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English summaries February 27 - March 1

translated and summarized by: Liz Wollner-Grandville, 12.03.12

Secession
Michael Snow – Recent Works

22.03.12 – 15.04.12

The maximalist of the film screen
By Patrick Schabus


Seven new works by Michael Snow are to be seen in the exhibition rooms of the Secession – unfortunately not in the main room but in the other rooms. He is often considered a formalist or minimalist, but he prefers to regard himself as a maximalist. It is difficult to classify his oeuvres because his works are extremely varied. Sometimes it appears as if several artists have been at work, but it was always Snow alone.

Even when the same object is portrayed, Snow comes up with completely different assertions and design vocabulary. In 1992, he already used a window in his hut for the photographic work "Speed of Light". Now visitors to the Secession can see the same window in the video "Solar Breath (Northern Caryatids)" from 2002. And in this work, a curtain can be seen that continuously strikes an open window and dallies for a moment on the mosquito net before falling back into place. Abstract compositions are created which appear in different forms each time and then dissipate. Sometimes the garden outside the hut can be briefly seen when the curtain is blown strongly into the room by the wind. There, almost in the middle of the picture, lies the solar panel that produces the electricity for the camera. If you look closely, you can see that when the curtain sticks to the mosquito net, it resembles the painted fabrics of classical art. It has seemingly paid off for him to have waited for years to capture this rare natural phenomena - on the one hand, he approaches the genre of the documentary film and on the other, because he wanted to capture the performance of the wind without influencing it, he opens up an interesting discourse and liaison possibilities in the culture-nature debate.

Completely different is the SSHTOORRTY from 2005, his first narrative work. The language spoken here isn't English as was the case up to now in his other films, but Farsi. Here we see an artist who visits a collector with whose wife he appears to have an affair. Because of this liaison, a quarrel erupts as a result of which the artist leaves the apartment in a hurry. Arrival and departure are laid transparently over one another and the film is thereby cut by half. Someone who has the time to see this work several times will be rewarded because the further dimensions of the work are revealed. It's worth it to see the synchronicity of the moving pools of colour and the resulting relations and compositions even without the narration.

It was a pity that the meaning of the film "One Second in Montreal" was almost completely distorted by a bad projection copy in the Film Museum (1). This film would have been able to have proven how untruthful the allegation is that Snow's films have an underlying humour - a statement the artist strongly protested against - yet was asserted by both moderators who questioned him in the Film Museum. It's up to each individual to give their free opinion about a work, but the intention and perception of the respective artist must be taken into consideration when analysing the work. Types of readings, even if only partially offered, should at least be considered - especially when these are answered with a clear "No" by the artist.

Secession
1010 Vienna, Friedrichstrasse 12
Tel: 01/587 53 07
Fax: 01/587 53 07-34
www.secession.at
Opening hours: Tue-Sat 10-18, Sun 10-16 hours



Projektraum Viktor Bucher
Sophie Hirsch – heut schau ich mir schöne Bilder an damit ich besser schlafen kann

16.02.12 – 17.03.2012

Performative concentration on plastic sheeting waste
By Margareta Sandhofer

Sophie Hirsch, born 1986 in Vienna, graduated from the University of Applied Arts in Vienna in 2011, received the Kunsthalle Wien Prize the same year and her first solo exhibition is currently shown in the Projektraum Viktor Bucher – the meteoric rise of art made of twisting plastic sheeting, whose material substance originated from more or less public garbage dumps.

What is the basis of the enticement of Sophie Hirsch’s garbage mesh? Is it based on recycling waste? (After all- it’s been quite a while since recycling art was considered the latest craze.) Is it based on the tedious process of handcrafting the twisted ropes? On the unusual and therefore courageous size of her sculptures? And can they be seen as sculptures at all?

Sophie Hirsch’s works are primarily forms characterized by the marked processing of the material. The artist handles the used plastic in the so-called Torser-technique (twisting and interweaving) – a craft she learned in Peru.

The play-off of the capacities of the same material becomes apparent: a peculiar oscillation between the skin-like transparency and, foremost, both the translucence of plastic sheeting as well as its manifest corporeality in its bundled state: an oscillation that is increased to an extensive static performance in the central piece (Untitled, just like the two others) displayed in Viktor Bucher’s gallery.

The plastic sheeting is processed to ropes in different intensities and bundled to a voluminous body. The entire work has a Baroque opulence and is bundled in a sophisticated disorderly order and supported by an aluminium tube that lifts it up and presses it against the wall. The massive weight of this seemingly improvised assemblage is incarcerated between the wall and the floor, in an arbitrarily determined abeyance. The suggested instability of balance leaves the impression of volatility; the constant tension that of theatrical drama.

In contrast, the two other works shown in the exhibition do not display this vehement physical manifestation. While the object described above (Untitled #3) conveys an active space filling presence, Untitled #2 is similar, yet packed beautifully, and Untitled #1 is something totally different.

Sophie Hirsch rejects labelling her work as recycling art. No matter how trendy or trashy garbage-art might be, this would implicate an iconological reduction of the artistic message. Hirsch does not want to let herself be pushed into an ideological corner – and her work certainly doesn't warrant this. Any colour print or logo that might remind of its former function as packaging material is avoided. Any specific characteristics of garbage are reduced to traces of its past, the reminiscence of its staining and former usage.

The result shown in Viktor Bucher’s Projektraum refers to the pure aesthetics of the art of the 1960’s: it is less the conceptualisation of Minimal Art, but rather the clear concentration on a self reflective object that only casually implies a non-artistic context - and it definitely refers to Arte Povera. Hirsch’s evident recourse to the art of the 1960’s is reformatted by explicitly using up-to-date material as a contemporary statement.

Projektraum Viktor Bucher
1020 Vienna, Praterstrasse 13/1/12
Tel: +43 1 212 69 30
Fax:+ 43 1 212 69 30
Email: projektraum@sil.at
www.projektraum.at
Opening hours: Tue – Fri 14 – 19 hours, Sat 11 – 15 hours and by appointment

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