20 female artists and just as many men. A closer inspection of the works allow one to conclude that the male creatures of creation sit back whilst the women, on the other hand, slip into the traditional role and take the needle into their hands. This isn't exactly a new revelation and in view of the central room, one puts one's trust rather in the names than in the intentions of the artists concerned.

VALIE EXPORT, Ingrid Wiener and Dieter Roth have also accomplished a division of work. Tapestry weaving was how the two women earned their living following their training in a Vienna textile technical college. For the creation of "Bertorelli B" in the years 1974-1976, a used linen table napkin served as a template. The weave structure, the creases which have been ironed in, the spots showing that the napkin has been used, the artist's felt pen doodles, the signatures of those involved, all that is to be found in a "professionally" embroidered list of names announcing the title of a restaurant on this expertly woven piece. It is to be noted on the inscription that Dieter Roth was born as Karl-Dietrich. Clearly women are never born as the ones they later become. Well, you can just leave out all the other particulars.

By Daniela Gregori

Städtische Galerie Karlsruhe
76135 Karlsruhe, Lorenzstraße 27
Tel: +49 721 133-4401 /-4444
email: staedtische-galerie@karlsruhe.de


Galerie Hubert Winter
Birgit Jürgenssen - Cyanotypes 1988/89


13.01.12 - 04.02.12

The depth of texts

Blue walks into the labyrinth. Absolute silence is demanded to all its visitors, so their presence does not disturb the poets who are directing the excavations.
Derek Jarman

Birgit Jürgenssen mainly focused her work on the interaction between literature and everyday life. During the last years, diverse labels sometimes veiled the view of her oeuvre – but now the exhibition “Cyantypes” in the Gallery Hubert Winter offers a new vision of her work.

Cyanotype is one of the first photographic procedures, discovered by the English scientist John Herschel in 1842. A photographic solution comprised of iron salts and distilled water is applied to a neutral surface. One or several objects are placed on the surface and exposing it to sunlight produces the positive image. The results resemble blueprints – the objects being white and the surrounding area blue.

Today, the color blue is mainly connoted as masculine, while it was a symbol of femininity in the ancient times. Blue also symbolizes the sea and is often seen in connection with “unlimited distance”, “hope”, and “depth”. The pictures shown here all seem to represent a kind of unlimited distance and depth. This effect is mainly accentuated by the arrangement of the objects and only to a lesser part due to the color.

Oftentimes family photographs were used as the main element in the Cyanotypes. All of Jürgenssen's works are exhibited in one space - next to one another and juxtaposed. The quality of the individual works varies strongly and some of them might not have been successful on their own.

Works in which Jürgenssen added text attract the most attention. They remind of Dadaist collages and conceptual art. The picture levels are superimposed like veils, offering connections between body politics and text. And there are connections to her earlier works such as “Everyone has their own view” (1975) and “Untitled (body projection)” (1998) or “Whiff” (1995) and “I am” (1995).

Hopefully this oeuvre won’t disappear into a private collection and has the chance to be exhibited in many other contexts. It would be important to show Jürgenssens oeuvre in other contexts than feminism or body politics, after all – that is not what she intended. The texts run through her entire work like a thread – it remains to be seen if the thread will be weaved or if it stays hidden and unwoven in diverse collections.

By Patrick Schabus

Galerie Hubert Winter
1070 Vienna, Breite Gasse 17
Tel: 01/524 09 76
Fax: 01/524 09 76-9
email: www.galeriewinter.at
Opening hours: Tue - Fri 11 – 18 hours, Sat 11 – 13 hours


Magazin 4
Ayse Erkmen – itself


03.12.11 - 19.02.12

An artist’s life in pictures

Everyone, not only digital natives, knows what Googelitis is, the narcissistic fever to google one’s own name and proudly read about one’s electronically stored life-stages and take a close look at the photos. If an artist of Ayse Erkmen’s standing succumbs to this fever then she will definitely do it her way. Eve if her work is meant to “exist without a purpose”, the exhibition “itself” says a lot about the contemporary time and even more about its contemporaries.

In any case, the timing for the exhibition at the Bregenz-based “Magazin 4” was perfect. In November, Erkmen’s work was the highlight at this year’s - overall rather disappointing - 54th Venice Biennial, and already in December her outstanding work was presented in Bregenz. Ayse Erkmen is undoubtedly a most rewarding example for Google. Internet images of wooden saints and angels hanging on ropes from helicopters flying over Münster or online images of passenger liners, brought to Frankfurt from all over the globe to revive the old ferry trade, are testimonials of spectacular and convincing art projects.

The color and black-and-white, pin sharp and pixelated, motivic, symbolic and abstract pictures represent a small universe of today’s world.

By Wolfgang Ölz

Magazin 4
6900 Bregenz, Bergmannstraße 6
Tel: +43 / 5574 / 41 01 51 1
Fax: +43 / 5574 / 41 01 50 0
email: mail@magazin4.at
www.magazin4.at
Opening hours: Wed-Fri 16-19 hours, Sat, Sun 12-16 hours

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