020712: TBA21 Augarten - Simon Starling and Superflex – Reprotypes, Triangulations and Road Tests

TBA21 Augarten 30.05.2012 – 23.09.2012 Simon Starling and Superflex – Reprotypes, Triangulations and Road Tests In the inconsistent spiral of Modernism by Roland Schöny The string is stretched to breaking point. And that's how far the field is stretched between the meaning of the symbolic and the real. The trails lead back from the present of this genial festival into the gloomy past of the 20th century. And thereby, the visual characters on the level of language and history are brought together. The setting is the Vienna Augarten, where the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary is exhibiting in the Ambrosi Atelier that has recently become part of the Austrian Belvedere Gallery. A co-operation which is set between the British Turner Prize winner, Simon Starling, and the Danish artists' collective, Superflex. The way in which these concepts touch upon each other is almost unbelievable; partly bordering on the absurd. It hardly needs to be emphasized that conventions are circumvented in art, but it does here. Superflex allows two cows to graze on the lawns of the urbane Augarten, whose green spaces are, at most, only used for occasional events. The unusual spectacle of the cattle in the city environment is based on the biographical background of the opportunistic sculptor, Gustinus Ambrosi. After 1934, he collaborated with the Austro-Fascist system before trying it with the National Socialists and becoming a protégé of Albert Speer's. In the end, although Ambrosi had already invested in the animal model, the National Socialists showed no interest in a planned work entitled "Virgin with Cow". Not to be mourned by any means. As an uninteresting and reactionary artist who always knew how to take care of himself, Ambrosi received the aforementioned atelier as a personal museum, studio and homestead following a decision taken by the Austrian Council of Ministers in 1951. At last, this neglected part of the Austrian cultural history was being dealt with. At the same time, it had to do with Modernism, which, as is well known, has two sides. And National Socialism represents the negative and barbaric side. When Simon Starling mounted part of a shed roof onto a transporter as if it were a reversed spoiler – and which the French draughtsman and designer, Jean Prouvé (died 1981 in Nancy) approx. 1956 designed for the Lycée Blaise Pascal – and drove this vehicle at the highest possible speed over a flying field north of Vienna, we're talking about an endurance test in more than one sense. On one side, this is about a real test from the point of view of a typical approach by Simon Starling. He's particularly interested in the consistency of materials and, in connection with this, in the technical permutations. Therefore, the small transporter with the Prouvé roof piece on its top is exhibited in the Augarten atelier. And naturally, the search for traces at the level of meaning are pursued. Similar to the way an architectonic part undergoes a test run – which, in reality, is absolutely normal – different dimensions of Modernism are exposed and questioned in the exhibition; under the aspect of the history of design, technique and science. For "D1 - Z1 (22,686,575:1)", for example, Starling reconstructed what is regarded as the first freely programmable computer in the world. It pertains to the Z1 calculator with 172 bytes storage space developed by Konrad Zuse in 1936. There's a 30-second animation sequence in black-and-white, which has been transferred onto conventional 35-mm film and projected by a D1 projector made in Dresden. The spiral turns further at the moment when one encounters the photographs of a palace which the German architect, Eckart Muthesius, designed for the Indian Maharaja of Indore (in the Federal States of Madhya Pradesh) in the 1930's. In his innovative concepts he unites the contemporary designs and technique of Le Corbusier, Eileen Gray, Marcel Breuer, Lily Reich or Constantin Brancusi. One can then envision that the hanging lamps - a co-operation project between Simon Starling and Superflex - in all the rooms of the Augarten ateliers hail back to the ideas of the Danish designers, Poul Henningsen, from the year 1924. He conceived similar lights for the Tivoli leisure park in Copenhagen. The special thing about their design is that the lamellae of the lights allow the general light to be spread but however don't let it shine upwards. The reason for this is clear as soon as one realizes when they were created. It embodies shielding the light as protection from air raids. We see which point we have reached and with what obscenity Mr. Ambrosi assimilates himself. It's inexplicable as to why his tale in this place has never been comprehensively dealt with. Alternatively, it would not have been fitting to have put him too much in the limelight. A much more subtle, fine-branched exhibition has emerged around the notions and concepts of Modernism. Because it pertains to both questions of visual representation and to meanings in historical and socio-political contexts, this project demands time from its visitors; and above all, the readiness to work. The wish is therefore definitely for elaborate, German-language mediation material. CATALOGUE Simon Starling / Superflex Reprotypes, Triangulations and Road Tests Published by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, 150 pages / English. Design: Vaguely Contemporary (Sara Hartman, John McCusker, Berlin / New York), with texts by Esther da Costa Meyer, Robin Mackay, Venugopal Maddipati, Mirjam Schaub and Birgit Schneider. TBA21 Augarten 1020 Wien, Scherzergasse 1A Tel: +43 1 513 98 56 – 24 E-mail: exhibitions@TBA21.org http://www.TBA21.org Opening hours: Daily 11-19 h, Fri 11-22 h

TBA21 Augarten
1020 Wien, Scherzergasse 1A
Tel: +43 1 513 98 56 – 24
Email: exhibitions@TBA21.org
Öffnungszeiten: Di-So 12 - 19 h

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