020609: Secession: Pawel Althamer and Others

Secession: Pawel Althamer and Others Joseph Maria Olbrich and Südtirolerplatz-Günther The concept reminds of the hands-on art of the 90s, of New Genre Public Art: in the garden of the Secession, Pawel Althamer initiated “a public space for communication with simple means”. A campfire symbolizes the archetype of a “round table”. All of this sounds rather antiquated, but it works. Althamer’s simple intervention – creating a tunnel through the building of the Secession and thereby making the rest of the building inaccessible – is rather irritating. People are found sitting or lying in the garden. Althamer invited various groups including homeless, women wearing suits, or tourists with folding maps. Students constructed a shelter for Südtirolerplatz-Günther – he enjoys talking to people and keeps communication flowing. Donat Grzechowiak’s skeleton of a boat can be found hanging between trees, heaps of wood are nailed to one another and placed on the trees, and the word “love” is mowed into the lawn, decorated with gerbera – and there is an abundance of graffiti, created by children, throughout the tunnel. As with every exhibition at the Secession, the building’s architecture plays a major role. The graffiti does not sprawl onto the façade – Olbrich’s aura is too strong. And if you stay in the garden for a longer period of time, you are practically forced to look at the the back side of the façade more closely. Admittedly, Althamer’s project is capable of conquering public space, but one should have refrained from painting over the sexist scribbling in the tunnel. If the absolute “surrender, respectively transfer, of authorship to others” is really intended (as stated in the press release), then these kinds of things must be accepted – even if they might be displeasing. By Nina Schedlmayer Secession 1010 Vienna, Friedrichstrasse 12, until 21.06.09 www.secession.at

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