November 5 - 19

Peggy Guggenheim Collection: Rosso - La forma instabile - The Transient Form Monument of a breath It is remarkable: On the one hand museums and modern art institutions try to outplay one another by organizing exhibits with the works of the usual suspects positioned between Im- and Expressionism. While on the other hand, important fields of Modernism are constantly being ignored. Laudable exceptions such as the Kurt Schwitters and the Kazimir Malewitsch exhibits in the Kunstforum Bank Austria prove that rule. Where in Vienna has one been able to see solo exhibits of George Grosz, Otto Dix, Sophie Täuber-Arp or Hannah Höch? Or by Medardo Rosso, “the only great modern sculptor who attempted to open a wide field for sculptures”, as Umberto Boccioni described him. Currently a display of Rosso`s work is shown at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice. Rosso was born 1858 in Turin and died in Milan 1928. His deliquescent waxwork, which was created at a surprisingly early stage, is theatrically staged in rooms painted in grey and with lots of space around them and together with Rosso`s photographs of his own work. “To use the words of a poet - my art concept is to set a monument for a breath”, Rosso once said to the Daily News. When viewed from a different angle, the breastfeeding woman turns into a mountain formation, sick children and people laughing seem to lose their faces, tiny sprinkles shimmer through the wax as if the surface resembled geological layers. Rosso took photographs of his own work over and over again - each time in a different surrounding and with different techniques. This constant repetition of his own work became Rosso`s main principle - no wonder that his oeuvre seems to be rather narrow from today`s standpoint. The sculptural space-and-time-continuity was turned upside down by Rosso`s liquefaction of sculptural forms. (30123 Venezia, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, 701 Dorsoduro, until 16. 01.2008) www.guggenheim-venice.it Belvedere: Wien - Paris - Van Gogh, Cézanne und Österreichs Moderne (1880 - 1960) Mass and Market Until the middle of the 19th century artists from all over the world were longing to visit Rome, whereas in the following decades and until after World War II, they yearned to go to Paris. Like their French colleagues they immerged into the Paris nightlife, followed them to the woods and cabbage fields of Barbizon and painted the Bourgeoisie during their favourite outdoor pastimes. Van Gogh, Cézanne, Manet, Monet all stood as fathers at the cradle of Modern Art and artists from all over Europe joined them to assume godparent-hood. Already during her Salzburg-days, Agnes Husslein, together with her cousin Matthias Boeckl, was itching to organize an exhibit on the art-connection between Vienna and Paris. The Belvedere invested a large amount of money and effort to fulfil this desire and received top-class artwork from France. The Vienna-part of the exhibit was supplied from the Belvedere`s own assets, and - as already the case in the preceding Garden-Show - they were able to attain potent corporate sponsorship, one of the sponsors donating the main portion of the applied arts and glass objects. A large part of the paintings are arranged in a tight parade of canvases - their common denominator solely being the motifs. However, these paintings - even if each one on its own represents a brilliant piece of art - do not offer any arguments regarding their connection to Vienna and Paris. While the Leopold Museum just taught us that Ferdinand Hodler was eminently important for Koloman Moser`s work, the Belvedere positioned his self-portrait next to that of Emilie Bernard - totally incomprehensible. It also seems somewhat bold to place Edouard Manet`s peonies across from those of Carl Schuch, especially when regarding the well-known fact that Schuch, even though born in Vienna, founded his artistic career around Wilhelm Leibl`s followers in Munich (and when he finally returned to Vienna he was in a state of mental derangement). From this display we can learn one thing: positioning paintings close to one another does not stand surety for the complexity of an exhibit-concept. (1030 Vienna, Prinz-Eugen-Strasse 27, until 13. 01. 2008) www.belvedere.at Künstlerhaus Wien: exitus - tod alltäglich Everyday death What does one know about dying and being dead? For sure, that you will not be able to experience this phenomenon and count on being alive afterwards. The Künstlerhaus approached this discomposure with a huge exhibit. In addition to the work of 132 artists one can also view burial objects such as coffins and catafalques. The effect of this is an odd balancing act between seriousness and bulky folklore. A coffin designed for disaster operations, which you can assemble without the use of any tools, is next to a paper-maché-resin-coffin cradle by Tone Fink (joggle-coffin, 2000, 70x190x50cm). Among the many pieces exhibited, you will find Wittigo`s seat-coffin, which he created in 2001 as a tribute to René Magritte, as well as huge coffins with handles that are bigger than door knobs, large black cars, skulls in paintings by Basquiat, Warhol, Zündup, Baechler, Dix, and Frohner, and a skull by Douglas Gordon with punched out stars or a death`s head toaster placed in the Goth-scene department. Photographs of dead people with relaxed miens (Rudolf Schäfer, The eternal sleep, 1988), photographs of those who are close to death (Ona B./Zhu Yan, Death in the studio, 2007 and Christo morto after Mantegna, 2007 and Secession Schlegel, 2005), a man on a sofa having a good time with a skeleton (Franz Fiedler, silver print 1922), photographs or death masks of celebrities, and obituaries of Maria Schell`s, Franz Beckenbauer`s or Reinhold Messner`s mothers, as well as photographs and videos of funeral processions. You will also find detailed information on how the dead body of a loved one can be transformed into a diamond - brochures of the company are available. A different and discrete approach by Marcin Maciejowski (Tadeusz Kantor on Salvatore Dali`s grave, 2007) in whose painting the onlooker takes on a worms-eye-view in a greenish space: no skull, no skeleton, just septic coolness and separateness… what could it be like? 26 Institutions together with the main partner of the exhibit, the Vienna Funeral Service (Bestattung Wien) have supplied the exhibit with multitudinous works that congenially live up to the expectations of the topic: nobody knows how it will feel, there are many possibilities, and - in the end - it affects everyone (everything). (1010 Vienna, Karlsplatz 5, until 06. 01. 2008) www.k-haus.at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art: Richard Avedon, Photographs 1946 - 2004 In the fashion mode The nude Nastassja Kinski lolls on the floor, a huge snake flickering its tongue into her ear - an icon created by Richard Avedon in the 80s and both an exceptional as well as typical piece of art by this Grandseigneur. Although Avedon was a master of black and white photography (well known for their distinctive black, somehow ornamental, negative frames) this colour photograph demonstrates a kind of “quiet theatricality”, allowing space for the intensity of improvisation and transforming special and original ideas. But Avedon never loses sight of the essentiality, the person he is taking a picture of. In the Danish village of Humlebaek his multifaceted work is shown in an extensive retrospective, in which the commonalities of the diverse works are visualized. Ranging from early street photography in the 40s, the incunables of the fashion and magazine illustrations such as “Dovima with Elephants” (1955) to the portraits of celebrities as well as completely unknown people (“In the American West”, 1980-85) - all this is displayed. Even photos of the dismantling of the Berlin Wall showing impressions rather than historical facts, are part of the exhibit. He is mainly interested in “portraiture as performance”. The snapshot process, which despite or maybe on account of the radical reduction of the background into a monochrome plane, discloses decisive traits. No matter if it is Francis Bacon flirting with the camera, a group of elderly ladies in the process of forming a group picture (“The Generals of the Daughters of the American Revolution”, 1963) or Avedon jumping into a photo taken of Twiggy - he always focuses on self-stylisation and is always able to highlight his most favourable facet with virtuosity. In his father`s fashion store Avedon (1923 - 2004) gets an early introduction to the magic of fashion rituals. He starts his profession as a photographer by taking portraits of the Marines for two years and was quickly discovered by the art director of the fashion magazine Harper`s Bazar. Later he provided pictures for Life and Vogue. Avedon did not conform to the standard technique of taking fashion photos. He shows them full of emotion and action. Avedon points out the importance of staging moments with an autobiographical anecdote of the “dogs borrowed” for his childhood family picture albums. “Fashion is ways of seeing, ways of showing”. In the exhibit catalogue Paul Erik Tojner finds a concise equation for the canonical photo cosmos of this great philanthropist of photography. (3050 Humlebaek, Gl. Strandvej 13, until 13. 01. 2008) www.louisiana.dk

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