English summaries February 7 - 20

Bawag Contemporary Luisa Kasalicky - en suite 10.02.11 – 24.04.11 Minimalism from the DIY Market Oh, how the goods offered in DIY markets determine our life style. Who needs interior designers if you can find everything in a DIY market? Even parts needed for the gruesome craft of destruction can be found here - to be precise: DIY markets even sell parts needed to assemble a bomb. It doesn’t come as a surprise that fine arts make use of such a rich offer. Luisa Kasalicky, born 1974 in Prague and living in Vienna, is well acquainted with this cosmos of serial produced ready-made objects. She uses materials such as tiles, linoleum or diverse insulation materials, as well as parts of tubes or fences and supports for staircase railings. Naturally, such transferal operations between everyday and exhibition situations are simulated. And of course there's a traditional streak along the way: Minimalism. But it's strikingly clear upon which exciting moments the artist builds up her actual "En Suite" exhibition from a triangle of form, material and meaning. When Kasalicky works with roofing felt, then, amongst other things, a starry cosmos comes to life that reminds one of a photogram, a paper pattern or even perhaps a map. When she uses parts of a fence or balcony railings, these have ornamental character while, at the same time, retaining the original purpose. That makes Kasalicky's work so interesting and shows that it only functions under the paradigm of rigid precision. On the other hand, her drawings appear to be a collection of ideas. It's characteristic for this modus operandi that invariably, there will be moments of the cultural history of the used materials or inherent associations referring to their intended use. After all, it involves industrial findings, which are mass-produced for a market and thereby - apart from the usage context - are produced from certain ingrained ideas from the sales side. At the same time, the cohesion of this work is developed through the extremely high degree of formalization. As a result, there are two moments of irony, the central focus, however, lies in the creation of formal tension and the question of the relation of form and function. Almost a little outmoded. But aren't quality and approach formed exactly from this recalcitrance? One should certainly come to grips with this first institutional solo exhibition of the artist. By Roland Schöny Bawag Contemporary 1010 Vienna, Franz Josefs Kai 3 www.bawagcontemporary.at Opening hours: daily from 2 p.m. – 8 p.m. Eberharter Display Iv Toshain – The One that Shines has no Shadow 05.02.11 – 25.02.11 Constructions beyond the three-dimensional The artist Iv Toshain is currently displaying her new works from a series that was already highly acclaimed upon presentation in New York. What she describes as „functional visual communication“ refers to elementary structures that are comprehensible to everyone: her elaborative Plexiglas artworks consist of intertwining heavy black lines forming geometric patterns. They actually remind of line graphs of four-dimensional cross polytope, or details thereof; while Iv Toshain propagates her own matrix, e.g. as insinuated by the title „The theory of Everything“. In her work „The Sky is the Limit“, Toshain connects the topic of higher dimensionality with reality. She cites a white structure, a four-dimensional dice, mingled with triangles (from a mixed up Penrose Pattern) and thereby subdivides the sky-blue into numerous planes and shades. This transforms the structured sky into a kind of projection screen suspended from a thick rope against a white background. Ergo, a realistically painted landscape appears as an excerpt behind a black Plexiglas oval. Iv Toshain’s art effectively reflects constructions that are set behind a 3D-perceived world. By Renate Quehenberger Eberharter Display 1020 Vienna, Austellungsstrasse 53 Tel: +43 650 3300045 Centre PasquArt Anatoly Shuravlev 16.01.11 – 20.03.11 Phantom pain The last sentence of the review in the Kunstforum magazine on the 2009 Venice Biennial is rather blunt: it deals with Anatoly Shuravlev’s installation of glass balls resembling Christmas tree ornaments hanging from almost invisible threads in a fragile floating cloud, lit warmly in the otherwise dark room. Miniature photo portraits of well-known 20th century personalities are encapsulated in each glass ball– ranging from Ghandi to Einstein, Elvis or Obama. But the critics were not impressed by the intended magical atmosphere: „Despite all well-known and important people, these installations are insignificant pieces of decoration.“ A harsh verdict that can now be more closely examined at Shuravlev’s first solo exhibition at the Centre PasquArt in Biel/Switzerland. Resembling pinched out confetti they flow in all variations across the exhibition rooms, integrated into round, square or cloud-shaped Plexiglas objects, mounted on walls or integrated onto c-prints: tiny analogue photo portraits with a diameter of 1cm of known and unknown people. And it is exactly this endless and rather unvaried repetition that is problematic. Shuravlev is involved in what one would call „Global Art“. Born 1963 in Moscow he commutes between his home country and Berlin. His global nomad-like life is not only part of his biography but also part of his work: e.g. he extracts the templates for his collages from mass media and here and there includes a little bit of Tibet, China, India, Hollywood stars or important art historic figures. These well-known topics are at least comprehensible to most people in the Western Hemisphere - if one only understood what the artist actually wanted to say. And the poorly written exhibition guide doesn't help find a deeper interpretation: the text is rather superficial thus arousing the suspicion that the same may be valid for Shuravlev’s art. Or are we being unfair? With his miniature pictures, Shuravlev literally forces one to take a very close look. However, what one sees has no depth, on the contrary – it opens a path towards arbitrariness. If one attempts to evoke strong emotions of attraction and rejection with meaningful gestures and emotion, combined with pleasant aesthetics, the observer yearns for a moment that calms the charged atmosphere. However, If this fails one is left with the phenomenon of kitsch. In any case, this exhibition is characterized by a lot of drama. “Temporary Visual Wound” is the title of the intervention in the huge Salle Poma, which is divided by a black horizontal line – resembling a wound. A strong artistic message! But could the inflationary number of photo miniatures be the reason that this wound doesn’t really hurt? Centre PasquArt 2502 Biel / Seevorstadt 71 – 75 / faubourg du lac Tel: +41 32 322 55 86 Fax: +41 32 322 61 81 Email: info@pasquart.ch www.pasquart.ch Opening hours: Mon – Fri 2 p.m. – 6 p.m., Sat – Sun 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Künstlerhaus Palais Thurn und Taxis Miriam Prantl, Peter Matzalik, Erich Smodics 15.01.11 - 27.02.11 It's worth it ... If ever there was someone in Vorarlberg who personifies a walking advertisement for today's art production, then it's Wilhelm Meusburger, president of the local artists' association. Whilst quite a number lose their originality in the storm of the art in-crowd, he, in his friendly understatement - as opposed to all the others who know themselves to be bound up in a subversively understood art scene - is the recognized promoter of the Künstlerhaus Thurn and Taxis in Bregenz, a bulwark of the authenticity in the often mendacious picture world of the present media. The quality of the ten new members plus three established art personalities speaks for itself. In the centre room on the ground floor, Miriam Prantl has conjured up a wonderful miracle of light; the fleetingness of every existential experience gives rise to something like a secularized meditative mood, and the comparison between the great tradition of the art of metaphysic light streaming from Gothic cathedrals with their divine sparkling rose windows and a James Turrell may seem far reaching, but is certainly not incorrect. While the name of Erich Smodics stands for an artistically well made, academic type of art here in Bregenz - although from the point of view of artistic innovation he has not truly emancipated himself from the classical discipline of nude painting - Peter Matzalik has decorated the attic rooms with graphite pen work, which, judging by the vigorous lines of application, appears to have been inspired by Arnulf Rainer. In any case, it's the ten new members who are so amazing. There is no central content - it is each individual artist chosen by the jury, be it because they were able to produce an academic degree quasi as a master craftsman's certificate, or be it that the specialists on the jury - six artists and two architects - recognized an art house's autodidactic. It truly is "a house of artists for artists", as Wilhelm Meusberger proudly points out. Basic democracy and quality are certainly not opposites here. Whether classical expressive painting (Rita Moosbrugger), screen printing (Anne Zwiener), textile sculptures (Maria Baumschlager), subtle pencil portraits of cows (Helmut Osterloher), cinematic self-protraits (Martina Feichtinger), a filigreed tale of woe in a mix of materials (Simon Vith), a parody about Alemannic clothes lines (Rouven Duerr), humorous, caricature-like ink drawings (Sophia Lipurger) or panel paintings in oil (Lorenz Helfer and Katharina Olschbaur), each position deserves its own write-up. And this leaves just one tip: go and see it for yourself. It's worth it! By Wolfgang Ölz Künstlerhaus Palais Thurn and Taxis 6900 Bregenz, Gallusstraße 10 Tel: +43 (0) 55 74 / 427 51 Fax: +43 (0) 55 74 / 440 29 E-mail: bvkv@kuenstlerhaus-bregenz.at www.kuenstlerhaus-bregenz.at Opening hours: Tue-Sat 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. – Sun 10 a.m. – noon, and 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.

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