English summaries September 16 - 30

Galerie Meyer Kainer, Büro Weltausstellung Heimo Zobernig 04.09.2013 to 05.10.2013 The exertions of austerity By Margareta Sandhofer Heimo Zobernig has again presented us with a task. Up to now, he has always demanded mental agility in the reception of his works, but this time considerably more sharply. Zobernig is exhibiting a current series of paintings at Meyer Kainer, all 1 x 1 square metre, acrylic on canvas. The only familiar thing in this Zobernig exhibition is the title of the works "o.T." (= Untitled) everything else is, at least for the Viennese scene, amazing. Heimo Zobernig "normally" practices (practiced) conceptual displacements in painting, sculpture, installation, video and performance, which furnish the presented object and the presentation of the object with the same aspiration. The basis is the artwork, the staging of the artistic act; the exhibition is the stage is the artwork. Zobernig urges intellectual play with the conceptualization of sculpture, painting and architecture, which becomes spatially, figuratively and “notationally” manifest and is elusive. What has just announced itself in one example in the closed Zobernig solo exhibit in the Kunsthaus Graz is now present in a more developed stage in Vienna. The sovereignty of the exhibition room as a White Cube is not being intervened; colourful, diverse painted pictures are hung in conventional manner, suitable for the salon, as it were, virtually provocatively acceptable even for staid tastes. The hermetic, to date excessive, Zobernig nimbus is undermined, the admirers are bewildered. At least in the concurrent exhibition in Stefan Bidner's Büro Weltausstellung, the familiar Zobernig image remains intact. One entrance is barred with an untreated pressboard. It's the citation of an intervention already presented by Stefan Bidner in 1993 in Innsbruck. Zobernig has currently created the corresponding archival intention from Bidner's foundation in a 13-part edition: almost consistently monochrome quadratic pictures; white distemper is put on with a paint roller, colouring agents are unadorned, already used pressboards, relics of the first plinths defined as an art objects in Zobernig's oeuvre. The works are precisely arranged and clearly signed and dated. As incompatible as the two concurrent exhibitions may seem, they are two poles of painting, temporary stations of possible developments. References to art history phenomena occur in both. In Bidner' Büro Weltausstellung, it is strategic reflections on minimalistic and conceptual tendencies, such as those presented by Yves Klein, respectively Robert Barry or the Arte Povera. The Spartan aesthetic of the radical reduction opens up possibly an even more complex space for critical or ironic interpretation. Here, sober austerity is brittle elegance – there, the decorative picture with abstract narration. The bow is rather taut. But Zobernig succeeds in identifying himself with both symptoms with (ironic) ease and to represent them equally in a idiosyncratic, heterogeneous, solipsistic position – and appears to get great satisfaction out of newly revoking the classification in his/a scheme and in straining the judgement of the Viennese public. Galerie Meyer Kainer 1010 Vienna, Eschenbachgasse 9 Tel: +43 1 585 72 77 Fax: +43 1 585 75 39 E-mail: contact@meyerkainer.com www.meyerkainer.com Opening hours: Tue-Fri 11-18, Sat 11-15 hours Büro Weltausstellung 1020 Vienna, Praterstraße 42 / Stiege 1 / Mezzanin Tel: +43 6764302191 Fax: – E-mail: www.artfoundation.at Opening hours: Mon-Fri 14-18 hours The View. Contemporary Art Space Yves Netzhammer – Old hiding places in new spaces 07.07.2013 to 06.10.2013 With Yves in the bunker By Thorsten Schneider Military dugout, water reservoir, civil defence bunker. The need for security creates many spaces whose function it is to offer protection in a state of emergency. Mostly, these remain unused in the hope that, although they are to hand, they will never be used. But in the small Swiss village of Salenstein – not far from the Bodensee – it's different. Known for his computer-generated video installations and living in Zurich, Yves Netzhammer shows his exhibition in The View. Contemporary Art Space: "Old hiding places in new spaces". The exhibition's title is the program. In the local fire station, the descent begins into a secret, eerie world. Enticing red, wooden steps lead in from the outside. Half way up the stairs, a floor mirror creates an aesthetic threshold. A glance inside and one loses oneself in shoals interspersed with balls of wool, scissors and knives. One suspects the unfathomable. Inside the civil defence bunker, sterile functionality paired with constructions made of chicken wire, await one. One room is a cage; next to the bunker beds you can watch the film "Dialogischer Abrieb" (2011). A computer-animated scenario shows human-like dummies in absurd situations. Blind, deaf and dumb they collide and die like lemmings. With his trial rows of anonymous, aesthetic cruelties, Netzhammer impressively showcases failure and its transformations. In the next room, the visitor himself steps into such a course. In flickering strobe light and threatening spherical sound, we find ourselves between measuring instruments, strings, blown up buckets and two lavatories, invited to recognize the dummies in ourselves. We run the risk of turning into a lemming. Outside, the bus for the water reservoir is waiting. Vases, little heaps of stones and hand prints in atmospheric light remind of a cult site and pre-empt the implied treasure hunt in the film "Vororte des Körpers" (2012) which is shown in the adjoining room. Here, too, Netzhammer brings his dummies into unforeseen situations; sometimes into an upside down world, sometimes into a torturous game of deception. In front of the military dugout, the last station, there is a bench by the wayside. Somehow oddly abstract. Its wood has been deformed into a dynamic sculpture. Beside it, a damp, dripping entry leads into the dugout. An antiquated night table, a bulb – dead end. Then a junction. Finally, a sick bay. An embroidered shroud shows a body, mutilated, amputated. Behind that, the third film "Formales Gewissen" (2013) Content-related to that previously seen: knives, cuts, meat, blood. Again, paper and park benches. When one goes out into the open, the abstract bench is still in its place. But after the experience inside, it appears to be in a changed light. Fiction and fact appear distorted. Netzhammer takes us on a mysterious odyssey to these special places with his film fragments and installations whose manifold meanings are not easily deciphered. Ideas and questions remain. It's exactly the playful easiness of what is shown which distracts and yet challenges us. The View. Contemporary Art Space 8268 Salenstein, Fruthwilerstrasse 14 Tel: +41 71 669 19 93 E-mail: info@the-view-ch.com www.the-view.ch.com Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland Cleopatra. The eternal diva 28.06.2013 - 06.10.2013 Projection figure through the centuries By Roland Groß "You remember me?" - Michael Jackson's dance rhythms to the eponymous song title, and the dynamic MTV clip in the pharaoh's outfit, go straight into your legs you via earphones – even in the ambience of the Bonner Bundskunsthalle. Not far from Jacko is the pop icon, Madonna, on a photo from the Super Bowl 2012 in ancient Egyptian attire. No question, the legend lives on right into the audio-visual worlds of the present. Art history's mythical primordial mother of all divas, not so far removed mentally from the other two stands at the centre of an opulent exhibition: "Cleopatra, the eternal diva". Baroque snake bite fantasies by artists such as Guido Reni, Artemisia Gentileschi or Guido Cagnacci, Tiepolo and Jan Steen, up to Andy Warhol's "Blue Liz as Cleopatra" from 1962 have also been brought together here. In his large format, the pop artist displays the blue-toned Cleopatra head of a Liz Taylor photo: the famous Warhol mixture of clear and diffuse contours of repetition is attuned to the aesthetic search for traces of the Bonn exhibition's concepts of the most famous unknown one in world history. An exciting round of the exhibition begins with the meter-high replication of the southern exterior wall of the Hathor temple by Dendera and Andy Warhol's adaption, which enhances the invocation of poses and gestures in the mind of the visitor in ever-changing media and epochs: from the historic figure, to the visual arts, the costume design, the film and advertising right up to the spheres of the music video. Because here, it shouldn't pertain at all to the repeated dealing with the Pharaos' gold or to archaeological knowledge, because the facts about the last Egyptian ruler, Cleopatra VII (69–30 BC) during the era of Mark Antony and Caesar is, and remains, rather sparse. Whereby, at this historic point, with the definitive end of Egypt and in parallel, the beginning of the ascendancy of the Roman Empire, another myth is introduced: the founding myth of European history. Alongside, a controversial threesome connects the figure of a Cleopatra of African origin – science argues tenaciously about a dark-skinned Cleopatra - Greek-Roman history and Western reception. Looking back at comparable analyses of Bonn exhibitions of Genghis Khan, Karl V and Napoleon, it can be said that apparently, charismatic figures go hand in hand with founding myths. The two exhibition presenters, Elisabeth Bronfen and Agnieszka Lulinska, focus the reception story on the creation of a myth before the background of the question: which needs does the respective epoch reveal its Cleopatra picture through the special design? Above all, the European reception story, and not only that of the Cleopatra cultivation, verifies the phenomena of the "beautiful dead woman", which Elisabeth Bronfen had already accepted scientifically. Precisely the dead Cleopatra becomes a mythical symbol system, an obtainable construction set which is also suitable as a projection surface for female power fantasies and for erotic role examples. Completely in keeping with the spirit of the Baroque age, the image motif of Cleopatra – who, in a fit of luxury dissolves a pearl in vinegar for her cocktail (it really functions) – is tied up with an extremely lavish life with the most vanitas tumble into death. Michelangelo's Renaissance drawing in the age of reincarnation of the antique creates a Cleopatra outfit in all’antica look. In Napoleonic times and following the Egyptian campaigns, the femme orientale became a femme fatale which, as a converted outlet for passion, stands in opposition to the socially-approved feminine ideal of 1800. And so, not only in the Baroque, one creates action-packed picture scenes with (phallic) snake bites and bare breasts out of the never completely clearly explained Cleopatra death. Playing with the identities at the beginning of motion pictures, especially during the silent film era, is reminiscent of a kind of mimic costume hire: the battery of pretentious theatre and film photos appears extremely revealing, not less the compilation of legendary film scenes. Incidentally, the "Jazz Cleopatra", Josephine Baker, was instrumental in implementing the Cleopatra legend against racism in the USA. In his little collection of pictures, Liebig's meat extract drew the last drop of commercialization out of the Lady of the Nile. In 1962, in association with the film with Liz Taylor, the cosmetic firm Revlon propagated "The New Cleopatra Look", photographed by Richard Avedon – with the text line: "If looks can kill this one will". And Shakespeare comes to the point in "Antony and Cleopatra: "Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety". And curtain. Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland 53113 Bonn, Museumsmeile, Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 4 www.kah-bonn.de Opening hours: Sun, Mon, Thu 9-19, Tue, Wed 9-21, Fri, Sat 9-22 hours Duesseldorf catches up By Stefan Kobel The Fifth DC Open The joint gallery weekend in Düsseldorf and Cologne took place for the fifth time this year and has thereby almost become tradition. Meanwhile, it appears that it has also been accepted that the charisma of the DC Open hardly extends beyond the region. This has the advantage that not all energy is invested in the marketing hype and event rigmarole, but is concentrated on gallery work. The result is good. 23 participants from the low Rhine region and 31 from Cologne. In Düsseldorf, almost every serious gallery is taking part – Sies & Höke even three times. Amongst others, the TZR Gallery is showing new works by the Frenchman, Pascal Dombis. On the other hand, rather old-fashioned paintings are presented by Linn Lühn in Flingern, e.g. by Christoph Schellenberg, Schönewald and Beuse offer new (and expensive) works by Karin Kneffe. In Cologne, the field of participants is somewhat thinner. This isn't due to internal quarrels, which have accompanied the event almost from the beginning but may have something to do with the precarious financial situation with which many of the younger colleagues have to contend. One of the few newcomers in Cologne is the Galerie Drei, which has moved into a new space in the not so well frequented Mauritius Quarter. Here, it is presenting works by Ann Cathrin November Høibo. Only a few steps further on, in the Figge gallery, works by the Mexican artist Jose Dávila are shown. Whilst collectors normally extend the boundaries of spaces allocated to them for their works, Alexander Gorlizki furnishes them. The originally planned model wallpaper background for his colourful drawings and sculptures in the Galerie Martin Kudlek, appeals so much to the visitors that a larger production is being considered. All exhibitions run at least until the beginning of October. www.dc-open.de

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