English summary April 6 - 18

Architekturzentrum Wien Holzbauer, Kurrent, Spalt – x projects by arbeitsgruppe 4 04.03.10 – 31.05.10 Full three fourths Three pondering young men, one in a dark turtle neck, one in a jacket, and one in a white work coat: Wilhelm Holzbauer, Johannes Spalt and Friedrich Kurrent at the beginning of the 1950’s: three of Clemens Holzmeister’s students of architecture, who had just completed their studies and with their careers still ahead of them. Together with their colleague Otto Leitner they founded the “arbeitsgruppe 4” (work group 4) aimed at designing buildings with which they would change the world. The group split up in 1953, which inspired Lülja Praun to nicknaming them “the ¾’s”. Many episodes are still vividly in the minds of the now white-haired professors, and are narrated by the three videos shown in the exhibition “x projects by arbeitsgruppe 4” at the Architekturzentrum in Vienna. Photos of the three, shot by Franz Hubmann, are mounted on the walls and in the windows. In 1952, the young architects moved into their studio in Vienna’s Fuhrmanngasse 4, where a constant coming and going of artists and intellectuals was routine and where the legendary “Vienna Group” readings were held. This is where ideas were created, texts written, projects designed, and heated discussions and excessive parties took place. Sonja Pisarik and Ute Waditschatka curated the exhibition, which was designed by polar÷ (Siegfried Loos, Margot Fürtsch) replicating a studio: photos, plans, texts, models and 20 productive years of the “arbeitsgruppe 4” are presented on a 25 meter long and 8 meter wide chipboard table. The arbeitsgruppe 4 rendered cultural historic groundwork and developed the groundbreaking concept of “living room schools” (Wohnraumschule), founding a new typology and bridging the past with the avant-garde. Their exhibitions centered both on classic Modernism as well as on Konrad Wachsmann’s buildings. His seminars at the Salzburg Summer Academy offered significant inspiration to the “3/4’s”, which can clearly be seen in the two designs for the church in Schellenberg. Their first building was already considered a milestone: In 1953, Clemens Holzmeister passed the commission by the parish in Salzburg on the young group of architects. Salzburg Parsch wanted to construct a chapel at a farm. But the “3/4’s” designed an entire church and their design was accepted and built. The entire Parsch church is a work of art, in which Josef Mikl, Oskar Kokoschka, and Fritz Wotruba also had their part. Further milestones, such as the church in Steyr-Ennsleiten planned together with Georg Gsteu followed. By Isabella Marboe Architekturzentrum Wien 1070 Vienna, MuseumsQuartier, Museumsplatz 1 Tel: +43 1 522 31 15 Fax: +43 1 522 31 17 email: office@azw.at http://www.azw.at Opening hours: daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Galerie Elisabeth Michitsch Peter Patzak – Time and eleven rooms and the production of the sometimes 16.04.10 – 24.04.10 No frame, please! Peter Patzak painted the narrow frame directly onto the painting, no frame – no matter how elegant a wooden or golden frame would be – was meant to disturb the composition, which was well thought out and which does not tolerate anything that could disrupt the artistic or literary thought. He sets a point to the end with fine white stripes. Now it’s finished. Content and form are complete, there is no space for anything else, and all is said in the painting. Peter Patzak created 11 paintings last year, eleven pictures that narrate his life, eleven memories of drastic or sometimes even totally banal encounters and observations that arise out of his life. Eleven rooms, eleven situations, the table that fell from the truck at the Friedrich Engels square, the darkness of the roof-pitch in Nussberg, a niche in the Bronx, and beams in the Chianti, a window front in Weidling. All places of his life, places which have coined him, or which he coined through his attentiveness, observations, and experiences. Places, which are important to him. Or places that define space, a topic his art centres on. The eleven paintings at the Galerie Michitsch depict rooms, quiet, deserted rooms, old walls with melancholy colours, a window, and a door through which nobody enters. They are rooms that lead every onlooker to his own associations. They seduce. Peter Patzak repeatedly paints series, and sets special topics: “Shrines”, “The unequal hours”, “Data”, or “Letters to Perigord”. They are never paintings without mental or literary content and every single one is a piece of living memory. Even if the theme of a series is determined from the outset, the poetic titles only develop during the long process of painting. Painting is a meditative, but sometimes a pensive doing. And for an artist such as Peter Patzak, such a versatile talent, the stories intertwine. Sometimes a picture series develops, sometimes a novel, another time a film, not as an accompaniment but as a continuous string of thought from one media to the next. But in every media, no matter if in painting, film or writing, he is an image seeker, an image creator. And in every medium, it is rooms that he is occupied with. He thinks in rooms when he narrates stories in a film, or writes novels or when he paints. (In a very meticulous form, by the way, which he studied at the Academy and continuously strives to perfect). He is sure that all of his works originate from the same root, from which many strains have developed. A world in pictures, in many pictures. Walter Schurian writes about his “Worlds in picture” and that they are “words immersed into colour”. He describes himself as someone who is not “zeitgeisty” (what ever that may be in a time in which everything is possible), who on the one hand wants to uncover everything, but also want to hide. In any case he wants to remain in himself, in his content and in his inner essentiality. He does not want to disclose everything; it’s meant to stay a secret. This last secret - which will always remain where an artist weights his subconscious and transforms an artistic process. By Angelica Bäumer Galerie Elisabeth Michitsch 1010 Vienna, Opernring 7, Mezzanin Tel: +43 1 512 83 13 Fax: +43 1 512 85 25 email: office@elisabeth-michitsch.at www.elisabeth-michitsch.at Opening hours: Mon – Fri: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sat: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Palais des Beaux-Arts Mexican Festival Mexican portraits from early days to Frida Kahlo – including El Greco For the first time since 1993, Mexican art has returned to Brussels. The current exhibition at the Palais des Beaux Arts is marked by the 200th anniversary of country’s independence as well as the 100th anniversary of the Mexican revolution. The country with the eagle on a cactus, a symbol of the solar deity for the founding site of Mexico, welcomes the visitor with a kind of baby face (approx. 1000 B.C.): the sturdy sitting something with its slanted eyes attests the theory of ancient immigrants to Mexico being of Asian origin. A massive Olmec head (approx. 1500 B.C.), discovered in the 19th century in the bay of Mexico, marks the country’s cultural birth. Mexican art: visitors to the Palais des Beaux-Arts can admire 150 pieces from Mexican collections, ranging from the sparse highlights of the early history of the Olmec culture (1200 – 1600 B.C.) to the Aztecs (until 1500 A.D.). The age of discoveries, colonisation and so-called Christianization lets two continents collide culturally and creates odd mixtures stretching into the 18th century, which, however, ended with Mexico’s cultural downfall. Through the revolutionary art and the romantic-historicizing style, which then followed, the panoramic undertaking ended in the middle of the 20th century: with Frida Kahlo, Rufino Tamayo, and the photographs by Manuel Alvarez Bravos. And – for the sake of completeness - the muralists such as Orozoco, Rivera, and Siqeiros are also represented, however not with their best works. The main emphasis on the “mexicanidad” (Mexicanness) with its permanent closeness to old languages, materials and legends, thereby marking the strongest contrast to European contemporary art, would have definitely been more enlightening for the European Brussels. Meanwhile, the anonymous portrait of a noble Indian woman in a pearl embroidered gown (1757) seems to point to another highlight of the exhibition in Brussels: Frida Kahlo (1907 – 1954). Even the small number of works (30) presented, all on loan from Dolores Omedo’s private Kahlo collection, convey a complete and concentrated picture of this artist-phenomenon. An icon of the women’s movement, collected by Madonna, and Selma Hayek as the cineaste alter ego: Frida Kahlo incorporates all of the clichés of the suffering and seriously ill painter in a steel corset (following a traffic accident at the age of 18). A powerful naïve surrealistic form of narration on the emotional condition of women evolves. And the paintings presented suffice to mediate this in a complex way. In the centre “The broken pillar”, a self-portrait icon in a steel corset (1944), depicting the five-months of her torture. “Only a few cuts” deals with a newspaper article of a drunken man who stabbed his wife: a picture book-like clarity leaving no question unanswered. The Brussels exhibit is a kind of forerunner for the large Frida Kahlo retrsopsetive at the Berlin Gropius-Bau (30.4. – 19.8.2010), where 150 works will be presented. The real sensation at the Brussel-based Palais des Beaux-Arts is undoubtedly the fabulous exhibition of 40 works by Dominikos Theotokopoulos, better known as El Greco. Thanks to the renovation of the Greco museum in Toledo, this unique exhibition travelled to Brussels. The current Spanish EU presidency forms the cultural political setting for Brussels’ El Greco show. The artist, who was vastly more popular among Spanish clerics and private commissioners than among the Spanish court, is oftentimes considered as a proponent of the inquisition. Mad, intoxicated, reminding of Francis Bacon’s modern adaptations, the narrow last room with its 12 saints and Jesus at the head of the room, is a mystery mixture. The sculptural “Jacobus” on its gold background reminds us that El Greco arrived in Toledo via Venice and Rome and was originally an icon painter. His pastel-like “Last Supper” reveals his closeness to Titian and Tintoretto, and the body dynamics in the “Healing of the Blind” reveal his adoration of Michelangelo’s depictions of physical strength. By the way – the exhibition at the Palais des Beaux Arts was opened on the same day that a Spanish financial commissioner in Brussels ordered the sequestration of Greece. Maybe this is the start of the heeling of the economically blind. By Roland Groß Mexican Festival until 25.4.2010 Frida Kahlo until 18.4.2010 El Greco until 9. 05.2010 Palais des Beaux Arts Ravenstinstraat 23 1000 Brussels Opening hours: Tue – Sun: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Thu: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. http://www.bozar.be O.K. offenes Kulturhaus Oberösterreich Biennale Cuvée 10 – Global selection of contemporary art 03.03.10 – 02.05.10 The world is big and you are small In Austria, the economic mechanisms of attracting attention as well as the analytical potential of discussions and social interactions of biennials have little meaning. But this has less to do with the country itself than with the phenomenon that important biennials no longer take place in traditional centres, but at the periphery. One of the reasons being that new biennials no longer represent homogenous societies, but prefer to offer a critical contribution both to the centre and periphery. In connection with the Upper Austrian city of Linz, this can be interpreted in a double sense – especially this year, when a new Linz Triennial in cooperation with the Lentos museum and the State Gallery Linz (Landesgalerie) will be launched in June. The fourth edition of the Biennale Cuvee shows 33 works. The space-filling installations are meant to represent a new generation of conceptual art, contrasting the sobriety of art historical methods. Reality, perception and fiction are represented in many variations and imply the return to formal aspects as well as the performative. One thematic priority becomes evident: the sensitization for the power of image politics, which, for example, can be acquired through biographical coordinates, as shown in the works by the Palestinian artist Taysir Betniji or the South Korean Haejun Jo, whose father kept a diary with sketches narrating his childhood days during the Korean War. These personal worlds of experience are contrasted by “objective” reporting. While Lado Darakhvelidze comments these pseudo-didactically in a school class with chalk drawings, Sylvie Blocher transforms Obama’s election speech into what it actually was: a chic pop song with cult status. The Columbian artist and activist Carlos Motta deals with political spheres of influence and the question regarding the ownership of public space, using graffiti as an example. In contrast, Sue Williamson mounts slogans onto walls of those houses in an Egyptian fisher town, where people are threatened to be evicted. Modified parameters and shifted power structures continuously force us to apply new presentation forms - this is the purport of the “global selection”. The attempt to summarize all of this in a cuvee is ambitious. But it shows sagacity when content coherence and potentiality develop. By Maren Richter O.K. offenes Kulturhaus Oberösterreich 4020 Linz, Dametzstrasse 30 Tel.: +43 732 78 41 78 Fax.: + 43 732 77 56 84 email: office@ok-centrum.at http://www.ok-centrum.at Galerie Martin Janda Raum aktueller Kunst Svenja Deininger, Julius Koller 27.03.10 – 30.04.10 The harmony of disturbing factors The current exhibition at the Galerie Martin Janda presents Svenja Deininger suggestive picture puzzles, set between abstraction and figurativeness. The artist, born 1974 in Vienna, predominantly sees her works - for the most part small-format compositions - as atmospheric spaces, even if photographs of concrete places oftentimes influenced the starting point of her work. In her works, which are based on geometric forms, Deininger attempts to apprehend the limits of painting, by dealing with questions of “space, light, which makes it partially visible”, as well as “forms of architecture”: the ground coat of the canvas, mainly in beige, brown or blue tones, are not overlaid with the actual painting, but are an integral part of the compositions. Together with the additional layers of oil paint – which are often square, triangular or in other forms, are characteristic for Deininger’s work in diverse gradations of white and black, and result in a plastic, collage-like effect. In some instances, the geometrical rigour is lessened: by removing colour, which manifests itself in the form of sharply jagged irregularly broken lines, juxtaposed by unexpectedly precisely positioned, smoothly blurred circles and lines. To achieve the “correct balance, respectively unbalance” of a picture composition, Deininger purposely integrates disturbing factors: by positioning forms directly at the edge of the picture or with the help of colour elements positioned as a counterpoint – as for example in one of the works in a radiant Yves Klein-blue -, which ultimately balances the entire picture. Deininger’s individual style best manifests itself in her reduced works. Abandoning any superficial speculation, the artist creates strong association-spaces through the subtle oscillation between two- and three-dimensionality. The ambivalent undertone shapes the consistent suspense: the atmospheric range of Deininger’s space world’s comprises both a protective function from the outside as well as a certain threat-potential, and aesthetically mirrors insinuations of the seeming idyll of the 50’s as well as the futuristic impression, which surmises the homelessness of an uncertain future. On the gallery’s lower floor, a small display is devoted to Julius Koller, the old master of succinct subversive humour, with his works spanning from the 1960’s to the 1990’s. They include the constantly repeating elements of his work: such as the question mark or a UFO – as well as a real communist roll of toilet paper from 1978. By Susanne Jäger Galerie Martin Janda Raum aktueller Kunst 1010 Vienna, Eschenbachgasse 11 Tel: +43 1 585 73 71 Fax: + 43 1 585 73 72 email: office@raumaktuellerkunst.at http://www.martinjanda.at Opening hours: Tue – Fri 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sat 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. ÖBV Christian Rupp – “Schafsnaturen” 20.01.10 - 07.05.10 At the beginning there was a logo ... Christian Rupp presents two series at the ÖBV exhibition, both of which could not be more different: “Schafsnaturen”(hanger-on) and “Invasion”. “Schafsnaturen” consists of colourful patterns comprised of artfully assembled brand logos set off against a white background. The computer prints mounted on jagged Sheetrock resemble wallpaper, torn off a wall. The colourful rosettes, positioned in rows or scattered separately and criss-cross contoured shimmering chains seem to have taken over the organic microstructures of brand-logos stored in brain cells. A consequence of the “mental environmental pollution”, as the artist describes it. He wrote advertising messages onto wallpaper with his Logo-Alphabet, designed in 2002, to unmask them as consumer-religion dogmas. Landscape paintings made of brand names, including brand animals and flowers round out Rupp’s world of brands. “Divine nature” competes with an artificial hyper world of mass products, whose producers consequently turn into deities. The central piece of the exhibition is a backlit, pointed arch church window. Comparable with the depiction of a bible story on a medieval high altar, Rupp, with the help of the iconography of the brand names, narrates the contemporary version of the predominant “dogma”: the central figure, a fast-food-clown, holds, Neptune-like, the trident of one of the most desired Italian sport cars. The auto mobility attests to the materially (safe) guarded existence in a sea of consumer goods. The “Deus in machina” replaces spirit with spirits. Over a heap of shells and a six-legged petrol station dog, hangs a cumulative collection of Bibendi. On the right side: a landscape of pleasure – a kind of “contra mountain” (Paramount-logo) with the flame of a lighter and chocolate dragons encircled by goose-stepping uniformed troops (Scotch whiskey-like). Breezing above them: the 4-radial stars of a TV-set manufacturer. Above this mundane scene, at the level of the golden ratio, the band of fitness, comprised of blue-white stripped torn tracksuit pants, forms the dividing line to the afterworld: heaven is decorated with a double rosette from the contemporary symbol for the goddess of victory as a sports accessories-model. Rupp creates nectar and ambrosia emblems with the M’s belonging to a clown and the C of a brewery. Mandalas made of crystal shaped automobile logos symbolize utmost mobility. Christian Rupp employs the logos in the sense of an extended meaning – in the sense of the Greek word “logos”. By creating images with these “word-images”, which reflect their mental abilities, he succeeds in visualizing the “entire sense of reality”. In the second part of the exhibition: “Invasion”, the artists also takes us to Greece, to illustrate the downside of this mobility within the market conform reality-illusion machine. He named the black-and-white photographs of mass product plastic chairs “soldier-portraits” and their signs of wear documents their individuality. A 180-degree panorama photomontage depicting a beach shows a battalion of the same chairs emerging from the sea, marching towards land, where the others are already waiting in rank and file – for the tourist invasion. Simple dreariness, outside of the vacation-paradise-bustle – surreal real. Throwaway objects now occupy the country, once inundated by anthropomorphic goddess statues. With the plastic chair he creates an icon of the “modern human”, as a subject subordinated to the character of goods, whose mortality is characterized by garbage and their divinity is characterized by their non-degradability. The logical short circuit of both exhibition parts clearly shows the exchangeability of the presumptions: the way Rupp depicts the actually tangible (fortune) and intangible (mortality) of existence and vice versa – conveys the character of a ‘pure world of ideas’ through the materialistic part of the consumer world with abstract logo-patterns, and points to how the ubiquitous inescapable icons of desire draw the transcendent into immanence. The afterworld of the highest satisfaction begins immediately behind the next shop window, while this life succumbs to tourist-conform requirements – since fashion revivals replaced the wheel of eternal recurrence. “Principle of world rationality?” – “Logo!” (German for: of course)! By Renate Quehenberger ÖBV 1010 Vienna, Grillparzerstrasse 14 Tel: +43 1 40 120 – 0 http://www.oebv.com Opening hours: Mon – Fri: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Krinzinger Projekte Eliezer Sonnenschein – Meaningless Humanity Energy Structures 03.02.10 – 21.04.10 Matter, should, have It could mean many different things: we vanish … a renowned contributor to lyric culture once wrote: full of hope one approaches spring, winter instantly fades away, it vanishes and melts and is temporarily gone. With the first word of his exhibition title, Eliezer Sonnenschein denies wanting to have anything to do with meanings, but then mentions humanity, energy and structures, and this approach: not to mean anything, but to deal with many things, is a kind of ambivalent irony and can be compared to a street light that is simultaneously red and green. If intercourse between people is to take place extralinguistic and inside and dressed, pictures and art works are considered to be the most interesting forms of communication, because they are globally comprehensive. And since the title of this exhibition seems to promise the opposite, this might actually mean that it connotes everything and nothing. Sonnenschein originated from a landscape that is oftentimes mentioned in the Bible and other religious scripts and is charged with meaning, and through which currently a solid wall, comparable to that of the Iron Curtain, is being set up. The freedom of expression and meaning also lies in the fact that the wall does not have to be painted in the pictures and it does not have to constructed in the sculptures (instead there is the Empire State Building, height-adjustable!), because its non-mentioning does not not have to mean anything – and because the artist is on the move in a different region. The works can be distinguished in the following way: for the artist, the paintings are the personal ego, while the sculptures are more the id. For the art business there are lovingly erotic collages on plates, and with this playful “also-part-of-the game” work the meaninglessness can literally fall on one’s head. The installation of seven colour-parcels, which are presented as Facebook-portraits, is a glimmering self-portrait of the artist. It is left to the associations made by the onlooker, whether the punchlines or rather the objects are the more beautiful element – what does a white playing card mean personally and for the id? The presentation of the works is pleasant and the amount and ingenuity of the works are amazing. Eliezer Sonnenschein created them during a three-month stay at Krinzinger Projekte. One can look forward to the catalogue, which will be published this year, and it could be meaningful to visit the exhibition. Or not. Having seen it should not be missed. By Gesche Heumann Krinzinger Projekte 1070 Vienna, Schottenfeldgasse 45 Tel: +43 1 512 81 42 email: krinzingerprojekte@gmx.at http://www.galerie-krinzinger.at/projekte Daros Exhibitions Luis Camnitzer 11.03.10 to 04.07.10 Touched by master hand, value increased A stack of A4-format paper, each with an aphorism in its centre, to be stamped by every visitor at the exhibition and to be taken home for one Swiss franc per piece: in Luis Camnitzer’s “Self-service” (1996), visitors stamp the artist’s signature onto the paper, with aphorisms such as “Aesthetics sold, ethics wasted” or “The soul of art lives in the signature” printed on them. One can hardly expose the creation of the status of artistic work in a more beautiful way. Camnitzer, born in Germany, grew up in Uruguay and now lives in the USA, has set standards in South America as a concept artist. Furthermore, he advanced to one of the most significant chroniclers of an artistic movement, of which he was, and still is, a part. In his book “Didactics of Liberation” (2007), he poignantly sets Latin American conceptual art apart from its more renowned pendants in the USA and Great Britain. It was not Marcel Duchamp, but the enlightener Simón Rodriguez and the Tupamaro city guerrillas who inspired conceptual art on the sub continent. The exhibition at the Zurich Daros Exhibitions, where Camnitzer’s work from 1968 until today are displayed, presents him as a both witty and poetic master of art reflection as well as an expert for representational questions. Like the mold of a tiercet, a gold form presents itself behind glass “predefined by the connection of the outer points of the text, describing a form”. The form is such, as it is described. But yet again it is not, because it does not deal with the text but with the form. Camnitzer is definitely not a formalist – firstly, because representational questions are anything but free of politics and secondly, because this is also valid for the questioning of art as a material effect of authorized and legal actions. A red woollen glove is suspended behind glass, and next to it is a letter by Camnitzer addressed to a handful of artist colleagues, asking them to wear the glove and then add their financial estimate for this action to a list. Ultimately, everything will be added up. “Like everything in the art market, the value of a glove is increased by the touch of the artist.” (Added Value, 1979) By Jens Kastner Daros Exhibitions 8005 Zurich, Limmatstrasse 268 Tel: +41 44 447 70 00 email: zurich@daros-latinamerica.net http://daros-latinamerica.net Opening hours: Thu: Noon – 8 p.m., Fri – Sun: Noon – 6 p.m.

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