No social system remains forever. What seems
to be the best of all forms of coexistence today may already be corrupted
tomorrow and its replacement by a new system is only a question of time.
What is linked to this is, of course, our mission to work for the upcoming
new and hopefully better system. Art dealing with the challenges of the
present time can and has to have an effect on life, and first and foremost
it has to raise our awareness of things. Raise awareness of subjects which
are underrepresented in the public discourse or which are in desperate
need of certain points of view and visions, subjects where art with its
possibilities can convey ideas on a different level than journalistic
or scientific work. It can disrupt the usual flow of ideas and celebrate
the decomposition of the mechanisms of representation, push forward the
disintegration of stereotypes and foster the conscious perception of a
society, above all the consciousness of a grown environment too, of historical
references and environments which play an important role in socially and
politically committed art. History is permanently reconstructed through
the present-day approach and our attempts at reinterpretation. There is
enough need for a critical analysis of the constructions of history with
the means of art, especially of those chapters in history which are rightly
called unaccounted for.
Contributions to the exhibition:
Michael Blum's "The Three Failures"
"The Three Failures" is a kind of open-air
talk which has been videotaped in three different cities. Each of these
cities represents the failure of a political system at a given moment
in history: the historical failure of communism, the present-day failure
of social democracy and the imminent failure of capitalism.
G.R.A.M., "Abdruck honorarfrei"
Since 1982 G.R.A.M. have collected
press photos from the fields of politics, culture and science which depict
for the most part touched up and staged snapshots of everyday work life.
This collection is arranged in tableaus that tell us a lot about staging
techniques, advertising strategies, ritualised poses and, quite generally,
about the desire for public attention.
Maruša Sagadin / Michael Hieslmair, "The Rate of Return"
Based on the fictive example of the construction of an office building
in Zagreb this project is an investigation into the present-day situation
of real estate investment. Starting from the initial idea through the
planning and construction stages right up to the renting of the property
it unfolds the story lines of the people involved. Especially Europe's
former Eastern bloc countries are still promising high growth and return
rates for transnational investment conglomerates.
Anna Jermolaewa, "Untitled (Good Times, Bad Times)" and
"Research for Sleeping Positions"
Both works have been produced at Vienna
Westbahnhof. In the photo series "Untitled (Good Times, Bad Times)" you
can observe pigeons how they take up different positions on the fingers
of the big train station clock according to the time of day whereas "Research
for Sleeping Positions" is a video piece where you can watch the artist
try to find a comfortable sleeping position on one of the uncomfortable
benches in the station concourse. Moreover, this is the place where back
in 1989 she spent her first weeks in the former West.
Franz Kapfer, "Passauer Vignette"
With this video work
the artist exposes certain attributions which have existed at least since
the second Turks Siege of Vienna in 1683. On the one hand the Ottoman,
or Turkish, threat to Christianity - and on the other, the Austrian emperor
(residing in Passau in the meantime) and above all the victorious liberator,
the Polish king Jan Sobieski. These patterns are deeply rooted in our
consciousness and still make many members of our Christian Western civilization
tremble whenever they come to think what might have happened if history
had taken a different course.
Leopold Kessler, "Perforation Kal. 10 mm"
street signs that look as if they had been shot through are the basic
material of this videotaped sculptural intervention. Subtle interventions
into public space question our perception of reality and we realize once
again to which large extent the world around us is constructed.
Martin Krenn, "Misplaced Histories"
For his photo series
"Misplaced Histories" the artist has on the one hand taken pictures of
places which were Aryanised in Nazi times, such as the Giant Wheel in
Vienna or the Berlin Zoo, and, on the other, buildings which played a
role in the course of the persecution of the Jews but are nowadays in
danger of falling into oblivion, such as the concentration camp Stutthof
Lisl Ponger, "Work on Progress"
This double video projection
presents two different scenes of the same production. Based on the baroque
Vanitas painting "The Knight's Dream" by Antonio de Pereda the artist
re-enacted the painting in the form of a tableau vivant and loaded it
with present-day references and meanings. As each and every object, every
detail bears a meaning, so does the angel figure wearing a T-shirt with
"Destroy Capitalism" printed on it. On the second screen we see how someone
is sweeping away the objects arranged on a table with only a few waves
of the hand.
Oliver Ressler, "Fly Democracy"
The video installation
"Fly Democracy" reflects present-day theoretical discourses on forms of
direct or participatory democracy using ten different flyers with text
passages written by various theorists as its central element. The work
directly refers to the literal meaning of the word flyer but also to the
mass airdrop of flyers, a propaganda method still commonly employed in
Isa Rosenberger, "Warschauer Nike"
Right in the city
centre of Warsaw the artist asked several passers-by what they thought
of their Nike monument, a melodramatic symbol of the victory against Nazi
Germany. Their answers reflect a broad spectrum - from veneration of the
monument to disdain and the wish for the monument's removal. General thoughts
on the present-day relevance of such a monument can be elaborated from
the personal relationships to this monument that the people have developed.
Jun Yang, "Camouflage - LOOK like them - TALK like them"
Based on the example of someone called X the artist tells us in this video
story about migrants' efforts to subsist in a racist and xenophobic society,
an endeavour which is especially difficult as his story is about illegalized
people. One tried and tested measure seems to be to absolutely avoid attracting
attention, to adapt oneself, to immerse oneself in the mass so to speak
by wearing the same clothes, speaking the same language and moving exactly
like the local people.
*) from: Bertolt Brecht, Life of Galileo