English summaries March 11 - 24

Bank Austria Kunstforum Meret Oppenheim 21.03.2013 – 14.07.2013 The World of Meret Oppenheim By Angelica Bäumer There is no classification or attribution, no special spirit of the age that one can number Meret Oppenheim (1913-1985) amongst. In her art and in her way, she is so individual that her many artistic companions and the professional writers in the art world had (and have) difficulty in defining or approaching her endless, eclectic work. Actually, she was not everything – neither surrealist, nor new objective, neither sculptress nor an objet-trouvé artist, also not a painter and graphic artist, but above all, she was something of everything. She used curiously formed branches for a poetic coloration of "People Who Leave", a broken-off brick becomes a motorbike that feels the "Pain of the City". An exhaust pipe becomes a "Termite Queen" with red eyes; she builds a "Recliner Chair for a Businessman" and paints "The Eyes of the Mona Lisa", but also quite romantic landscapes. She was at the centre of the artistic happenings of the late 1920's and early 1930's and especially the years after 1945. She knew everyone, Man Ray who photographed her wonderfully, Max Ernst, with whom she had a love affair, André Breton, the godfather of the surrealists, Alberto Giacometti, Hans Arp and – naturally – Pablo Picasso. But none of them had any influence over her artistic development. Mental stimulation is more important for her and her very own creativity, her pleasure in experimenting and letting her ideas grow. She wants to, and has to, find her own form, and she deploys an almost passionate search for freedom in life and thought. Meret Oppenheim is German – through her father – and Swiss – through her mother and from both sides, she inherited the longing for clear order and precision in thinking and handling. Added to that came the preoccupation with C.G. Jung who deepened and increased her sensibility. Dreams and visions accompany her life just as her art does. Dreams that lend themselves to "giving direction to everyday life. One can say that her work is equally fed by real life and by the dream reality, that she is frenetically and literally open to the discovery which then 'as in a dream' changes into a taunting, snazzy, puzzling, exposed, shocking, aggressive object. He who doesn't notice the radical nature of the process, speaks about casual art. But also, arguably, “because a woman is at work", writes Ruth Henry, friend and art critic. And Meret Oppenheim herself says: "In the mental realm, there's no difference between man and woman, the difference exists only in the animalistic – because the mind is androgynous." Famous is the fur cup, the table with birds' feet, the bicycle saddle with bees, the stone woman and perhaps the one or the other picture or object. But in particular, she herself is the object that one knows even if one has only seen her once. The talk is of her appearance, tall, slim, an upright carriage and an open expression. It was a pleasure to talk to her, she didn't join the usual gossip of the scene, she kept her distance from the chatterboxes and know-alls, and she remained – in spite of numerous friendships – the great loner, very cognisant and stylishly groomed. As in her art, she kept to no continuously mannered style and although she always maintained contact with the major artists of her time, she never matched herself to any of them or included them in her repertoire; she remained true to herself. Her pertinacity, her own thought and art language, were far more than a phenomenon of the time with a sell-by date; on the contrary: she is still very topical. That can be pleasurably experienced in the exhibition (and in the excellent catalogue). Bank Austria Kunstforum 1010 Vienna, Freyung 8 Tel: +43 1 537 33 26 E-mail: office@bankaustria-kunstforum.at www.bankaustria-kunstforum.at Opening hours: Mon-Sun 10.00-18.00 hours, Fri 10.00 - 21.00 hours Startgalerie im MUSA Theresa Eipeldauer – Errata 01.03.2013 – 28.03.2013 Shadows on the wall By Wolfang Pichler The date on the invitation was a joke – I discovered that the 29th of February 2013 does not exist and immediately presented the folder to the person sitting across from me. She, more intelligent than me, and less focused on the date, laughs out loud and says “the title – that's what's really original”. Only then did I read the title and begin to understand. And the same thing happens in the exhibition: only a closer look reveals that the displayed objects, such as the serigraph on transparent foil, turn out to be what they actually are. An object leaning lightly against the wall, about 2 meters in height, turns out to be a massive concrete object. It is definitely the most impressive element in the exhibition. Its materiality corresponds with the form, reminding of classic industry buildings with saw-tooth roofs. The gray, rough, cool surface is, in a way, the visual fundamental theme of the presented objects. Gray, in all its variations, is dominant and the selected artificial materials remind of avant-garde art of western cities of the late 20th century. One is spontaneously reminded of Kraftwerk and harem pants, of vernissages in chic lofts and adventurously gelled hairdos. That the whole thing turns out to be a harmonious entity and does not appear like a retro event, is due to its fine poetics. This becomes especially clear in the stringent geometrical pencil drawings that remind of a withered dandelion. 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 Opening hours: Tue, Wed, Fri: 11:00 - 18:00; Thu 11:00 - 20:00; Sat11:00 - 16:00 hours mumok Museum moderner Kunst Franz West. Where is my eight? 23.02.2013 – 26.05.2013 Divan and interior By Daniela Gregori Of course it would have been nicer, after having taken off my shoes to rest on the bench, to be served a glass of curaçao every hour, and test what the color feeling would be like after having enjoyed a bottle. But that will unfortunately not be possible because the instruction for the instruction prevents it. Therefore the arrangement consisting of a low pedestal, similar to a studio floor, a bench as well as a stand with a UFO-like structure including glasses and a dispenser for the blue drink, remains untapped. Would it have been different if Franz West was still alive? Definitely not. But this may only have actuarial reasons. In general, West’s work is participatory, it demands a dialogue with the recipients and their reactions become part of the art work. Everything but pathos, no theses and postulations, let alone an indoctrination of the viewer was the artist’s principle; otherwise everything could easily be completely different. The dilemma on how to deal with West’s untapped (Passstücke) Adaptives in a museum context does not become clear before the 1980s. Before then, they were merely viewed by West’s private entourage. In his early exhibitions, they leaned against the wall with the expressive invitation to use them, then the classic form of presentation, the pedestal, was transformed to a repository, later the oeuvre changed in the direction of a “legitimate sculpture” made of papier-mâché, and the furniture soon followed. Seveal museum copies were produced for this exhibition. The balancing act between a “play-along-exhibition” and conservation is definitely successful. The exhibition “Where is my Eight” was still conceptualized by Franz West, and the first selection of works was undertaken together with Ines Turian - and now the exhibition is his first posthumous presentation. It focuses on works that comprise numerous artefacts, also by other authors. Already during his lifetime, combination and recombination was a popular style method to give the objects a lapidary significance - and now this turns out to be a clever concept for an exhibition with a claim to be a retrospective. These arrangements encompass, apropos of nothing, the entire breadth of West’s oeuvre and the collaborations with other colleagues. West described himself as a “Befindlichkeitshersteller” (sensitivity producer): along these lines, the exhibition can be considered to be successful, one enjoys it buoyantly and joyfully - even without curaçao. mumok Museum moderner Kunst 1070 Vienna, MuseumsQuartier, Museumsplatz 1 Tel: +43 1 52 500 Fax: +43 1 52 500 13 00 email: info@mumok.at www.mumok.at Opening hours: Daily: 10.00–18.00 hours, Thu: 10.00–21.00 hours Schauraum Angewandte Peter Weibel & Renate Quehenberger: Quantum Cinema – A Digital Vision 18.01.2013 to 17.03.2013 Start into the dimension of dynamic geometry By Roland Schöny How quickly we turn on our GPS when requirements for geographical orientation gain the upper hand! A trivial everyday action! Surely! But it illustrates two things: for one it proves how fast formerly seemingly utopian topics of the digital revolution, such as the dissolution of boundaries of traditional spatial perception – is succeeded by the pragmatism of conditioned user behavior in the real online society. And secondly it becomes evident that common topographical illustrations offered by digital maps are meant rather as forms of visual consensus aimed at communication rather than long-term valid models of space. And what happens if an artist – according to Duchamp – believes that art should not allow science to have the last word. A research project could develop. Such a project was realized by Renate Quehenberger under the leadership of Peter Weibel at the University for Applied Arts. Since 2010, the project “Quantum Cinema – A Digital Vision” attempted to transfer pure abstract algebraic descriptions of higher mathematics in quantum physics as 3D-animated dynamic geometry in film sequences using the tools of digital art. The target was to create visually and cognitively apprehensible access to the so-called additional dimension (D>3). With the participation of scientists from the areas of anthropology, experimental quantum physics and mathematics, the media design/digital art students Nikola Tasic and Kathrin Stumreich, Art and Science student Rudi Friemel, CAD and animation designer Christian Magnes and the mathematical counselor Hans Katzgraber created a unique film animation. The successful result is displayed as the main part of a multimedia installation in the Schauraum Angewandte in Vienna’s MuseumsQuartier. It was curated by Ruth Schnell, head of the Department of Digital Art at the University of Applied Arts and Wolfgang Fiel, who teaches at the same university. It is the attempt to integrate the public as the third significant dimension in a particularly exciting project in the intersection of art and science. In order to strengthen the communicative field, a more extensive form of mediation, possibly with references to historical phases of visualizing multidimensionality, would have been helpful. But we live in a digital era: on the website of the project “Quantum Cinema” its initiator still has the opportunity to add complementary materials to this breathtaking attempt. Visitors to the MuseumsQuartier are advised to persevere where the real space folds out into the virtual of further dimensions. Schauraum Angewandte 1070 Vienna, Museumsquartier, quartier21, (Electric Avenue) www.dienagewandte.at Opening hours: daily from 10.00 to 22.00 hours

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