160112: MAK Applied Arts/Contemporary Art Buildings beheld – Architecture mirrored in contemporary art photography

MAK Applied Arts/Contemporary Art Buildings beheld – Architecture mirrored in contemporary art photography 07.12.11 to 22.04.12 First Aid packet – without instruction leaflet One doesn't really notice that the exhibition "Buildings beheld – Architecture mirrored in contemporary art photography" in the MAK has only very hastily been put on the program by the new director, Christoph Thun-Hohenstein. Because designer Helmut Lang unexpectedly cancelled his Personale, a “first aid packet” had to be found quickly for the large hall. That Thun-Hohenstein decided upon architecture photography shows programmatically that he's going in the right direction. Curator Simon Rees presents the genres under eight different aspects. Although the starting point - Thomas Ruff's photography of Mies van der Rohes' Villa Tugendhat – may be irritating. Also the "glass electronic film music” by Liam Gillick, which appears, above all, esoteric and which accompanies Sarah Morris' Modernism study, may not make a very strong first impression. But the exhibition is equally removed from heroization as glorification - and lays more emphasis on analysis and critic. This is shown in the first room in which the works by Andreas Fogarasi and Allan Sekula subtly light up the instrumentalisation of architecture; or the series by John Massey in which a glass luxury domicile appears to make the art within it, as well as the outside world, frighteningly sterile. Also the 50-piece work by José Davila ("Buildings you have to see before you die") takes on a critical approach: iconic architectural photographs are replaced by white spaces – the resulting areas throw up the question of what meaning can be attributed to the signal effect of architectural blueprints. In addition to this, the exhibition creates elegant passages between the individual chapters, for example, where different shots of the Schindler house in L.A. (Candida Höfer, Hiroshi Sugimoto) refer to diverse aspects. Occasionally one would have liked other works instead of, for example, the short video sequences by Cyprien Gaillard, which only show modernistic buildings in the background; a "Desniansky Raion" (and many other works) would have fitted the utopian theme better. One asks oneself why the most important domestic position in present day architecture photography, namely Margherita Spiluttini, has been forgotten. A real shortcoming is apparent in the almost non-existent basic information: visitors who are not architecture experts have to find many of the pictured buildings by trial and error from the information given on the audio guides, if the information is there at all. The instruction leaflet is missing from the first aid packet – which was, however, altogether appealing. By Nina Schedlmayer MAK-Applied Arts/Contemporary Art 1010 Vienna, Stubenring 5 Tel: +43(1) 711 36-0 Fax: +43(1) 711 36-227 http://www.mak.at Opening hours: Tue (MAK Nite) 10.00-24.00 hours, Wed-Sun 10.00-18.00 hours

MAK - Museum für angewandte Kunst
1010 Wien, Stubenring 5
Tel: +43 1 711 36-0, Fax: +43 1 713 10 26
Email: office@mak.at
Öffnungszeiten: Di 10-21, Mi-So 10-18 h

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