English summaries September 10 - 23

REED Messe Wien VIENNAFAIR The New Contemporary 20.09.2012 – 23.09.2012 Coolly-calculated sensual pleasure By Margareta Sandhofer Sergey Skatershikov, the man who now sets the tone at the VIENNAFAIR, thinks globally. In the future, good and expensive contemporary art presented at “The New Contemporary” should be exchanged for roubles as well as dollars. The majority of the Austrian gallery owners react to Skatershikov’s announcements with scepticism and mainly offer a wide range of established art. The VIENNAFAIR is not meant as a field for top-class artists or for experiments by young artists. But the VIENNAFAIR has the potential to develop - according to the wish of the ambitious Russian strategists - into a world-class event. The “Art Vectors Investment Partnership” was founded to establish an art collection with the help of annual purchases at the VIENNAFAIR worth at least one million euros. Already on the opening day, the jury set up by Edelbert Köb, put this into practice among a considerable range of galleries, respectively into 50 pieces of art. 41 Austrian and 18 German galleries represent the core group of the 122 galleries at the VIENNAFAIR. The Russian fraction was strengthened by the curators Christina Steinbrecher and Vita Zaman, and now accounts for seven galleries and the special show “Vienna Quintet”. Istanbul was maintained as the core theme with eight Turkish galleries at the VIENNAFAIR presenting well-known artists. Among them are Güslün Karamustafa who already had an exhibition at the Belvedere and Künstlerhaus-member Behrouz Heschmat. Compared to previous years, the VIENNAFAIR is now more international, hence underlining the qualities of Austrian artists including those of VALIE EXPORT (Fragmente der Bilder einer Berührung, Galerie Charim, Vienna, 80.000€), Rudolf Polanszky (Blue Hyperbolic Segment, Ancient & Modern, London, 20.000 €), Jochen Häller (Wittgenstein Generator, Mario Mauroner, Vienna, 45.000 €), to name just a few. The strategy of the new Russian team is stringent, cool and calculated. Yet the strict atmosphere (and that’s also part of the strategy) is occasionally interrupted by Austrian sensual pleasures, for example when the artist/chef René Stessl unexpectedly intervenes with his “1HR Restaurant” and serves Paprika chicken with dumplings – a particularly tasty dish. REED Messe Wien 1020 Vienna, Messezentrum Wien Neu, Halle A www.viennafair.at Opening hours: Thu 11 - 19 h; Fri 11 - 21 h; Sat 11 - 19 h, Sun 11-18 h REED Messe Wien VIENNAFAIR The New Contemporary 20.09.2012 – 23.09.2012 Wind from the East By Margareta Sandhofer A fresh wind is blowing at the VIENNAFAIR – from the East. Under the leadership of Russian investors, headed by Sergey Skatershikov and two dashing young curators, Christina Steinbrecher and Vita Zaman, the VIENNAFAIR The New Contemporary aims at attaining global significance with a straightforward marketing strategy. In numerous press conferences, the new organizers bluntly presented their concept: this is not about ethical values, but about the skillful manipulation of regarding art as merchandise and as a profitable investment. Dreamy idealists are disillusioned - educated, calculated market orientated intelligence replaced last year’s team that was driven by intellect and headed by Schöllhammer/Saxenhuber. Including the much discussed, almost lascivious and provocative poster, which has obviously reached its goal. Content-related, the VIENNAFAIR The New Contemporary will be expanded into an international collecting point, and primarily into an interface of the Eastern art scene. Turkey should no longer be the focus, but an active partner. Extending the borders of Eastern and Southeastern Europe has already taken place with the presence of seven Russian galleries as well as the so-called “Vienna Quitntet”. The ambitions of the new leadership are transgressive, in a territorial sense as well as a disciplinary sense: art and industry should be economically used as unifying vectors. To help reach this goal “Vienna Click” was created as a digital platform. As aggressive as these ambitions may sound, the appearance of the VIENNAFAIR in the Messehalle remained rather familiar. The “new” Russian art scene doesn’t really stand out from the European one, the galleries in Istanbul present well-known artists. The number of Austrian galleries was reduced to enhance internationality, but they display the expected repertoire. The Vienna Chamber of Commerce again awarded a prize for the most outstanding fair-stand design to Austrian galleries. Hubert Winter was awarded the “Established Gallery Prize” for the presentation of Fred Sandback’s work. Viktor Bucher once again narrowly missed the “Emerging Gallery Prize” which went to the co-operation between Emanuel Layr and the New York-based gallery owner Simone Subal. All in all, the quality of the artwork presented is slightly better than what was presented last year. Yet there are no sensations, and even the odor of Christian Eisenberger’s horse manure paint in Philipp Konzett’s stand didn’t last long. The new leadership of the VIENNAFAIR The New Contemporary and its progressive strategy offers both a challenge as well as a chance. REED Messe Wien 1020 Vienna, Messezentrum Wien Neu, Halle A www.viennafair.at Opening hours: Thu 11 - 19 h; Fri 11 - 21 h; Sat 11 - 19 h, Sun 11-18 h OK Offenes Kulturhaus, Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz Ars Electronica Exhibition When machines dream By Ursula Hentschläger Machines that reflect their memory, randomly mix and rearrange their data - ultimately offering results without meaning and purpose. This is the brave, new world; a world that assumes an independent existence, seemingly able to trigger emotions without any personal effort whatsoever. This is what users experience when looking at the majestically arranged three-part work in progress “Desire of Codes” by Seiko Mikami in the large cellar rooms of the Lentos Museum. Floating camera brackets – giraffe-like - stretch their sensors, capture individual faces, bodies, postures, store them and project them onto the wall. What, that’s me? But in which context? Data overlaps and suddenly the individual becomes a component of an opaque and at the same time obvious puzzle. Similar to world affairs, in which art becomes a critical comment about the present-day, explaining nothing but making everything perceptible. The flood of information glorifies the ineffable with so many statements - and in the end – it is left unspoken. Like Seiko Mikami’s work. moments overlap and in the next moment they fall into oblivion. When everyone has gone and the machine is left alone, it comes alive and reshuffles the cards. Fifty people are in an exhibition room, all motionless; only if the sensors assume a general and lively absence, does the machine have its fling. The machines acquire adulthood and display individuality. Suddenly, long forgotten terms dating back to the 1980’s force themselves upon us and the phenomenon of autopoiesis turns into an unexpected poetic act. Seiko Mikami, one of the most focused and at the same time renowned international media artists has become the first “featured artist” at the Ars Electronica 2012. Following how many years of male dominance? What a blessing to see her sensual view of technology - that is much more critical than that of her colleagues. There are two more works that will be remembered - and they, too, are characterized by silence. Both are shown in the OK, Offenes Kulturhaus, among the curated selection of the submissions to the Prix Ars Electronica “Cyberarts”. At first one finds a darkened room on the ground floor, separated through a transparent wall from the adjacent room. Beyond a certain point, sounds become audible and after a while one feels compelled to touch the wall, which suddenly no longer exists. Illuminated stage smoke creates the illusion of a wall. The sound resembles that of glass breakage. At first, only your hand dares to breach the wall, hesitantly followed by your leg and finally the entire body. In the middle of the wall – caught between the rooms in the smoke – the sound becomes the space and the self a being between the worlds. All of this has a magical charm leaving most visitors with a big smile on their face. The work „BETWEEN | YOU | AND | ME (2012) by Ake Eckardt (Germany) won the recognition prize for Digital Music & Sound Art. In the intermediate space of the OK, Julius von Bismarck’s work can be seen. It received the Collide@CERN Artists Residency Award, which was awarded for the first time. “Versuch unter Kriesen” (2012) shows swinging lamps, which then align to follow each other, and in the end draw their own circles again. From a distance they seem almost fragile, but standing beneath them they appear as massive and rather threatening objects. While the lamps never touch each other, the pools of light created by their movement overlap. This reminds painfully of different types of surveillance formats and what was at first poetically associated with scientific insights, suddenly – seen from a close distance - becomes oppressive. __ The Ars Electronica Festival is already over but the works mentioned in this article are still on display. OK – Offenes Kulturhaus :: Cyberarts 2012 :: until 6.10.2012 Lentos Kunstmuseum :: Seiko Mikami :: until 30.9.2012 Wien Museum Karlsplatz Werkbundsiedlung Wien 1932 – A Manifesto for New Living 06.09.2012 – 01.01.2013 A Failed Utopia By Susanne Rohringer The renovation of the entire housing estate was completed this summer - eighty years ago, the Werkbundsiedlung opened its gates, in what we would now call a sales exhibition, for the first time from June until August. The houses were completely furnished - obviously in an attempt to impress potential future owners or tenants. Even price lists were enclosed in the exhibition catalogue and 14 houses were sold before the exhibition closed. The remaining houses were later purchased by the City of Vienna and offered for rental. The commercial success of this classic example of Modernism in 1932 was rather meek. But the political and economic circumstances during which the Werkbundsiedlung was constructed were highly unfavorable: the stock market crash in 1929, the collapse of the Austrian Creditanstalt in 1931, the beginnings of the economic depression and the emerging threat of Fascism no longer allowed for an architectural utopia to promise a better life. At that time, one house was priced at 120.000 euros and was therefore only affordable for the upper middle class. And in 1938 some of the tenants had to hastily flee the country. The “Werkbundsiedlung”, namesake of the “Austrian Werkbund” founded in 1912, underlined handcrafted art in its individual form and was an attempt to set something against industrial mass production. During a meeting of the German Werkbund in Breslau in 1929, the president of the GESIBA (Gemeinschaftliche Siedlungs- und Baustoffeanstalt), Hermann Neubacher, Vice President Josef Hoffmann and Josef Frank agreed to go ahead with the construction of the Werkbundsiedlung. And what was absolutely unique about this decision was that each of the 70 houses was to be designed by a different architect. The project involved the “who’s who” among international and national architects, including Josef Hoffmann, Oswald Haerdtl, Gerrit Rietveld, Otto Breuer, Oskar Strnad, Adolf Loos, Walter Loos, Gabriel Guévrékian, Josef Frank, Richard Neutra, Ernst Plischke und, as the only woman, Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky. The modest footprint of the houses was characterized by a basement, two floors and a garden. Some of the houses were especially designed for couples whose children had already left home, others for single women. Guiding spirit for the realization and planning of the housing estate was the architect and designer Josef Frank and the sociologist and economist Otto Neurath. The uniqueness of the Werkbundsiedlung, among other things, was based on being able to bring together the intellectual elite that supported a liberal life style as well as progressive thinking, prior to the year in which Hitler was elected Reichskanzler and the storm descended upon Europe. One third of the Werkbundsiedlung designers were forced to leave the country or were murdered. Of the 164 people that lived in the Werkbundsiedlung in 1938, 19 were Jewish according to the Nurnberg regulations. Karl Schanzer, born 1929 and one of the former inhabitants of the housing estate, witnessed the violence of the 1930’s as a child. His mother, who was Jewish and Adolf Loos’ sister-in-law, committed suicide because she could no longer stand the Jew-baiting, leaving Karl and his sister up for adoption - enabling them to emigrate to Australia. In 1941, Karl Schanzer arrived in New York. The rest of his family survived. The aryanisation of house number 46 was completed in April 1941. (House 45/46 Jacques Groag). One would have hoped for more details about the fate of the inhabitants as well as the architects and designers - this would have, at least partially, led to a different exhibition. The presentation at the Wien Museum primarily deals with the exhibition in 1932 and the organizers reconstructed what was marveled at in those summer months. Furthermore, the Wien Museum shows an architectural model of the Werkbundsiedlung, which, for the first time, offers a birds-eye view of the entire location. Wien Museum Karlsplatz 1040 Vienna, Karlsplatz Tel: +43 1 5058747-0 Fax: +43 1 5058747-7201 www.wienmuseum.at Opening hours: Tue - Sun 10.00-18.00 hours

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