English summary June 9 - 15

Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt: Michael Sailstorfer Tire with popcorn Michael Sailstorfer’s installation “Time is not a highway” shows a tire driven by a motor and with each rotation it scrapes the wall, first losing its profile and then more and more parts of its surface, and slowly dissolving into dust, strings, and rags. The smell of burnt rubber fills the exhibition space; there is a droning noise. Sailstorfer is exhibiting this installation for the fifth time. The catalogue describes it as “one of the most outstanding works in recent art history.” Last year it was exhibited at the “Made in Germany” exhibit in Hanover. Now Sailstorfer is displaying it at the Schirn in Frankfurt together with four of his most recent works, all characterized by the aesthetics of sophisticated casualness. The Frankfurt show, simultaneously presenting Terence Koh, is probably the most renowned exhibit he has ever been presented in. The 29-year old Sailstorfer has already been a celebrated artist for the past five years. In the meantime three esteemed galleries attend to him, and he has moved to the art-capital Berlin. Sailstorfer is a sculptor, a classical sculptor with respect to the terms of the new and immeasurable possibilities this art form offers. He has installed a popcorn machine at the Schirn, which tirelessly produces popcorn until – at one point - the entire space, the house, and the city will be completely filled up with popcorn. And this is also part of Sailstorfer’s goal - be it tires or popcorn: at some point everything will end in a trashcan or at least as trash. Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Römerberg, until 31. 08. 2008 www.schirn.de Startgalerie im Museum auf Abruf: Birgit Knoechl Discrete and space-gripping It is more or less a truism that one of the vital characteristics of art is its recall value. Works by this artist, who was born 1974, are definitely unmistakably hers; and at least in the Austrian art world absolutely unique. Birgit Knoechl’s gestural forms and ornaments painted with tusche, and partly reminding of plants, are currently exhibited at the Startgalerie. When viewing these organic-floral forms the onlooker is tempted to recognize thistles and runes, leaves and buds. But whatever is really meant to be depicted remains a mystery. The pieces are positioned so close together that the ensemble comes across more like an elaborate wallpaper design. It takes a while to see that the individual paintings are silhouettes. They project their pale shadows onto the paper beneath them and thereby allowing a dialectic between light and shadow to evolve. This seems to be the actual key to the artworks shown. The sculpture, which the artist has positioned in the gallery as a kind of antithesis to the orderly arrangement of the tusche-paintings, reveals itself to the viewer immediately. It is made of silhouettes on a black iron framework, which have been arranged into a playfully entwined sculpture. While the silhouettes on the wall appear like an awkward depiction of nature, the sculpture is a proliferous black-and-white plant. The artist has an independent and concise language. It is quite possible that we will see more of her characteristic works in the future. Startgalerie im Museum auf Abruf 1010 Vienna, Felderstrasse 6-8, next to the town hall, until 24. 06. 2008 www.musa.at Galerie Gerersdorfer: Art Austria 08 Austrian art, even after 1980 Works by nearly all of the Austrian artists represented by Horst Gerersdorfer are currently displayed at his gallery. Ranging from Hermann Nitsch, Hans Staudacher, and Hubert Schmalix to the young Robert Muntean and Bianca Regl. Unfortunately there is neither a catalogue nor any detailed information describing the works and the artists, but admittedly - such an endeavour would have surpassed the capacity of any gallery. Like most cross-section exhibits this one is also a compromise; some of the works go unappreciated or seem to be lost in the abundance of art shown. Among them Edgar Honetschläger’s dainty, beautiful aquarelles, not wider than 15 cm, which are positioned much too low. Singular are also the works by Erwin Bohatsch and Deborah Sengl. One could regret that fact that only paintings and graphics are shown, but actually this is consistent. This second Art Austria 08 is a refreshing supplement to the same named fair at the Museumsquartier (14. – 18. May 2008), where no contemporary art was to be seen. If you are interested in getting an impression about the Austrian art scene, this is the right place to visit. Being able to see such a wide range of art at one venue does not happen often. Galerie Gerersdorfer 1090 Vienna, Währinger Strasse 12, until 05.07.2008 www.gerersdorfer.at Galerie Exner: Walter Schmögner – for his 65. Birthday: Als die Stifte brannten (When the pencils were on fire) Vivat and Ambrosia! How does one honour a painter? How does one honour someone who has just turned 65 and would be retiring if he weren’t a painter? What allows painters to assert the claim never to be pensioned? A painter is distinguished by his unique and unmistakable art. Essentially paintings are peaceful; and it takes peaceful surroundings to encounter them. Paintings reflect the possibilities of presentation - from the techniques and materials used combined with the setting shown. Gallery Exner organized a remarkable exhibit to honour Walter Schmögner’s 65th birthday. 50 of his works are displayed – all documenting his individual, well thought out, and unconventional works, all showing commitment to desire, doubt, and humour. The history of art is long and lucid; over and over it delights in being surprised by a painter’s devotion to painting. Long live Walter Schmögner! Galerie Exner 1010 Vienna, Rauhensteingasse 12, until 22.06.2008 www.galerie-exner.at

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