151214 : Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz - Reines Wasser

Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz Reines Wasser (Pure Water) 03.10.2014 – 15.02.2015 No reason for romanticism By Goschka Gawlik What should one decide to do on a Sunday? Go to the exhibition of the century, the magnificent Diego Velázquez, in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, or "Reines Wasser” (“Pure Water") in the Lentos? Should one remain in half-way clean Vienna or go to the clouds of smoke of (what is left of) industrial Linz? With that said, the one should not be played off against the other. Here and there, it is, above all, about quality; in Vienna in the said to be dead art of painting and in Linz in the precious and ever-more threatened resources of the world and nature. It is remarkable, that such so much effort should go into such volatile themes in a country with adequate supplies of drinking water. Will the longings of the curious be stilled by this, or is this the proof of the proverbial domestic-ecological conscience? Although, according to the Lentos director, Stella Rollig, the exhibition should assume the significance of an appeal, the first impression is misleading. It is overwhelmingly the art history that carries weight in this show. The exhibition begins with reference to something fluid - the Fluxus movement. In the 50's and 60's, the artists weren't so concerned about the ecological and economical value of water, but with water as deconstruction, or at most in spectacular manner, as radical abolition of the traditional (stable) artistic materials such as, for example, illustrating the works of Vito Acconci, Allan Kaprow or Peter Weibel. In contrast, the destructive power of the fluid element is expressed today in social areas. In the video of the young, politically engaged performance artist, Regina Hose Galindo from Guatemala, she is tortured, naked and defenceless, by a uniformed man with a water jet. Kaprow's project "Fluids", in which he set up rooms made out of ice in different districts in Los Angeles, shows mental correspondence to stairway-like pyramids made out of ice blocks in the Egyptian desert, which the performance artist, Joachim Eckl, set up in 2009, together with others. Rachel Harrison's sculpture is less consolatory; it forces the most important life-giver, in the form of a useless water cooler, into a concrete container as if it were an archaic jewel or just detritus of the capitalistic system. One can assert that "this water is certainly not clean" in light of the work of Wilfredo Prieto: "Holy Water", a puddle of holy water on the floor of the museum. An ironic approach in handling the problem zone, water, is also denoted in Roman Signer's photography. As document of his action, it shows how the white power shoots like a fountain out of a pyramid made of stacked blue barrels. The merry trick fountains don't, however, last long. In his light object "Glass Girl", Timotheus Tomicek lets a young woman drink a glass of water slowly – for the observer, almost imperceptibly slowly. A sentimental regret for that which is lost gleams in the picture. The exhibition forms a course which contains at least 150 high-quality works, a very wide spectrum of the most variable artistic positions. Amongst these, works are always appearing which praise the valuable fluid as therapeutic, quality of life, poetical and joyous, whereby beauty is alternately enmeshed with the fearsome. The peace of the light reflecting water surfaces is depicted in Roni Horn's photo series "Still Water" but is disturbed by the musical installation "Drip Water" by George Brecht. Both works are of an intense concentration. In the present, it appears that, after the black power, i.e. oil, water influences the rise and fall of individual states and regions. In her work "Egyptian Chemistry", Ursula Biemann has analysed the waters of the Nile which are increasingly coming under the pressure of economic and commercial interests. Gerwald Rockenschaub's "Pure Water from Austria's Mountains" is produced as a fetish object multiple in design bottles. On the other hand, what devastating results water pollution can have on life is shown by a few bottles of B`eau Pal by the activist group The Yes Men. They have caused a sensation on BBC World with their clever communication manipulation in which they announce that the chemicals company that caused the deaths of thousands of people through a technical accident in Bhopal in 1984, is – better late than never – willing to pay 12 billion dollars to the victims' families as compensation. On the basis of this false news, the firm's shares fell within a very short time in 2004. The Linz exhibition also shows a plethora of historically critical and creative works – but compared to the tender-elegiac, the activists, however, are distinctly in the background. Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz 4020 Linz, Ernst-Koref-Promendade 1 Tel: +43 70 7070 36 00 email: info@lentos.at http://www.lentos.at Opening hours: Daily except Mon, 10.00-18.00 hours, Thu: 10.00 - 21.00 hours

Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz
4020 Linz, Ernst-Koref-Promendade 1
Tel: +43 70 7070 36 00
Email: info@lentos.at
Öffnungszeiten: täglich außer Mo 10-18 Uhr, Do 10-21 Uhr

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