English summaries July 29 - August 24

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 www.kunsthallewien.at Opening hours: daily 10 – 19 hours TBA 21 Augarten Carsten Höller – Leben 11.07.2014 – 23. 11. 2014 An experience that simply isn’t By Nina Schedlmayer The German-Belgian artist, Carsten Höller, likes to see his audience move: in 2006, visitors enjoyed sliding down a huge slide in the Tate Gallery and - in contrast - in the Kunsthaus Bregenz, visitors took a ride on an extremely slow carousel. In the TBA21 and in the Belvedere, Höller currently invites his audience to take part in cheerful interaction. While tourists are wondering what purpose the light bulb-hallway serves (it was already on display several times in Austria), they can let themselves drift in saltwater. In the former venue of the Augarten studio, one can spend a night in Höllers elevator bed - for 390 to 490 euros; before falling asleep one should use the apparently dream inducing toothpaste - resulting in “male”, “female” or “childlike” dreams. Furthermore, there are two pairs of chirping bullfinches trying to learn a melody by listening to a recording; a sculpture, indicating the time in a complicated manner, and films that attempt to “prompt specific forms of attention and interaction resulting in a conceptual scope of logical interactions”, and, naturally, “confusion”. With the exception of a dual projection showing two Congolese musicians competing against each other – an exciting as well as buoyant documentation – one mainly gets the notion of boredom. Somehow this kind of participation that targets a kind of experience, which is not really one, seems to be somewhat passé. TBA21 Augarten 1020 Vienna, Scherzergasse 1A Tel: +43 1 513 98 56 – 24 email: exhibitions@TBA21.org www.TBA21.org Opening hours: Thu - Sun 12 - 19 hours Kunsthaus Zürich Cindy Sherman – Untitled Horrors 06.06.2014 - 14.09.2014 Little Shop of Horrors By Nina Schedlmayer Cindy Sherman definitely belongs to those artists whose work one is always meaning to get to know – and of whose works there have been far too infrequent large exhibitions. Following her larger projects in the USA (MoMA) und Europe (Jeu de Paume, Kunsthaus Bregenz), the Kunsthaus Zurich is now showing a large exhibition; the central aspect of the 110 works on display is horror. An unusual form of presentation has been chosen for this: together with the curator, Mirjam Varadinis, the US artist has arranged her works from the 1970's to the present in associative groups – and with this, the serial principle of the majority of her works has been nullified. And unexpected neighbourhoods and groupings are formed: for example, a doll who appears shocked looks at another photo work – on which are scattered various plastic body parts as well as a mirror in which a face appears. Moreover, in this 15-part picture group, one is confronted with portraits in the style of the old masters, collections of sex toys as well as an over-made-up harem woman. The show is pitted with ghoulish assemblages, with sexual objects, with blood, excrement, mould and such like. The focus on the horrors also determines the interpretation of all the other works – the extensive parklands suddenly appear as the setting of a horror film; the older, grotesque ladies become protagonists of an horrific fairytale. The show also tends towards pushing other aspects into the background. There is the concept that some of her earlier works are literally hanging in mid air, series such as the "Bus Riders" or early "Film Stills" are examples of this; they would hardly have been able to be integrated into the opulent, flamboyantly coloured picture walls. Sometimes it appears as if Sherman created the exhibition for herself in order to again question the potential of her works. Not a bad approach. Kunsthaus Zurich 8001 Zurich, Winkelwiese 4 Tel: +41 (0) 44 253 84 84 Fax: +41 (0) 44 253 84 33 E-mail: info@kunsthaus.ch www.kunsthaus.ch Opening hours: Tue 10.00 - 18.00, Wed-Fri 10.00 - 20.00, Sat-Sun 10.00 - 18.00 Fotohof Aglaia Konrad – The House (exhibited) 25.07.2014 – 13.09.2014 Exciting architecture By Nina Schedlmayer It's unbelievable just how exciting a film about architecture can be: Aglaia Konrad's work "The House", develops an undercurrent that you don't really want to elude. The installation, which appears unwieldy, and which Konrad developed for the exhibition together with the architect, Kris Kimpe, and which refers to the film's protagonist, is entered through circular doors; one sits on jagged stools, exactly as they appear in the building with the same title. It concerns the house van Wassenhove which was built in 1974 by the architect, Juliaan Lampens, in Belgium's Sint-Martens-Latem, which is mainly made of concrete and wood. The camera moves slowly over the surfaces, scans them; the vision is directed over staircases, room dividers, wall partitions and curtains, up to the skylights and beyond, to proliferous plants and a bird bath. Suddenly, the room appears in a blue light, the grain of the wood forms a contrast to the raw, grainy structure of the exposed concrete; a cylinder enters the field of vision but its contents are, however, not revealed; seating accommodation is ranged beneath an overhanging concrete element; the garden is reflected in a high window and literally transports the plants into the room's interior. Moss grows on the walls, spiders' webs are stretched over the roof – it is that (decaying) Moderne, whose artistic compilation seems, in the meantime, to be passé. The room itself disintegrates in this work, one can never capture it completely even when one inevitably begins to construct it in one's head. Simultaneously, the absence of human traces creates something spooky – will anyone every move in here again? You don't necessarily have to know the theoretical concept behind it all (the canvas is "tactile surface and membrane which is neither safe nor transparent because it reveals the cinematographic composition strategies secluded within it", writes Anna Manubens), so that much may be garnered from Konrad's work. Fotohof 5020 Salzburg, Inge-Morath-Platz 1-3 Tel: +43 662 84 92 96 Fax: +43 662 84 92 96-4 E-mail: fotohof@fotohof.at www.fotohof.at Opening hours: Tue - Fri 15-19, Sat 11-15 hours

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