English summaries March 24 - April 6

Haus der Kunst München Matthew Barney – River of Fundament 17.03.2014 – 17.08.2014 Master of XXL transformation By Goschka Gawlik Matthew Barney is one of the most illustrious international artists. His ambition and pertinacity regarding the tricky transformation of historical templates in private and modern mythologies are well known. His expensive solo shows are accordingly rare and their impressive oversize arouses amazement. Since the 1980’s, the American has been working on the creation of a post-Wagnerian work of art. In his roles as a sculptor, media artist and film producer, Barney takes exaggerations into account to make symbols of creative and transformative vitality visible. Following seven years of abstinence from the public, his new works are presented in the exhibition “River of Fundament” in the Münchner Haus der Kunst. And the Berlin State Opera featured his 6-hour opera film under the same title. Normally, the artist uses several formats such as drawings, storyboard, photography, showcases and sculpture in his exhibitions, but this time the highlights are elaborate sculptures, which were previously created during three live performances in Los Angeles (REN), Detroit (KHU) and New York (BA), in collaboration with hundreds of artists. These 14 works are, similar to his Cremaster Cycle, three dimensional hybrid incarnations of figures and locations also found in the film – with the difference that they don't stir our feelings in time, but in space. The project attempts to visually capture Norman Mailer’s book Ancient Evenings (1983) in its full breadth. The main theme of the text deals with death and reincarnation. In contrast to Mailer’s book, it is not the human soul that undergoes three reincarnation trials, but an object: a Chrysler car. In any case – the theme of the exhibition appears to have, at least psychologically, struck the right cord regarding the wish for reincarnation or at least a long life. Haus der Kunst München 80538 Munich, Prinzregentenstrasse 1 Tel: +49 (0)89 21127-113 Fax: +49 (0)89 21127-157 email: mail@hausderkunst.de www.hausderkunst.de Opening hours: Mon – Sun 10.00 – 20.00 hours, Thu 10.00 – 22.00 hours Galerie Elisabeth und Klaus Thoman, Vienna Antonio Ortega – Pale Rot 08.03.2014 – 10.05.2014 Pink – between the “good” and the “bad” artist By Goschka Gawlik The Spanish artist Antonio Ortega considers himself a “teaching artist”. As such, he regularly gives lectures and holds speeches. In his recent book, he describes how the economic crisis impacts art production, especially in Catalonia. His current works with their entertaining semantic ambiguities result from these factors. Text images on corrugated cardboard, a video and an LED banner are currently displayed at the Galerie Thoman in Vienna. Antonio Ortega’s actively questions the existential and ideal situation of artists, who demand independence from public cultural institutions and politics. In his book “Demagogy and Propaganda in Art” (2013), which accompanies the exhibition, Ortega says that in today’s context not the artists directly, but mainly the “institution” serves as the communicator of art and its content. Actually, the institution does not inform about artistic approaches but rather influences the general audience regarding, for example, the promotion of cultural tourism or the protection of minorities. Priority always seems to be given to economic stimuli that are closely tied to ideological aims. In his works, Ortega attempts to counteract these propagandistic premises and to penetrate them with humour. In his text images he informs about his own personal feelings that not always comply with the image of a “good” artist, e.g.: “A.O. wrote this text in a very specific personal and financial situation” or ”It was not planned but I`m here”. In contrast to his lectures, only pictures communicate with the audience, while the creator is not present to converse with his listeners. Despite the fact that Ortega takes a close look at the chasms and conflicts of artistic practice and the meaning of artists (ranging from Peter Paul Reubens to Damien Hirst), ranging from dependency on the economic-political situation, price policy and symbolic capital to the demagogy of the institutional system, his art remains full of humour. The title "Pale Rot", a mixture of the English and the German word (Rot = Red), symbolises the conflict: he concludes that pale red probably results in pink. However, ultimately one receives more than a sense for a good balance between gloom and humour, left and right, reality and fiction. Galerie Elisabeth und Klaus Thoman 1010 Vienna, Seilerstätte 7 Tel: + 43 1 512 08 40 email: galerie@galeriethoman.com www.galeriethoman.com Opening hours: Tue-Fri 12-18 h, Sat 11-16 h Galerie nächst St. Stephan Daniel Knorr – Lunarium 26.03.2014 – 03.05.2014 Night in the city By Susanne Rohringer In a city where, in 1791, the Queen of the Night and the High Priest Sarastro met each other and struggled for their dominance in Mozart's "Magic Flute", the German artist, Daniel Knorr thematises his associations in "Night and City". In his exhibition "Lunarium" with Rosemarie Schwarzwälder, besides the night it also deals with the Genius Loci of the city of Vienna. This respect for the location is reflected, above all, in his "Depression Elevations". Knorr takes the plaster cast of pieces of asphalt which he pours out with coloured synthetic material in his studio and lets the object which appears harden. By this means, translucent "plastic corpi" are created, which make the depths and twists of the asphalt visible. Besides the synthetic polyurethane used in Industrial Design, Knorr employs a gaudy colourfulness which ranges from translucent pink to inky blue and which, amongst others, reflects the choice of colour of the current advertising industry. This unassuming colour-room intervention in the Galerie nächst St. Stephan are completed in the neighbouring room by a walk-in cage in which music instruments are found. The work "Block" relates to the classical musical tradition which captured the world in an imperialist language. With this installation, Knorr, who has already exhibited this work in New Zealand, hits a nerve in Vienna's cultural life because today, Mozart or Bruckner are played worldwide and, with the West East Divan Orchestra, even conquer the conflict-laden Arabic world. The question arises as to whether or not this music is a joy or a burden. In Knorr's exhibition, the instruments can be played by the visitor. In the last room in the gallery, snippets of placards pasted over are presented which Knorr pasted onto illegal poster boards in Berlin; these were soon covered by other works. It came to a panopticon of unregimented, uncensored space in the City of Berlin. Something similar could be arranged for Vienna. In the room on the ground floor of the Galerie nächst St. Stephan, the artist will offer a "Lunarium" during the exhibition up to the beginning of May from 0-5 hours in the morning, which will be visible from outside. Galerie nächst St. Stephan 1010 Vienna, Grünangerg. 1/2 Tel: +43 1 5121266 Fax: +43 1 5134307 E-mail: galerie@schwarzwaelder.at www.schwarzwaelder.at Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11-18, Sat 11-16 hours Galerie Elisabeth & Klaus Thoman, Innsbruck Gironcoli + Kienzer 23.03.2014 – 21.6.2014 Excitable Heterogeneity By Margareta Sandhofer To compete with Bruno Gironcoli is courageous. To confront his monolithic work requires an independent and distinct position. Such a dialogic meeting can, therefore, only be successful in a contradiction. From the current repertoire at hand, Michael Kienzer selected Gironcoli's succinct sculptures and drawings and wove them into an ambiguous structure with his own current works at the Gallery Elisabeth & Klaus Thoman (Innsbruck). Gironcoli's often not realized work drawings depict inscrutable, visionary worlds which, in his plastics, condense into shocking existential statements: A hovering baby (aluminium casting, 2006) is captured by forms running up to a point and permeated, his typed face bears a curious, abstract soul expression. The meaning is ambivalent, the activated forms suggest burgeoning tulips or engulfing flames, a birth ritual or a death sentence. The "Kopf/Head" (1964/65) is reduced to the basics - a very personal, strong reflection on Pop Art can be read, but no textual explanation. Gironcoli's form entities are utopian and yet very concrete, massive sculptures with meticulous modelling and surface treatment which express existentialistic narrations. In contrast, Michael Kienzer appears like a dry and silent realist in the puristic usage of raw industrial materials and products. The contextual displacements in unusual application determine a move from the conventional, perceived habits. With Gironcoli, utopian phantasms which appear as polished, massive, unalterable volumes confront one as permanent, generally valid meta conditions. In contrast, Kienzer involves the observer as an apparently lapidary character, an it-could-be-different, but right now it's exactly thus and not anything else. He defines this with sensitive precision. The contrarieties between Gironcoli and Kienzer complement each other in an heterogeneous totality. In addition, in the respective work, both artists entwine themselves in clarity of form and, at the same time, complexity of form to an enigmatic content. In this unapproachable sphere, the works meet or confront each other, interlock to a challenging exhibition packed with suspense. He who lets himself be drawn into its intensity can, to a certain extent, participate - because they cannot be understood, only experienced. Galerie Elisabeth & Klaus Thoman 6020 Innsbruck, Maria-Theresien Straße 34 Tel: +43-1-512 -57 57 85 Fax: +43-1-512 -57 57 85 13 E-mail: galerie@galeriethoman.com www.galeriethoman.com Opening hours: Tue-Fri 12-18, Sat 12-17 hours

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