250814: Kunsthalle Wien Museumsquartier: New ways of doing nothing

Kunsthalle Wien Museumsquartier New ways of doing nothing 27.06.2014 – 12. 10. 2014 Stylish rejection By Goschka Gawlik In a society geared towards “activity and productivity”, the frightening vision of doing nothing can throw many into a state of panic. The feeling of boredom and that of romantic sensitivity was unheard of in 19th century America. In the summer of 1853, Hermann Melville wrote the short story “Bartleby, the Scrivener”, which, to this day, evokes controversial interpretations among literature experts. The taciturn scrivener, who works in a lawyer’s office, has isolated himself and, in response to any request, always answers: “I would prefer not to”. The Kunsthalle Wien used this phrase as the slogan of their current exhibition in which artists, in a state of rejection against society, engage in various forms of artistic passiveness and monosyllabic tautology. The phenomenon of doing nothing has been known at least since the 1960s - but this exhibition leads to an unexpected timely statement about today’s art production. The oldest work which is shown at this exhibition is the black and white film A Man Asleep by the duo Georges Perec /Bernard Queysanne and is reminiscent of the French nouvelle vague films. His hero, a young Parisian student, decides to quit university but in spite of this decision, is unable to give up his daily rituals and indulges in them in an ostentatiously impassive way. The film by Rivane Neuenschwander is also repetitive and poetic, but in a different way: a soap bubble blown away by the wind wanders around weightlessly, reflecting its surroundings on the surface and never bursting by doing nothing. Ryan Gander removes the content from his pictures and only shows photographs of frames made of black tape on a white large format screen that he had previously stuck to his studio wall. The re-enacted effect looks interestingly like nothing. But not everything found on the floor in this exhibition is totally unproductive. Geometric forms made of painted styrofoam by the late neo-avant-garde artist Robert Breer, whose movements are hardly perceptible by the human eye and thus only fake the illusion of doing nothing. The exhibition’s stylish black and white arrangement is reminiscent of conceptual art and mediates the notion that rejection, so-called inactivity, can, indeed, incorporate activity. Kunsthalle MuseumsQuartier 1070 Vienna, Museumsplatz 1 Tel: +43 (0)1 521 89 - 0 Email: office@kunsthallewien.at http://www.kunsthallewien.at Opening hours: daily 10 – 19 hours

Kunsthalle Wien Museumsquartier
1070 Wien, Museumsplatz 1
Tel: +43 1 521 89-0
Email: office@kunsthallewien.at
Öffnungszeiten: Di-So 10-19, Do 11-21 h

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