English summaries July 26 - August 21

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía A Hard, Merciless Light. The Worker Photography Movement, 1926-1939 06.04.11 - 22.08.11 No Mercy “A hard, merciless light” characterized the worker photography of the Twenties. It was exactly this lack of social romanticism, to position ones “sympathy” philanthropically and thereby hierarchically above the object, with which the new concepts of proletariat photography were approached. The depiction of the sober, unadorned world of workers was – by definition - meant to be documentary, avoiding any form of emotional staging. On the one hand, the dualism of the topic consists of presenting a choreographed new positive image of workers, and on the other hand, a social critical documentation of the status to be overcome; all this with the “proletarian eye” as defined by Edwin Hoernie, the inventor of the slogan “light without mercy”, as an antagonism to the viewpoint of bourgeois humanism. Groups in the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Hungary, France, The Netherlands, England, the USA and Mexico were quickly founded. In the Soviet Union the end came with the expiration of the Five-Year-Plan and in Germany with Hitler seizing power; the worker’s magazine AIZ relocated to Prague with John Heartfield. The Civil War in Spain offered a last forum for reporter photography, among others for the Viennese photographer Margaret Michaelis-Sachs. The equally extensive as profoundly researched exhibition in Madrid deals with the topic in all facets of film and photo, arranged by countries, whereby the main focus is on Germany, eg. with AIZ and a report published in 1931 covering 24 hours in the life of the Moscow-based worker family Filippov and numerous vintage prints. Austria is represented by a small selection of works by Edith Tudor Harts, the sister of photographer and cameraman Wolf Suschitzky, compiled by Johannes Faber. In the end, in light of the hardly manageable mass of works, only a few individual impressions remain - and the fascinating image of the utopia of combining artistic and political avant-garde. By Iris Meder Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía 28012 Madrid, Santa Isabel 52 Tel: (+34) 91 774 10 00 Fax: (+34) 91 774 10 56 www.museoreinasofia.es Opening hours: Mon - Sat 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Sun 10 a.m. -2.30 p.m. Startgalerie im MUSA Maria Anwander & Ruben Aubrecht – Possible result of working together 22.07.11 until 01.09.11 Application as jester An almost empty gallery room, only a few notes mounted on the walls. In one corner, behind an empty partition screen, the words “I knew someone in the jury” are scribbled on the wall – similar to a bashful confession that no-one is supposed to hear or read. That this statement, as an independent piece of work, has the exact opposite effect and thereby – not without self-irony – questions the fairness of a jury as an institution is part of the show's bigger concept. To deal with the oftentimes questionable mechanisms of the art scene is a well-known tradition among critical artists, and it is exactly this that is done here with humor and with consequence. Anwander and Aubrecht renounce all forms of art objects and exclusively exhibit documents that cite their relationship to the art world. That a letter of rejection by the Magistrate Department 7 Culture –the department operating the MUSA in the Startgalerie – is among the works presented here, demonstrates the absurdity connected with the allocation of subsidies and the evaluation of art itself. With this exhibition, both artists position themselves among a large crowd of critical artists, ranging from Warhol to Dali and Beuys to Daniel Spörri. At all times these positions are seemingly targeted against the market and the mechanisms by which art is evaluated. But it is not unusual that exactly these positions are particularly often purchased as they offer a twofold benefit: not only does one document one’s own openness towards modern conceptual art, but one also affords the luxury to pay someone for being criticized. In a way this is a modern form of a jester, who was the only one allowed to criticize those in power and who paid for his criticism. Then as now, this has no consequences for those in power and it therefore only seems logical that the documents of refusal and failure have a market value of between 1600 and 3000 euros. By Wolfgang Pichler Startgalerie im MUSA 1010 Vienna, Felderstraße 6-8, next to the Town Hall Tel: +43 (0)1 4000 8400 email: musa@musa.at www.musa.at/startgalerie Opening hours: Tue, Wed, Fri – 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. Thu 11 a.m. – 20 p.m. , Sat 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Salzburger Kunstverein, Künstlerhaus Sense and Sensibility 21.07.11 - 25.09.11 Between art and literature This year’s summer exhibition “Sense and Sensibility” at the Salzburg Kunsterverein deals with the relationship of fine arts and literature using several artistic examples. Curator Hemma Schmutz was mainly inspired by Jane Austen's novel. Perhaps one should first consider possible types of literary relations with fine arts. This exhibition does not primarily deal with the relationship of language and art, as this may be the case with Visual Poetics, but with literature as an inspirational source. Postcolonial literature and its narrations on travel, conquests, territorial occupations forms the main focus. Especially works by Ines Doujak and Michael Höpfner combine this aspiration. If the artistic work was there first and the title was created later is no longer clear, but this is probably not relevant for the artistic work anyway. The photographic works by the young Czech Eva Kotakova offer a refreshing position, in which books and knowledge are defined as a burden. In “House Arrest” the artist is shown enclosed by piles of books leaving her no air to breathe or space to move. In the photos, Kotova’s body underlies an “education intrinsic deformation” – in one photo she sinks into a “sea of knowledge” – mirroring her personal negative experience with education. Michael Höpfner’s photo series, presented as rows of slides on benches, strongly questions cultural progress with respect to clearing inaccessible landscapes. For this work, Höpfner, who becomes acquainted with untouched territories through his travels, uses Joseph Conrad’s book title “Outpost of Progress” (1897). This book describes the unscrupulous greed of two Belgians causing havoc in an outpost in the once Belgian colonial empire of Congo and ultimately commit suicide. Injes Doujak goes even beyond Höpfner’s criticism of civilization and invites artists to design ostrich eggs, focusing on the artistic presentation of topics including women traffic or transgender. The ostrich eggs hang on small Plexiglas ships designed by Doujak, all areferring to Herman Melville’s narration “Benito Cereno” (1855), in which he reports about the slave uprising on ships and thereby deals with the question of authority. In this context, ostrich eggs were a symbol for power and influence. Finally, let us point to the “cozy” niche in the large hall of the Kunstverein with the “library of unread books” by Julius Deutschbauer is in one corner. This collection of unread books exists since 1997, and since 2000, Deutschbauer interviews people on their unread book. So far 700 interviews were conducted, which have all been documented, and all of the books were catalogued in a library. Once a month a collective reading as well as a monthly literary reading takes place under the title “reading and needlework”. In August, Josef Winkler has been invited to attend. By Susanne Rohringer Salzburger Kunstverein, Künstlerhaus 5020 Salzburg, Hellbrunnerstrasse 3 Tel: +43 (0) 662/84 22 94-0 Fax: +43 (0) 662/84 07 62 email: office@salzburger-kunstverein.at www.salzburger-kunstverein.at Opening hours: Tue - Sun 12 a.m.- 7 p.m. Galerie Ruzicska Gerold Miller - A Retrospective 23.07.11 - 30.08.11 Concrete objects Large format works of polymorph mural objects oscillating between sculpture and painting created by the 50 year-old sculptor Gerold Miller are presented on the ground floor. Predominantly they are square aluminum box frames with slanted edges and smooth color surfaces. An opening in the centre of the works uncovers the empty wall. Around this opening, which in turn can form a square, colors are grouped with hard edges – Hard:edged also being the title of this series. There is no trickling or merging of color. Miller is much more interested in the collision of color planes, their effect on the observer and on the inner empty space, on which a shadow can suddenly appear. In his most recent works the opening is smaller and the picture as such prevails. While strolling through the gallery it seems that one is primarily faced with objects - objects dealing with questions about painting. Associations to Minimal Art evolve, the amplification of the banal, as presented by Donald Judd with his Boxes, is also found here. But it is not succinct art that is shown, rather art that boldly presents its statement: its about finding out which form one can still use today to seriously bring up color. This is done in large formats, partly reminding of Kenneth Noland’s or Ellsworth Kelly’s work, but also in smaller formats exhibited on the upper floor of the gallery. Smaller objects allow one to discover Miller’s experimentation with diverse formats and colors. There are tones of orange, shiny roughened surfaces and cast shadows whose effects are usually integrated into larger works. All in all a successful and ambitious exhibition by Nikolaus Ruzicska, which the audience and the critics will appreciate during Festival time. By Susanne Rohringer Galerie Ruzicska 5020 Salzburg, Faistauergasse 12 Tel: +43 662 630 360 Fax: +43 662 630 60 email: salzburg@ruzicska.com www.ruzicska.com Opening hours: Tue – Fri 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sat 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

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