English summaries October 8 - 22

WAGNER:WERK Museum Postsparkasse der BAWAG P.S.K Dansk møbel design 02.10.2012 - 17.11.2012 Arne's magic world By Iris Meder In the beginning was Myren, the ant. Myren was born in 1951with three legs and a high, slim waist. Then, besides the various comrades along the way such as the Hammer Shark, Grand Prix and the Lilly, the legendary series 7 followed. And then, Svanen the swan, and Aegget the egg. The question whether egg or swan came first doesn't arise – both lived together in a glass castle in Copenhagen. Designs with names reminiscent of figures in Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales are so perfect and timeless that, although they were created in the 1950's, were not perceived as 50's design. That's perhaps the greatest strength that they share with furniture by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuer: simultaneously to be essential products of their time of origin and completely timeless design denouements. Arne Jacobsen, mainly known as a designer outside of Denmark, but in reality an architect, is the glamorous star of the Scandinavian Modernism with his combination of organically soft and stereometric clear structures, his furniture an all-time standard which is particularly en vogue again now. The exhibition of his furniture created for the manufacturer Fritz Hansen, and exhibited in the cash hall of the PSK, couples him with another Danish star: Poul Kjaerholm, the Dieter Rams of the Scandinavians. Ultimate reduction characterizes his designs, which are succinct, beautiful and, in their reduction, as complex as Haikus. They have perfect proportions and are characterized by first-class workmanship: brushed matt steel, leather and wickerwork. For example, chair PK22, lounger PK24 and leather lounger PK80. Animal names? Kjaerholm never used any. Which king's son shall now be given preference, Arne's magical swan or Poul's dematerialized PK22? It's a pity that the furniture, which is presented within the framework of the Design Week, and which can be bought through top-class retailers, is not allowed to be touched and is presented on shelves and labelled as “intangible”. Even to princes, everyday life comes after the happy end. WAGNER:WERK Museum Postsparkasse der BAWAG P.S.K. 1018 Vienna, Georg-Coch-Platz 2 www.ottowagner.com Opening hours: Mon-Wed, Fri 8-15, Thu 8-17:30, Sat 10-17 hours Kunstverein Medienturm Realness Respect 29.09.12 – 7.12.12 Concrete, sharp-edged, uncomfortable By Nora Theiss The Steirische Herbst (Styrian Autumn) is rather unwieldy this year; and just as unwieldy are its exhibitions. No comfort zones, and no complaisance are offered, just concreteness, sharp-edged topics, and at times even uncomfortableness. Franz Erhard Walther’s concept of his “1. Werksatz” is the central element of the group exhibition in the Kunstverein Medienturm. Presented are Walther’s drawings on how to use the “Werksatz”, which, alone through its materiality, is a huge contrast to the other works presented at the exhibition. In general, much performative art is shown in the “Realness Respect” exhibition. A performance is limited in time and cannot be repeated, one has to be present to see and experience it; and all of this becomes very clear in Santiago Sierra’s work. For a long-term visual experience one can always revert to the video recording and the possibility of repeated replay. The utensils of the performance stand around in the gallery like dumb witnesses, and with a bit of luck, tell their own stories and don't let themselves be reduced to just a flash of a unique performance. A good example is Carola Dertnig’s work – in her performance “Hier ist Platz”, which is based on Alexander Rodchenko’s design dating back to 1920, the artist constructed a mobile worker’s stand. The black-and-white work immediately sparks the association to Kazimir Malevich’s “Black Square” and the performance utensil becomes a piece of art in itself – likewise the traces that remained of Christian Falsnae’s interactive opening performance. Claire Fontaine offers an unsettling presentation of street-fighting techniques in the video “Situations”. The video, which reminds of a TV cooking show, presents self-defence pedagogy using everyday objects that are all characterized by a martial component and awaken a sense of discomfort. The video makes it clear how thin the border between defence and attack is. Concrete actions, concrete thinking, with a penchant towards radicalisation, all of these art trends can be found here in an unpretentious manner. Kunstverein Medienturm 8020 Graz, Josefigasse 1 Tel: +43 1 316 740 084 Fax: +43 1 316 740 084 www.medienturm.at Opening hours: Thu, Fri 16 – 19 hours, Sat, Sun 11 – 14 hours, and by appointment Galerie Ropac Halle Michael Sailstorfer – Solarcat 31.08.12 – 22.12. 12 On top By Stephan Maier They haven’t meowed, purred, or hissed for a long time; and one hardly expects them to suddenly and fearlessly plunge into the depths: these 15 cats that have been banned onto a five-meter high pillar by the young Berlin-born star Michael Sailstorfer. “Solarcat” is the name of the show that could be described as an early retrospective exhibition. Nearly everything that one has learned to love during the course of the steep upward career of one of the sculptors of the 00s, is shown in Thaddeus Ropac’s gallery hall: the tyre, tediously and senselessly struggling against the wall, the popcorn machine, incessantly producing as if it were out of its mind and, as a side effect, filling the space with the fragrance of sweet corn, the humming reactor or the video “Lohma” (2008), showing the last seconds of a hut prior to its explosion – taken ad absurdum with a loop-like forward- and backward recording. Sailstorfer’s constellations are actually ensouled human-machines playing with the moment of transformation and placing it into the technical image of an everyday experimental set up. Even the cats, positioned above the happening on the “ground floor”, mark this transformation. In an obviously enlightened refined level of artistic development the topic of transformation is raised towards a poetic high-level of abstraction: as a possibility. In an allegoric sense, “animals in art” always also relate to the artist. Without digging too far into art history, cats were always considered as the most autonomous creatures in the animal world. And the artist, as a temporary “stylite” who can be called upon at anytime from the heights above - is he a bucking socialite or a house cat, who shows his sharp claws only when in danger or if he can make a catch? But maybe this image shouldn’t be pushed too far… Galerie Ropac Halle 5020 Salzburg, Vilniusstrasse 13 ropac.net Startgalerie im MUSA Desislava Unger – Landed on a tree 11.10.2012 - 08.11.2012 From the wooden board to the panel painting By Wolfgang Pichler Upon entering the gallery, one is already aware of the refreshing reduction to rather few, but nevertheless very appealing works. The large format pictures composed of several smaller beech wood panels are striking, not only because of their unusual materiality but also because of the harmonious composition. It is most unusual for woodcarvings, such as those presented here, to be printed on wood and also have the supporting material still visible as a background. And even more, it's also a very subtle way to make the material that is responsible for the extremely individual manifestation of this technique visible to the observer. That the artist, born in Sofia in 1980, retains her landscapes in only a few, very carefully chosen colours can also be accounted for by the technique of the woodprint. Because there is usually no large-format printing press available, the fragmentation of the pictures in individual panels is a technical necessity. These are very cleverly emphasized by the uneven wall mountings and presented as a design element. It's also certainly no coincidence that by implementing such a conscious handling of the woodcarving technique that one of the works, which shows a water surface is reminiscent of the famous Hokusai pictures. The panels are softened by means of collaged or sewn elements, which, however, don't change the overall character. Reference can be made to the materials used when one looks very subtly into the romantic themes such as trees, water and landscapes – or simply take pleasure in the appealing optic devoid of mawkishness. It is interesting that Desislava Ungar is also exhibiting wonderful 30 x 30 cm small drawings in pastel tones because again here, the very able and minimalistic handling of the completely different material is also demonstrated. Startgalerie im MUSA 1010 Vienna, Felderstraße 6-8, next to the Town Hall Tel: +43 (0)1 4000 8400 E-mail: musa@musa.at www.musa.at/startgalerie Opening hours: Tue, Wed, Fri: 11:00 - 18:00; Thu 11:00 - 20:00; Sat 11:00 - 16:00 hours

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