English summaries April 21 - May 3

Galerie Krinzinger Kader Attia – Complementary Conversations 18.04.2015 – 16.05.2015 Erosion of modernism By Roland Schöny Shockingly surprising how one can stumble over crushed bullet casings from impact moles from Syria here. Although rendered harmless, they harbour something of the real power of their former destructive potential. Naturally, these relics in the never-ending hostilities in the North Arabian countries confirm Kader Attia's readiness to send out a clear message. In spite of this, there is nothing speculative here, none of the messages appear too bold. The Algerian-French artist unrolls one of his central themes. In different media, it's an altercation with the double face of modernism, which left the renewal of blood-soaked traces on the other side of its ideology. Thus, Attia poses basic question about the presence of history. In his aesthetically insinuated collages, this becomes a fragmentary co-existence of architectural snippets, text quotations, pasted-in images of sculptures or – mostly – black passers-by who seem to be thinking or striding. Not just any old architecture interests him but North African buildings decorated with ornaments and the anonymous functionalism. But in his research, Attia also tracks totalitarian light creations, like LeCorbusier, who, in his delusion, displayed an incredible ignorance with a fascination for the Nazi regime and who collaborated with Henri Pétain's Vichy regime. Abstract scars in history Gradually it becomes evident why existing picture objects delineate fine elevations which look like scars, on raw, brownish grey canvas. It could be traces of wounds but also, perhaps, of healing. Along the tangent, one can read the research that Kader Attia developed in an encompassing project. His documenta13 installation, in which he exhibited damaged African objects which are clearly recognisable as having been repaired with old – imported from Europe – buttons or shards of glass, had engraved itself on the minds of many. Additionally, Attia showed contemporary African sculptures which were composed from looking at photographs of plastic surgery operations performed on injured soldiers in the First World War and are almost replicas of them. A bizarre archive of injuries. As here, Kader Attia again and again follows the idea of repairing. In it, he sees a moment of cultural distinction between many areas of the African everyday and that of renewal and superficial styling of moulded European centres. The photo work for this is in a light box »We Have Never Been Modern (the repair of the plate)« (2014). A highlight of this exhibition. It shows two women of North African origin, on a roof, restoring a clay serving plate in a back yard or a wind protected corner. The environment is obviously composed of numerous improvised elements that stand for the different types of production, for translocal economies, etc. Repairing as a cultural distinguishing characteristic Kader Attia continues his leitmotiv of repairing when he exhibits damaged parts of motorbikes, which had been reconditioned again. The traces of their wear and tear and thus, also, the individual past, remain visible. In no way does this lead into a phenomenology of the surfaces. Kader Attia, who, in the course of his philosophy studies worked on the structuralistic analyses of biopolitical power of Michel Foucault, and contested the considerations of a political aesthetic of Jaques Ranciere, asks metaphorically about the presence of history and the consequences of its loss. A video shows how pictures of war such as shots of settlement landscapes in Israel, bombed houses in the Near East and scenarios of a computerized war game supersede one another without a break. At a central place in the film, youths play football in the ruins of a Roman portal. This is the metaphoric culmination point of the loss of reference; in the justified ease of the game. Archaeology of the contradictions of the moderne What, admittedly, can happen when missing references about the reality of the past are superseded by racist and anti-civil societally charged ideologies is indicated by Kader Attia by the incidental placards: newspaper reports from Austria about jihad-enthused youths. A necessary admonishment that imposes itself, but not more - because the exhibition offers a glimpse into a widely conceived project which already begins in the 19. Century. His exhibitions in significant institutions over the last years demonstrate with what intensity Kader Attia creates his archaeology on the entanglement between African culture and western Modernism. However, it should be emphasized here just how skilfully he has included a meaningful and pointed concentration of his current work within the framework of a gallery. Already, artistic positions like these make museums of alleged modern art,, who insist on no more than Dan Flavin or yet on pop art, look as old as the hills. Galerie Krinzinger 1010 Vienna, Seilerstätte 16 Tel: +43 1 513 30 06 Fax: +43 1 513 30 06 33 E-mail: krinzinger@galerie-krinzinger.at www.galerie-krinzinger.at Opening times: Tue-Fri 12-18, Sat 11-14 hours Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg Erwin Wurm – Fichte 22.03.2015 – 13.09.2015 A joke for the sake of a joke By Raimar Stange Sculptures, photos, videos and installations by Erwin Wurm re presently being shown in the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg / Art Museum Wolfsburg. The works from over 20 years of artistic production prove: jokes are also a precarious matter which is not always funny. A "Toilet", 2014 in the first room of the exhibition "Fichte" (spruce), its lavatory bowl is so small that, on the one hand, it can hardly be used, and on the other, if MALE wants to, is reminiscent of labia. Does this work by Erwin Wurm, which reminds art historians of Marcel Duchamp's urinal "Fountain" (1917) really succeed “in debunking the pathos and the dramatics as well as the absurdity of social conventions" (press release)? Or is it only about a would-be, culturally solicitous joke for men? Wurm's installation "Spruce" (2015) In the main room of the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg: numerous firs are hanging from the ceiling, upside down, turning established order topsy-turvy. This is valid in as far as it's not about spruces here, as the work's title suggests, but about firs. So confusion appears in the aesthetic master plan, which, for Wurm, is usually determined by the discrepancy between proportions and perspectives. But does it really work out through the reference to the German philosopher, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, to gain an extra dimension? It's well known that Fichte emphasized, and the press release also makes reference to it: "one has to inflict a suspicion into the rules?" But the problem about this art has been for a long time that its injury of the rules – at least in the ‘operating system’ of art, in which almost everything is allowed – often gets stuck in the surprising and witty, but doesn't have any really "suspicious" quality. Thus, certainly no one will seriously allege "Spruce" as an ecological work about, for example, climate change. The same goes for the "Curry Bus", 2015 parked in front of the museum, a converted VW bus, which has come apart at the seams and thus taken on a "fat" appearance. Motor and gearbox have been removed from the car, and there is now a functional hot dog stall integrated in the VW. One can order a curry sausage for four euros – and of course, the sausage is almost three times as big and just as "fat" as a commercial one. But the question which immediately comes to ones mind: is this "Curry Bus" really a "suspicious" critique of our consumer society or is it just a sculptural, whimsical joke which is more or less amusing? Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg 38440 Wolfsburg, Porschestraße 53 Tel: +49(0) 5361- 26690 Fax: +49(0) 5361- 266966 E-mail: info@kunstmuseum-wolfsburg.de www.kunstmuseum-wolfsburg.de Opening times: Tue-Sat 11-18 hours

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