English summaries December 9 - January 10

Secession Sarah Lucas – NOB + Gelatin 23.11.2013 – 19.01.2014 The invention of the “ladies joke” By Nina Schedlmayer Meat grinder, throbbing cartilage or brown milliner: in her book “nob”, Sarah Lucas collects synonyms for the term “phallus”, and next to each she positioned a black-and-white photo of her work using a live model. She used the cast of her boyfriend’s erected penis and presented it here in great detail (and this has less to do with eroticism than with handicraft). The book was published on the occasion of Lucas’ exhibition in the Secession, which predominantly focuses on a male’s “best part”. Two gigantic bronze pumpkins, showing a distorted mirror image of the main room of Olbrich’s construction, refer to vegetable cultivation competitions in Great Britain – and, similar to everywhere on the globe, the winner is also the one, haha, “with the largest one”. On a monumental T-shirt, nipples peep out of holes cut into the shirt for exactly this purpose, and two huge concrete dildos are on the sides (one pointing to the floor and one to the sky) placed on bases made of compressed car wrecks à la Arman. In the back area, four chickens are getting comfortable in the coop – they were contributed by Gelatine (in other words one chicken for every Gelatin boy). Yes, it’s all quite amusing, the chicks and the members, the nipples and the vegetables, the up and down of the dildos; and the staging of the room was also quite well done, something that doesn't apply for every exhibition here. And of course this is Lucas’ response to the century-long underrepresentation of male sexuality in art, what many have done before her, but why not. Now the artist is trying to developing something like a counterpart to male jokes, and maybe that’s the summit of emancipation – but it remains unclear how ironically she deals with the, lets temporarily call it “ladies joke”. After all: pumpkins and penises, nobody can really take this type of snide humour seriously. Secession 1010 Vienna, Friedrichstrasse 12 Tel: +43 1 587 53 08 Fax: +43 1 587 53 07 – 34 www.secession.at Opening hours: Tue – Sat 10.00 – 18.00 hours, Sun 10.00 – 16.00 hours Kunstraum Lakeside LA Raeven – Ideal Individuals 29.11.2013 – 17.01.2014 Pathology without pathos By Daniela Gregori You almost don't want to listen: "Liesbeth...! Liesbeth...!" echoes incessantly and desperately through empty corridors and stairwells. A young woman with hip problems and on crutches, and dressed in hospital garb, drags herself painfully along through Kafkaesque escape routes. The supplications become ever more emphatic, but the person being called, the elegantly dressed likeness of the patient, does not appear to react, she withdraws, uses an elevator. The nightmarish sequence again mirrors as some of the films, performances and actions of the sisters, Liesbeth und Angelique Raeven, the often difficult, symbiotic relationship between identical twins. One exists in two bodies, without the other one feels incomplete and incapable of leading normal existence. In addition, the two Dutch girls born in 1971, who operate quasi as one under the name L.A. Raeven, are marked by eating disorders, and in the end, weigh together as much as one person. Both, life as a twin and life with anorexia is thematised in their work. Within the semester theme of "controlled body", the Klagenfurt Kunstsraum Lakeside dedicates a presentation to both artists with "Ideal Individuals". What curious casting is to be seen here. Via internet, the local press advertises for: women 1.70m in height, flat-breasted, with staggering body measurements, at least with one physical handicap, loss of hair and unusual eating and drinking habits – altogether characteristics corresponding to those of the two Dutch artists, Liesbeth und Angelique Raeven. For her "Ideal Army", L.A.Raeven is looking for the likes of herself and every single one, dressed in uniform underwear, surveyed in a documented video, is selected and sent to wait in a bare room. All of this is the storyline. A procedure as unspectacular as it is unglamorous and yet there doesn't seem to be a shortage of women or of furious critics. When the advertisement entitled "Ideal Individual" appeared in the English Guardian over a decade ago, one hesitated to publish it. It was considered to be contrary to any equality laws. All the same, the exhibiting institution could not complain about a lack of interested persons or visitors. One can't claim that L.A.Raeven accuse, criticise or analyse with their absolutely pathos-free works. They present things for disposal and discussion, above all things their emaciated bodies. The measurements, the classification and selection, the fastidious apportioning and control of the nutriments and their intake may seem, amongst other, shocking. "This is not me" – the so-titled shop window beauty with the ideal measurements then turns out to be not quite so perfect and presents her infirmity at a second glance: the spine is bent, one hip has to be pinned like Angelique’s, who, in the postoperative dreams, looks continuously for her sister in the empty corridors on the clinic: "Liesbeth...! Liesbeth...!" In reality, a certain suppression mechanism belongs to the clinical picture in the context of the sufferers, and possibly, it's easier to have a look and to listen in the artistic context. Kunstraum Lakeside 9020 Klagenfurt, Lakeside B01 Tel: +43-463-22 88 22 11 Fax: +43-463-22 88 22 10 www.lakeside-kunstraum.at Neue Galerie Graz Günter Brus – Franz Graf: In contre-jour 19.09.2013 – 09.02.2014 Enlightening discourse By Margareta Sandhofer Günter Brus and Franz Graf, two distinct artistic personalities in Austrian contemporary art, are both considered to be great artists with unmistakable styles. The real intention of the Joanneum director, Peter Pakesch and curator, Roman Grabner, to initiate collaboration between Günter Brus and Franz Graf, was unfortunately not able to be realised due to extenuating circumstances. But perhaps this constellation was exactly the determining factor for the stimulating result. A cross-section of the work of Günter Brus is thematically divided, which Franz Graf penetrates with very new works. He stretches his paintings with figural, scriptoral or ornamental portrayals in scaffolding tubes or discarded fitness machines. They occupy the room with gloomy significance and stand on the walls as complementary foils to the historical exhibits of Brus, his drawings, early informal paintings, photos of his actions and the "picture poems". In this collaboration, no heterogeneous accords developed within individual works, but rather a vibrant discourse. In the intensive opposition of both the artistic positions, a sort of dialogue developed. With Brus' "Purposeful Sketch", it leads almost allegorically into the exhibition, establishes itself on the ascending terrain of the narrow corridor together with Brus’ oil crayon drawings, right up to the top of the central installation by Franz Graf, the pink "Body Machine" sets a powerful counterpoint. At first, these discarded fitness machines irritate, they perturb and then reveal themselves as a concentration of arguments from Brus' surrounding drawings, collected in their body-like presence. They embody exertion, sexuality, violence and injury, and touch the inevitable - such as death - and the unfathomable. Both artists reveal a sentiment in their works which touches existential borders. The exhibition develops like a noncommittal conversation oscillating between statements. Answer or contra-statement, together with theme change and halt – an artistic trade-off. In this dialogue situation, Graf's interventions appear like energetic centres in which those of Brus' invoked thematic are bundled, expanded and very personally intensified, addressed to the observer; sometimes aggressive, sometimes taken back, introverted and sensitive, and also somewhat sentimental. The strength of Brus' works is memorable, the installations by Franz Graf not less, his sensitive, reflective dealings with the work of the elder man incomparable, full of respect and without competition, without hierarchy. The individual structure is the benchmark of both artists. At all events, the hanging and assembly is successful, the work of the one artist recharges the work of the other one. The liberated resonance pervades the entire room so that a many-faceted, sensitive field with a great dynamic develops. Neue Galerie Graz 8010 Graz, Joanneumsviertel Tel: +43 316 8017-0 E-mail: joanneumsviertel@museum-joanneum.at www.neuegalerie.at Opening hours: Tue-Sun 10.00 – 18.00 hours Grazer Kunstverein Josef Bauer – Works 1965 – 2005 07.12.2013 – 23.02.2014 Neck support and fitting piece By Nina Schedlmayer Birgit Jürgenssen, Helga Philipp, Florentina Pakosta, Martha Jungwirth: The rediscovering of artists to whom due attention was never given has become almost a sporty discipline during the past years. And rightly so. But the rediscovery of the work of male artists has been given rather less attention. Exceptions confirm the rule: The Grazer Kunstverein is currently exhibiting the works of Josef Bauer since 1965 (and in addition, the Museum Angerlehner is currently also presenting his works). Perhaps one doesn't anticipate anything really great when one enters the first room; the letters "ORT", cast in iron and weighing 80 kg, are lying in front of a step. Well. But a few steps further on, it's really amazing: on a photo from 1967, a somewhat stout young man poses with a "neck support" – it's an amorphous thing that he's putting around his shoulders. Franz West's "Passstücke” (Fitting Pieces) are not far away, although admittedly created a few years later. Further back, you see Bauer himself on a photo with letters growing from a long batten, fighting – and reminiscent of Erwin Wurm's One Minute Sculptures, but these are also created much later. And it becomes even more sensational: a table with a place setting – but the fork is printed as a photo, completed by a real spoon and the lettering "knife" Joseph Kosuth sends greetings, just like the installation in which Bauer presents a stone, a cast and a photograph of it, as well as its outline. And incidentally, everything created in the 60's. Bauer isn’t only involved with sculpture, but also with text, with language: he is incessantly dealing with "comprehension" both literally and figuratively, he's invariably concerned about how language distances and abstracts objects. One sees good girls in skirts with huge letters, an inquisitive lad carries a "K" casually under his arm through the meadow. Bauer has never repudiated his country roots; Perhaps the exhibitions in Graz and Linz are just the starting point to the rediscovery of Bauer. You really hope so for his sake. Grazer Kunstverein 8020 Graz , Palais Trauttmansdorff, Burggasse 4 Tel: + 43 316 83 41 41 Fax: + 43 316 83 41 42 E-mail: office@grazerkunstverein.org www.grazerkunstverein.org Opening hours: Mon - Fri 10.30 - 18.00 hours, Sat 10.30-16.30 hours

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