English summaries December 1 - 14

Museum Ludwig Andrea Büttner – 2 05.09.2014 – 15.03.2015 2 like day and night By Daniela Gregori Always these decisions, one exhibition, two rooms. Should one enter the left one, brightly lit, furnished with highly diverse flatware or go into the right one, darkened, from which the tones of a piano emerge? The exhibition by Andrea Büttner in the Kölner Museum Ludwig is called 2 and it is to be surmised that exactly those two rooms and the decision of the either/or lend themselves to the title. According to good occidental tradition and reading direction, now turn left, after all, into the brightness, and also because there's the promise of closer description from laminated pages about the 11 large tableaus with images of the most diverse provenance and mediality. Thinking about Warburg's Mnemosyne atlas, one tries to establish connections between the individual motives, to find associations, to read narrations and yet one doesn't get anywhere. And it won't work because the red thread that holds the so diverse illustrative material together lies bound as a display copy on the bench. These pictures function splendidly here, as a visual complement to a text. Besides her art studies in Berlin and London and a degree in philosophy, Büttner set about illustrating Immanuel Kant's "Critique of the Power of Judgement", which now hangs split into boards arranged on the wall. On the basis of the book collection in Kant's private library, the artist made reference to the master's knowledge of pictures and completed it through all sorts of other illustrative and picture materials, especially marked there in the text of stated works. The Kant edition, illustrated by Büttner in this way, will shortly be published by Felix Meiner. Likewise, with historical material in her latest work, Büttner goes ahead with the installation "Piano Destructions 2014" in the darkened part of the exhibition. In this video recording, nine pianists play synchronized pieces by Schumann and Chopin. Recordings of actions run parallel on the side wall, in which artists maltreat pianos until they are destroyed. Whilst, in rock music, it is courteous to destroy guitars, in the visual arts, one prefers to adopt the bourgeois key instruments. Chiefly, as also stated in the accompanying text, it is male protagonists who destroy the pianos. Quite plainly, female perfection stands here opposed to male destruction. One changes over to the light room once more, observes the abstract reverse glass paintings and large format woodcarvings, both traditional craftsmen's techniques in folk culture and everyday culture. And one smiles to oneself as one imagines how the artist took such a perfect thing apart for the "Piano" sheet, in order to use the accurately laid out parts of the wooden corpus as printing blocks. Museum Ludwig 50667 Köln, Bischofsgartenstr. 1 Tel: +49-221-221-26165 Fax: +49-221-221-24114 E-mail: info@museum-ludwig.de www.museenkoeln.de/museum-ludwig/default.asp Opening hours: Tue-Sun 10.00-18.00, and every 1st Friday in the month 10.00-22.00 zs art Galerie ballet concrete 04.11.2014 – 09.01.2015 Nostalgic complexes By Flora Schausberger “The picture should be constructed entirely from purely plastic elements, that is to say, planes and colours. A pictorial element has no other significane than “itself”, and therefore the picture has no other significance than “itself”, said Theo van Doesburg in 1930 in “Concrete Art”. In today’s trend-dominated art world, in which even the most minimal line is accompanied by a long (con)text, without which one may not understand the piece of art one is just looking at, the Dutch painter’s postulate seems like a temporary nostalgic relief. The choreography of works showing concrete contemporary art in the zs art Galerie, developed from an apparently accurate appraisal of art historic sources. The gallery is presenting, among others, works by Roland Goeschl, John Carter, Leo Zogmayer, Helga Philipp, and Laszlo Otto. With their formal aesthetic perfection, the self-reflective works constructed using planes, shapes and colours, evade all criticism. Announced as an “extract of concrete contemporary art”, the arrangement shown in the zs art Galerie almost over-fulfils these expectations – and this is also the exhibition’s drawback. Including several younger positions of Concrete Art would have done the exhibition good. Nevertheless, Theo van Doesburg would have definitely enjoyed the exhibition. But even if doesn't appeal to everyone – it is definitely worthwhile to take a tour through the gallery. zs art Galerie 1070 Vienna, Westbahnstrasse 27 – 29 Tel: +43-1-895 9395 11 email: galerie@zsart.at www.zsart.at Opening hours: Mon – Fri 11.00 – 19.00 hours and by appointment 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 www.lentos.at Opening hours: Daily except Mon, 10.00-18.00 hours, Thu: 10.00 - 21.00 hours Johnen Galerie Martin Boyce – Stellar Remnants 28.11.2014 – 24.01.2015 Starwars By Raimar Stange The well worth seeing exhibition "Stellar Remnants" by Martin Boyce again certifies the interests of the Scottish artist and Turner Prize winner in (interior) architecture, design and art history. In the main room of the Johen Galerie, Boyce has installed a surprisingly poetical ensemble in whose centre stands a fireplace which was constructed by him. A fireplace? The device, "A Passageway for the Sky", 2014, and deliberately mounted too high, doesn't only look like a fireplace at home but reminds one of a dark theatre stage. And he plays on Rene Magritte's most famous painting "The perforated time", 1938, in which a steam engine uses the passageway of a fireplace in order to steam into a living room. Boyce's fireplace is bordered by a frame whose branch-like design has been influenced by the form language of the French designer couple, Joel and Jan Martel, more exactly: from whose concrete trees which were conceptualized by the brothers in cubist style in 1925. Inner and outer room are then interwoven with each other by the sculpture "Dead Star Constellation (looking down on an empty pool)", 2014, which stands in the same room, and a weeping willow of rusty steel isn't standing out in the outer room but in the middle of the gallery. Two small lamp frames are hanging in the branches of the artificial, seemingly poetic-depressive tree. The homely atmosphere which is still suggested by the fireplace is specifically counteracted by this skeletal tree. A further lamp frame stands next to it, its title "Dead Star (red)", 2014, is also a play on the presentation "Stellar Remnants", namely the moment in which things are extinguished, the "stars cadavers" is just as idiosyncratic as the functionally inept design of the artist. An intelligent play of dualism is enmeshed in the exhibition: inner against outer, artificiality against naturalness as well as applied and free art appear here simultaneously and against one another to terminate their alleged contrarieties in the occurring dialogue. Johnen Galerie 10117 Berlin, Marienstraße 10 Tel: +49- (0)30- 27 58 30 30 Fax: +49- (0)30- 27 58 30 50 E-mail: mail@johnengalerie.de www.johnengalerie.de Opening hours: Tue-Sat 11:00-18:00 hours

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