Furniture to ponder: The art of living space
Gallery Run: Apr, 2012
The sleek spaces of Modernist living rooms had functional furnishings that married the utilitarian and the aesthetic. Recently, with 2012’s revived interest in the artists of the Secession and the Wiener Werkstätte, these qualities are back at the fore, featured in exhibits all over Vienna. Artists pinpoint issues like class and cultural divisions that symbolically "inhabit" historical interiors.
Heidrun Holzfeld-Strictly Private
At the Bawag Contemporary, through 1 April, Austrian artist Heidrun Holzfeld explores Modernist living spaces through photography, sculpture, wall projections, and video interviews, illustrating the relationship of people to their architectural surroundings.
Before Bawag Contemporary was a gallery, it housed a tile and ceramics company, belonging to the company Brüder Schwadron, whose eldest son, Ernst, became an architect and husband to artist Erna Lederer. Holzfeld weaves their historic narrative into her on-site works in the gallery. Carpet is a rug made of wool in the design of Erna Lederer-Schwadron. Chimney Piece literally references a smokestack and Minimalist sculpture, converting the gallery into a hearth. Beyond the private walls of the gallery and Viennese history, the artist brings the viewer to Newark in her video piece Collonade Park, where she interviews the inhabitants of a building by the Bauhaus master Mies van der Rohe.
Then, over the Mexican border, she interviewed activists from the student uprisings at the campus of Universidad Nacional Autonóma de Mexico in 1968. From the private comfort of Bawag Contemporary, Heidrun Holzfeld’s living rooms transport the viewer around the world.
1., Franz-Josefs-Kai 3,
Gallery Lisa Ruyter:
From Lotte Lyon’s Souterrain to Tamuna Sirbiladze’s Naked Ground
American artist Lisa Ruyter’s gallery has no name, just a black dot as its emblem, that serves as an invitation to the space on Kantgasse near the Stadtpark in the 1st District. The gallery functions as a hub for international exchange between Austria and American discourses. In February, furniture seemed to have a mind of its own when Lotte Lyon playfully interpreted the meaning of a "Souterrain" in the spacious architecture of the gallery through Minimalist sculptural interventions. A section of the wall was pinstriped and gridded with turquoise paint and the basement seemed to have prison cellar bars or be a piece by the abstract minimalist Daniel Buren. From March through May, the gallery is collaborating with the Viennese gallery Charim that will showcase Naked Ground by Tamuna Sirbiladze, a Georgian artist who lives and works in Vienna, papering the gallery with large, wild oil-stick wall paintings.
Gallerie Lisa Ruyter
1., Kantgasse 3/20
(01) 505 6100
Wed.–Fri., 15:00–19:00; Sat., 14:00–18:00
Meyer Kainer: Hallo Aber
Fresh from the Bonner Kunstverein, Hallo Aber is a collaboratve exhibition of Berlin-based artists, Michaela Meise and Annette Kelm, on view until May at Galerie Meyer Kainer.
It’s a show thoroughly in line with Kainer’s reputation for exhibiting work that is both contemporary and playful. One of Annette Kelm’s C-prints depicts a vase filled with poppies on a neon pink background. Somehow the campy colours of the print radiate the same sterile sleekness of an advertisement. In effect, she reinvents traditional notions of a still life. Almost like a reverse Natura Morta painting, instead of representing decaying flowers and vegetables, the image seems too flamboyant to be true.
At the same time, Kelm photographs objects as portraits, and her photographs of magnetic dust converse with Michaela Meise’s sculptural creatures. Meise’s colourful wood sculptures with diminutive names like Foetus or Erbse (fetus or pea) hide in corners and on pedestals, transforming the gallery into a living room for the wooden babies with wall decoration by Annette Kelm. This is an exhibition for the spring season, aesthetically light and easy on the eyes. Although some go too far: One of Meise’s sculptures has a bright candy violet lacquer, whose feigned sweetness leaves an aftertaste a little too sugary for comfort.
Gallerist Meyer Kainer also represents Franz West, Gelitin, and Liam Gillick and has organized the Austrian Pavilion for the Venice Biennale.
Galerie Meyer Kainer
1., Eschenbachgasse 9
Tue.–Fri., 11:00–18:00; Sat., 11:00–15:00
(01) 585 7277