October 15 - 22

Residenzgalerie Salzburg: The Beauty and the Beast - Stories about unusual love affairs Art historical Gender Clash The theme of the exhibit in the Residenzgalerie Salzburg is as old as the theme of love and all the complications that go with it. The show deals with the topic of unusual love affairs emanating from Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont`s novel "The Beauty and the Beast", which was written in the Age of Enlightenment. Important detail: women symbolize beauty and men denote ugliness. A large part of the exhibit is dedicated to mythological scenes, such as Amor and Psyche, Venus and Vulcan or Pan and Syrinx. Importance was put on the content of this exhibit and less on the usage of popular names (even if this would be expected from one of the many Viennese institutions having to fight for visitors and sponsors). The keynote of the exhibit is presented in many different ways. Among them are the cinematographic productions of "King Kong" or Disney`s "Beauty and the Beast" as well the origin of fairy tales: the story of "Amor and Psyche" told by Pietro Liberi or Pierre Paul Prud`hon. From an art-historical point of view the exhibit is fascinating, at the same time, however, it is much too affirmative. The story of the beauty agonized by the beast and hoping that he will marry her (after all, she does not yet know that he will be transformed into a handsome man), merges every possible idealistic conception of femininity, which in the last centuries has developed into a well functioning system of suppressing women. One would hope that the descriptive text on the exhibit walls would be as differentiated as the articles in the catalogue. After all, one cannot simply relegate the gender clash topic into the realm of art history. (5010 Salzburg, Residenzplatz 1, until 4. 11. 2007) www.residenzgalerie.at Galerie Ulysses: Franco Kappl Solid Handicraft It is pleasant to look at classic art in Appel`s, Pollock`s or Pierre Soulage`s tradition created by an artist of the younger generation. Franco Kappl`s works are solid abstract compositions, easily identified as contemporary, however, always focused on the tradition of abstract expressive painting. Kappl does not play with significances or intermedia tendencies. His art is simple and enchanting to look at, especially in the unadorned and generous ambience of this particular gallery. However, there is a strong contrast between the colors Kappl uses in his work and the dignified ambience of the exhibition rooms: daubed shades of gray and black with sprinkles of neon colors vigorously remind you of large cities. Good art is currently displayed at the Gallery Ulysses, not more - not less. (1010 Wien, Opernring 21, until 10. 11. 2007) www.kunstnet.at/ulysses K21 Kunstsammlung in Nordrhein-Westfalen: Talking Pictures. Theatric Aspects of Contemporary Film and Video Curtain up Anyone who visited one of the more advanced German theaters in the last couple of years will not have been able to avoid the following two observations: trousers are dropped as in the decadent times of "Épater la bourgeoisie", and the more wild directors will combine this archaic style of trouser-dropping with the excessive usage of disturbing videos. And anyone who up to this point has not already shamefully closed his eyes probably will have done so now. The current exhibit of ten film- and video installations at the Düsseldorfer K21 make it obvious that visual artists increasingly generate their ideas from theater productions. Visitors of the K21 will again be confronted with a type of striptease, even if in this case it is more of an emotional striptease. Gillian Wearing`s film, for example, gives victims of abuse and violence the opportunity to recount their suffering. The faces of these victims are hidden under children`s masks, forcing the onlookers to perceive them as if they were in a confessional box. T.J. Wilcox uses a different type of masquerade with his film-chains "Garlands". He records photographs, postcards, and films with a super-8 camera, copies everything with a digital video camera and finally transfers the entire work into a 16mm format. Subtitles and the clattering of six cinematographic projectors increase the antiquated charm of this arrangement. Simultaneously the viewer is trying to keep his own shadow out of the screen, since he has to stand in front of the projectors to see. This creates an additional interrelation between the viewer and each film. The main merit of this themed exhibit is that individual films and videos have been collected and are displayed as an entirety. However, one might have to challenge the fundamental idea of this show, since the "discovered" phenomena is definitely not new. (40217 Düsseldorf, Ständehausstrasse 1, until 4. 11. 2007) www.kunstsammlung.de Kunsthalle Wien: True Romance - Allegories of love from the Renaissance to the Present Friend Petrarca Ever since the conservative-rightist (black-blue) government based the appointment of Agnes Husslein as the Director of the Belvedere on party reasoning, the notion exists, that the socialist party (red) is now doing exactly the same. One could actually call this the vulgarization of nomination policies. Therefore the rumor spread quickly that the current (red) Minister for Cultural Affairs could appoint the (red) Gerald Matt as the possible new director of the Art History Museum - Kunsthistorisches Museum. However, Matt has just recently extended his contract as the Director of the Kunsthalle Wien. All speculations regarding the KHM are therefore no longer applicable, said Matt. But maybe his denial was deceiving. With True Romance Matt has landed a coup, which would have been inconceivable without a first-class relationship to the KHM. Giorgione`s "Laura" has moved from the KHM to the Museums Quarter as well as parts of a very precious work of Petrarca, belonging to the German collector Reiner Speck. After the exhibit at the Kunsthalle in Vienna, it will move on to Munich and Kiel, however, without the Giorgione. That is the most obvious proof of what an exhibition director must be capable of doing. True Romance is about the universal feeling of mankind in all its diversity ranging from passionate reverence and incredible sorrow to unheard of happiness as well as heartfelt pain and how these emotions have been depicted in art since the 15 century. There are boundless resources for this type of exhibit, but only a small portion can actually be displayed. One has lost count if this is the tenth or the thirtieth Kunsthalle exhibit in which Nan Goldin`s and her colleague`s work is shown. Therefore one tends to count what is missing… if it wouldn`t be for Petrarca and Giorgione. (1070 Wien, Museumsplatz 1, until 03. 02. 2008) www.kunsthallewien.at

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