“Off to Vienna!” can be this spring’s motto for everyone who is curious about the multitude of current artistic ideas and manifestations generated in the city of Vienna. Now is the chance to gain comprehensive insight into the Viennese cultural scene at over 50 different locations simultaneously. ‘Destination Vienna 2015’, a synopsis of over 70 positions in contemporary art featured at both Kunsthalle Wien‘s locations at Karlsplatz and Museumsquartier, expands throughout the urban space: numerous local galleries, off-spaces, cultural clubs and cultural institutions of Vienna all tune into a temporary orchestration directed by ‘Destination Vienna EXTENDED.’
‘Destination Vienna’ 2015 is more than an exhibition. It resembles a polyphonic piece of music created by the co-existence and interplay of all sorts of instrumental parts and voices. With this image in mind, Kunsthalle Wien presents selected contributions from artists of different generations, working in diverse methods and varying in their use of media. An equally diverse jury of five members selected the contributions from about 900 proposals. These consisted mostly of entries submitted in an open call but also included results from individual research and external recommendations.
The outcome portrays a quite idiosyncratic, surprising and pluralistic view of the Viennese art scene. It is not a list of bestselling artists, no competition of top (emerging) artists, no tribute to temporary or regional mainstream. Instead, ‘Destination Vienna 2015’ allows for voices to rise that address the (im)balance between a „state of the art“ and individual desires for artistic practice. The youngest participating artists have just completed the first stages of their studies and are well on their way to achieving artistic independence. The eldest participants can look back at their life‘s work while producing contemporary art in equal measure – art that lets fleeting fashion trends pass by in a side mirror, allowing for a focus on new statements on issues independent from the Zeitgeist. At the same time, ‘Destination Vienna 2015’ mirrors the diversity of contemporary artistic vocabulary and media that are characteristic for the international art venue Vienna.
Pursuing this idea, the exhibition architecture varies for each of the three exhibition halls. In the upper hall at Kunsthalle Wien Museumsquartier, Johannes Porsch doubles the exhibition space by placing in it a cube that however remains uncompleted. The L-shaped structure evokes the modernistic white cube and at the same time, reveals the exhibition space as an ongoing process and permanent dialogue between concept and spatial conditions.
In the lower exhibition hall, Eric Kläring uses available furniture, display and construction elements from Kunsthalle Wien‘s storage. He articulates the space through the dissemination of display elements made of metallic profile and wooden plates and creates a threshold with a carpet. A pile of black-painted plinths serves as a backdrop for the exhibition. The idea of recycling coincides with an open, adaptive and at the same time clarifying structure.
The artwork’s positions in both exhibition halls are based primarily on the works’ abilities to communicate in regards to content and formal aesthetic aspects. Starting in the entrance hall, Andreas Reiter Raabe‘s large-sized accessible painting literally tramples all customs of presenting art underfoot, while a few steps away Cäcilia Brown‘s detached Drehfoyer (revolving entrance hall) creates a noticeable distance between the visitor and the object: One cannot pass through the door, but only examine it from “outside”.
Posters embedding slogans like Stop making sense, Aus der Krankheit eine Waffe machen or famous LP covers are placed in a studio to affect the rehearsal situation Eva Egermann sets up with eight musicians from the independent Viennese scene. For her work Die Rotschild’sche Gemäldesammlung in Wien (The Rothschild’s Collection of Paintings in Vienna), Anna Artaker combined the methodology of an art history researcher and the aesthetical gaze of the artist. She could only find the images of 80 works from the famous collection, which was robbed by the NS-regime, restored only gradually by the Austrian government and finally scattered all over the world. The artist‘s reconstruction is also a rewriting of Austria‘s long overlooked history. Other gaps in history are subject matter for Johann Schoiswohl‘s series of slides Nichts gesehen! (Nothing Seen!), based on a photo album that belonged to an Austro-German family between 1939 and 1955. However, all the pictures have been removed and only captions and comments remain. The artist addresses the role of the image and perspective in the constitution of collective and personal memories.
Heribert Friedl‘s installation coexist is also not as easy to decipher. Various fragrances glazed onto the wall must be activated by touch to be perceived as odors. Whether the scent is related to the Vienna Naschmarkt, the horse and carriage stand on Stephansplatz, the Café Sacher or the Imperial Crypt will be left for the visitors to discuss.
Elsewhere, a dark cupboard stands against the wall. In one of its doors, a key slowly turns around as if operated by an invisible hand. The door, however, remains closed. Leander Schönweger is not one to reveal secrets but rather reminds us that they exist. Paul Leitner‘s sculptures, by contrast, are visible and palpable. Entitled the traveler, they aim to suspend natural processes by use of wind tunnel technology: Single flying seeds are rotating in place via air currents and are thus hindered in pursuing their destinations of germination.
Close by, a nature that does not naturally exist, blossoms, flows, morphs and expands: Karin Pliem‘s painted art habitats allow plants from different environments and parts of the world to come together and to generate new species, hybrids and mutations. Whilst the painter gathers prototypes from material she finds outside and brings them into her studio, Michael Heindl transports material from his studio into the urban space. There he modifies it with the help of modern civilization‘s achievements. For his work Destination Unknown for instance, he positioned a worn tabletop from his studio on the railway tracks of a suburban rail (S-Bahn) with the intention that it would be meticulously divided into three parts when the train ran over it ...
Julian Göthe‘s shiny black figures appear more ‘sculptural’ in a traditional sense. They seem to quote something without, however, revealing an actual reference. Always bigger than life, the figures charge the exhibition hall with their eerie presence, putting us under their spell: telepathic powers disguised as minimalistic constructions.
Alongside the exhibition in Kunsthalle Wien Museumsquartier‘s two exhibition halls, events with performances and dialogues are scheduled for Kunsthalle Wien Karlsplatz. The audience, as an integrative part of the perception of art, is invited to participate in the activities provided at both locations.
For Kunsthalle Wien Karlsplatz, Ovidiu Anton devised a modular setting, which combines display elements from past shows hosted by different Viennese art institutions and seating furniture adapted from Le Corbusier’s Tabouret Cabanon. Colour and material qualities from these shows become inscribed in Anton‘s re-design when it is fashioned from parts of old installations. The architectural clarity of the glass space is then charged with the history of other locations. The performances and talks taking place here address among other things the interaction and confrontation of manufacturing artists, collectors, agents and marketers within the art system whose “destinations” may lie between commerce, success, idealism or subversion. In her Live / Talkshow, Birgit Zinner, for example, appears as both talk show host and guest, answering questions on screen that she asks herself and her audience onsite. Questions regarding the conditions of production, the distribution of art and its continuity starting at the point of arrival at the buyer‘s private setting. In her performance Edit me please, Lilly Pfalzer, on the other hand, films herself and her surrounding live, with the help of hand and body cameras. She then goes on to take up the part of a singing actress. While she is singing old French pop songs translated into German, her partner Sergio Valenzuela, dressed in a surreal morph suit, mutates into a dancing backdrop of an increasingly bizarre scenario.
The dual act is part of a performance series that marks the finale of the events at Karlsplatz. Like in a polyphony, a number of choreographed sequenced performances may blend into one another. The possibility of one or more performers temporarily appearing at the same time cannot be ruled out…
Curatorial team: Marie Egger, Anne Faucheret, Lucas Gehrmann, Luca Lo Pinto, Matthias Nothnagel, Andrea Popelka, Nicolaus Schafhausen
Artists: Adrian Alecu, Ovidiu Anton, Anna Artaker, Kurdwin Ayub, Josef Bauer, Cäcilia Brown, Adrian Buschmann, Hugo Canoilas, Julian Charrière, Mitya Churikov, Eva Egermann, Christian Eisenberger, Christian Falsnaes, Marina Faust, Lukas Feigelfeld, Daniel Ferstl, Andreas Fogarasi, Heinz Frank, Heribert Friedl, Peter Fritzenwallner, G.R.A.M., Kerstin von Gabain, Till Gathmann, Aldo Giannotti, Sofia Goscinski, Julian Göthe, Eva Grubinger, Harald Gsaller, Rebekka Hagg, Michael Heindl, Nicholas Hoffman, Ana Hoffner, David Jourdan, Barbara Kapusta, Eric Kläring, Tonio Kröner, Tina Lechner, Sonia Leimer, Paul Leitner, Los Destinados (Julius Deutschbauer / Klaus Pobitzer / Panos Mylonas), Constantin Luser, Nana Mandl, Ralo Mayer, Christian Mayer, Sarah Mendelsohn, Melitta Moschik, Hans Nevidal, Josip Novosel, Denise Palmieri, Michael Part, Nicola Pecoraro, permanent breakfast (Friedemann Derschmidt / Abbé Libansky / Karin Schneider / Barbara Zeidler), Lilly Pfalzer/Sergio Valenzuela, Karin Pliem, Johannes Porsch, Hanna Putz, Andreas Reiter Raabe, Ritornell, Valentin Ruhry, Maruša Sagadin, Ari Sariannidis, Johann Schoiswohl, Leander Schönweger, Misha Stroj, Philipp Timischl, Jenni Tischer, Octavian Trauttmansdorff, Nadim Vardag, Salvatore Viviano, Astrid Wagner, Tanja Widmann, Birgit Zinner.