English summaries May 21 - June 4
translated and summarized by: Liz Wollner-Grandville, 04.06.12
David Claerbout - This sun always shines
03.05.2012 – 17.06.2012
By Milena Dimitrova
The first piece of art that catches the onlooker's attention in David Claerbout’s exhibition in Vienna’s Secession is Bordeaux Piece (2004).
The plot is based on Godard’s Le Meptis (1966) which reflects on narrative movies and their production requirements and marketing: while producing a film a “ménage a trois” evolves among the essential figures of a classic, narrative film: the leading actress, the film producer, and the scriptwriter.
Yet Claerbout’s reflections on the media film are mainly exemplified through media-immanent means. The work is shown as a loop; Bordeaux Piece is a 13-hour movie and shows the same story at different times of day. Each scene was shot umpteen times, at different times, and the scenes were then pieced together to form a recurrent narrative. The actual topics are light, darkness, and time as constitutive moments for the media film (as well as photography).
The aspiration of Claerbout’s oeuvre aims at defining or redefining the media. The approach in Bordeaux Piece is reminiscent of Monet, who painted his extensive picture series at different times of day and under different lighting conditions. This, too, was an obsessive attempt to work on a (new) definition of the medium “painting”, which was going through an identity crisis due to the recent development of photography.
The Algiers’ Sections of A Happy Moment (2008) shows a single scene shot from different angles. These simultaneous shots are then shown one after the other dragging out the moment. The Quiet Shore (2011) has the same structure and is shown in a large-scale projection on the back wall of the Secession: it shows pictures of the beach whose silvery black-and-white corresponds with the silver-grey reflection of the shiny flooring of the exhibition room – and referring to the colour of photographic paper during its development time.
Claerbout’ works are attractive because they also convey a certain atmosphere, invite to decode what one has seen, and even narrate stories – despite mainly focussing on the different possibilities offered by the media film.
1010 Vienna, Friedrichstrasse 12
Tel.: +43 1 587 53 07
Fax.: +43 1 587 53 07 – 34
Opening hours: Tue-Sat 10 – 18 hours, Sun 10-16 hours
Tony Oursler - Cumuliform
11.05.2012 – 21.06.2012
By Susanne Rohringer
While the Aarhus Art Museum (ARoS) in Denmark is currently presenting Tony Oursler’s well-known face and body projections on rag dolls, Vienna’s Galerie Steinek is showing his rarely exhibited works on paper created during the last 15 years. The works were acquired by Silvia Steinek over the course of many years and are now being shown in their entirety in Austria for the first time.
The paper used in his works resembles the superficiality of human consciousness. In reality the “drawings” are often collages, pasted photographs of human bodies crawling in desperate postures or try to escape. Fleeing from the sea of colours is simply impossible. In his paintings, Oursler, who explores all kinds of philosophical terms ranging from the antique to the present day, interprets his translations of these terms into the 21. Century. Oursler is especially interested in faces and their expressivity. He is fascinated by the role of muscles in facial expressions. In a kind of glossary he deals with issues such as “smiling eyes”, alluding to the electric shocks, which Jacques Charcot experimented with in 1855 in the Hospital Salpetrière in Paris. Charcot is known to as the first neurologist, and one of his students was Sigmund Freud.
Oursler’s work offers many reference to psychoanalysis His figures are not autonomous and seem to float through the sea of colour without any hierarchy. There is no above or below, no front or back or one above the other. Everything is next to each other and of equal significance. Theatrical accents stimulate his figures. Oursler offers us a small performance in colour and pencil. With the form of the drawing he creates a smaller format that constitutes an important experimental field for large-scale deliberations.
All in all, Oursler’s presentation of drawings is a successful show. The exhibition of the artistic microcosm is insightful and easily comprehends Oursler’s projections and installations.
1010 Vienna, Eschenbachgasse 4
Tel.: +43 1 512 87 59
Fax: +43 1 512 87 59
Opening hours: Tue – Fri 13 – 18 hours, Sat: 11 -15 hours
Salzburger Kunstverein, Künstlerhaus
How to live together
26. 04.2012 – 8.07. 2012
By Stephan Maier
“In a radical sense, the work is a movement from the Self to the Other, which never returns to the Self”, Emmanuel Levinas said in “The Trace of the Other”. But what is the relationship of one oneself to the other like now – something that has developed into the dominant topic of social disputes, how does migration and integration determine our society that has become increasingly influenced by asylum debates. What is the current relationship among the different cultures? And: what does all this have to do with art?
“How to live together?” is the motto of the exhibition in the Salzburger Kunstverein, which is based on Roland Barthes' words. Barthes described the circumstance “of wanting to live alone and, at the same time, without contradicting this statement, wanting to live together”, as a phantasm, as a “recurring desire” of mankind. The exhibition in the Kunstverein deals with politically tinted phenomena in the wake of a totally globalized world, of shifts in gender relations (Nilbar Güres) and conversions of religiously coined architectures (Johanna Diehl), addresses the strangeness in and around us (Wendelin van Oldenborg) and presents field studies “of the public” (Klub Zwei).
Only Ján Mancuska goes beyond the tight corset of a solely regional-global view of the world: the artist, who passed away last year, visualizes the very own nucleus of society by uncovering its “blind spots” of self-perception. Man is only a whole in interaction and connection with the Other.
Salzburger Kunstverein, Künstlerhaus
5020 Salzburg, Hellbrunnerstrasse 3
Tel.: +43 662 84 22 94 – 0
Fax: +43 662 84 07 62
Opening hours: Tue – Sun 12 – 19 hours
Startgalerie im MUSA
25.05.2012 – 21.06.2012
By Wolfgang Pichler
Immediately upon entering the room dominated by large-format paintings, a simple but all the more effective video catches the onlooker’s attention. In the video, the artist Corina Vetsch describes how her cat died eating part of a canvas that was specifically prepared for this exhibition. This adds a very personal touch to the pastel-coloured paintings, which mainly focus on the so-called crisis. What is the significance of personal suffering in relation to the “big picture”? And it is this video that sticks in one’s memory.
The wonderfully composed pictures are painted on canvas but hung without a wooden frame - thereby reinforcing the impression of openness and flexibility. Citations from newspapers and other media, sometimes pasted in classic collage style, or painted with elaborate inscriptions, constitute the basis of thoroughly political works – which come across as unusually bright and optimistic. They constitute more of a humorous compilation of the situation than an angry accusation and show how absurd most political disputes are.
This absurdity becomes especially clear in the work “We are the people”. The first words of the US constitution “We, the people” are transformed into “We are the people” by simply adding “are”. A citation from the constitution thereby becomes an accusation….
The works are all very harmonious, even decorative, and the contrast strengthens the effect of their controversial content.
Startgalerie im MUSA
1010 Vienna, Felderstrasse 6-8
Tel.: +43 – 1- 4000 8400
Opening hours: Tue, Wed, Fri: 11 – 18 hours, Thu: 11 – 20 hours, Sat 11 – 16 hours
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