English summary February 18 - 24

Christine König Galerie: Gerhard Rühm - NOW - Six decades of art work Suddenly a shadow was weeping "raped / watch one`s waistline / larger beds will be delivered in the next couple of days". This is an example of a poem constructed by combining headlines; something created by Gerhard Rühm in a large assemblage in 1972. Rühm calls his headline-amalgamate "poetry", while the photographs and their subtitles symbolize "truth" to him. The artist combines his photographs in such a way that they reduce each other to absurdity. Along these lines he mounts a striptease photo that the pin-up is dressing instead of undressing, and amends it with photos that thwart the prurient poses: a man running out of a burning house and an old woman, whose head is being gauged. But at times his work is absolutely poetic, for example when he combines words that he has clipped from newspaper headlines: "weeping / on the narrow handrail / suddenly / weeping / a shadow". Even after the end of the Wiener Gruppe Rühm continues the use of lower case letters. Christa König`s Gallery not only displays Rühm`s assemblages, but also his works of music - empty sheets of music on which he scribbled texts with a crooked bold lines: "I am skipping through grey grass stoned by exhaust fumes". By placing images, which have been communicated by mass media, next to - as well as against each another, Rühm makes their content obvious to the onlooker. His work attains a significance that goes far beyond the Zeitgeist of these images. Christine König Galerie 1040 Wien, Schleifmühlgasse 1a, until 01.03.08 www.christinekoeniggalerie.at Westlicht. Schauplatz für Fotografie: Herlinde Koelbl - Jewish Portraits What we inherit From 1986 until 1989 the photo artist Herlinde Koelbl took photos of German-speaking Jewish celebrities who had survived the holocaust. The black and white large-format photos depict well-known politicians, businessmen, artists, scientists, authors, and many other professions - such as Grete Weil, Karl Kahane, Sir Karl Popper, Simon Wiesenthal, Alfred Eisenstaedt, George Tabori, and Bruno Kreisky. Next to each of these fabulous portraits, on an additional large-scale format paper, you will find their name, place and date of birth, as well as a quotation which originated from an interview with Koelbl. It is abominating and sickening to think about how many more Jewish people Koelbl could have taken photos of, had they not been cold bloodedly murdered by the horrific Nazi regime. In Koelbl`s introduction to the exhibit she mentioned that despite the unimaginable tragedies her interview partners had experienced, she was overwhelmed by their curiosity and cordiality, and the impressive absence of bitterness. On many photographs sincere and smiling eyes meet those of the onlooker. WestLicht. Schauplatz für Fotografie 1070 Wien, Westbahnstrasse 40, 23.03.08 www.westlicht.com Kunstraum Niederösterreich: Michael Höpfner - Unsettled Conditions Anti-Tourism For many years Michael Höpfner was predominantly known for one style of art: black and white landscape photographs taken all over the globe. What they all had in common was a particularly high positioning of the horizon. Höpfner was everything but a tourist - he undertook all of his voyages by foot and was extremely interested in details, making meticulous records in his charming old-fashioned Moleskine-notebooks, which he always carried with him. To this day, Höpfner has not altered his style, he has however, shifted his focus. Among the works currently shown at the Kunstraum Niederösterreich are Höpfner`s photos of tourists posing in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa. The temple was the Dalai Lama`s former residence and is now a popular destination among the Chinese. In these photos they pose as if they had conquered the site. By utilizing the 19th century technique of reduced resources Höpfner`s work strongly reminds of that era. In addition to his photos, Höpfner set up a tent manufactured of light transparent plastic foil, which is accessible to visitors. The shelter is not only meant to remind the onlooker of nomad tents but also symbolises thrown-away plastic bags that can even be found floating around the desert. Höpfner also presents slide projections: one of them displays a single picture, which is slightly hidden behind a tent; the other unfolds an extremely slow sequence of photos. This is Höpfner's plea for slowness, which corresponds with his style of travel. Kunstraum Niederösterreich 1010 Wien, Herrengasse 13, until 15.03.08 www.kunstraum.net Krinzinger Projekte: Suite Francaise Minimally female The press release sent out regarding the exhibit "Suite Françoise" clearly shows that the curators Corentin Hamel and Steven Guermeur were in doubt if it really made sense to exclusively exhibit young French artists. But if one omits these concerns - such as nationalism, academism, or banality - the visitor will experience an effervescent show, which, however, definitely does not include enough female artists. It is hardly plausible that France only has two exciting young female artists to offer. Mathieu Mercier, born 1970, has asked the gallery workmen to drive coloured dowels into the wall and create a likable mural - similar to Minimal Art representative Sol LeWitt and his "Wall Drawings". Bruno Peinado dented three shiny lacquered Donald Judd-like cubes - destroying their magnificent perfection. And Guillaume Lebon`s monochrome papers hanging on a clothesline also remind somewhat of Minimal Art. On the other hand, street culture also comes into play - in Morgane Tschiember`s fantastic star or in Fabien Verschaere`s comic-like illustrations. Kader Attia`s impressively irritating installation has little in common with the majority of the works shown: figures made of tin foil are lined up next to one another and seem immersed in prayers. A frontal view of the group reveals black holes instead of faces. The displayed pieces of art partially develop a kind of coherence, however, one that is mostly rather detached. And maybe next time the percentage of female artists won`t be so minimal. Krinzinger Projekte 1070 Wien, Schottenfeldgasse 45, until 29.02.08 www.galerie-krinzinger.at/projekte

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