Galerie Michaela Stock; Foto-Raum; Galerie Lisi Hämmerle
Art Week’s tour of Vienna’s prime spaces for TVR's Gallery Run
Vienna Art Week was abuzz with more than 150 local and international artists coming together in Austria’s capital to show their, or appreciate others’, art for a week. With a programme packed from 15 to 20 Nov., it was a unique opportunity to meet artists from deep within the scene, as well as young, aspiring creatives.
Galerie Michaela Stock
Slaven Tolj is a former-Yugoslav with a face reminiscent of iron. He is also an artist and the director of Lazareti in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The former fact explains in part the subjective realism, and dark work of a man whose perspectives were first formed in a socialist childhood and adolescence of war, in insecurity and violence. The latter explains a sense of being definitive and to the point.
"Views from abroad opened up questions about social values, and how we relate to one another; it asks us to look at how we perceive reality vis-à-vis the media," Tolj explained.
In the corner of the intimate gallery is a video loop displaying a man wearing a black motorcycle helmet and holding a gun as he walks down a crowded street in broad daylight. "He went to a famous magazine and killed the editor and some staff," Tolj said. He then pointed to a set of four low-saturation, high-contrast photographs of a man wearing the same helmet: "I thought of recreating those scenes on the street … It’s a way to remember what happened and how society works."
Tolj stopped before a blank white wall with one sentence pencilled in the middle: "I’am (sic) dangerous, kill me in front of my children’s eyes."
Inspired by the contradiction of violently killing Osama bin Laden in front of his daughter, and a sense of disgrace for what that child must now live through, Tolj said he wanted to express how "media influences our perceptions of values in reality," and sometimes "gives us a superficial depth."
Galerie Michaela Stock
4., Schleifmühlgasse 18
Tue.–Fri., 16:00–19:00, Sat., 11:00–15:00
(01) 920 77 78
The phrase "photo room" hardly describes off-the-beaten-path gallery Foto-Raum. With an immense white, typically New York City-style loft, the space easily lends itself to modern analogue photography. The expansive layout of the one-room gallery is reminiscent of the standard hall in a modern metropolitan art museum.
Foto-Raum owner Andra Spallart and collaborator Fritz Simak collected analogue photography for years, and recently decided to invite Norwegian curator Timothy Persons, of the Helsinki School, to introduce "A Female View" during Vienna Art Week. The exhibition is a balanced mixture of photographic styles ranging from time-lapse and process-oriented modeling, to landscape and nature-inspired photography.
One of the most stunning pieces is a large natural landscape photograph derived from 30 days of shots from the same place overlaid on each other to give a feeling of a dense passing of time.
"We have a real interest in opening the gallery to up-and-coming photographers in Austria because we want to give them a place to be able to show their art, and to keep analogue photography alive," Spallart said.
Through 5 Jan. 2012
18., Theresiengasse 25-27
Mon.–Fri., 10:00–13:00; Thu., 13:00–18:00
Galerie Lisi Hämmerle
Entering a former factory for small optical instruments, a sense of rustic, 1930s production took hold. The three flights of industrial stairs through a labyrinth of corridors eventually led to two small rooms, packed with interested art goers. The atmosphere permeated youth and invigorating artistic spirit, though swanky suits speckled the rooms with intrigue. The exhibition, put on by Austrian curator Lisi Hämmerle, made a point of giving stage room to underrepresented young Austrian artists for Vienna Art Week.
"This space has been occupied by young artists’ studios since 2009, and I thought this was an appropriate time to select some of their art to show, to give them exposure," Hämmerle said. The artiste principal was Bernhard Buhmann, who recently showed his work with Hämmerle in Basel and at the United Arab Emirates gallery Carbon 12 Dubai. Touching on the Vienna Art Week theme, "Reflecting Reality", Buhmann contrasted his work in functional realism with how reality is subjectively perceived.
"We perceive a UFO as real, but we know it can’t work because of physics. It’s like with the European financial crisis, where Merkel and Sarkozy keep pretending the system works, when it’s actually a myriad", Buhmann said. "My art here is trying to touch on that point."
This exhibition will be on display through January 2012 at Galerie Lisi Hämmerle in Bregenz, in Vorarlberg.
For information: www.galerie-lisihaemmerle.at.