IG Bildende Kunst; Galerie Meyer Kainer; Galerie Mezzanin
Gallery Run: Who’s hanging what at Vienna’s venues
Vienna may have a civilized facade, but under the surface, like all big cities, issues of inequality, racial and gender bias, minorities and similar concerns slowly solder away. A number of the city’s galleries have devoted their space to showing art that speaks to the less accepted sides of life.
IG Bildende Kunst
A small gallery on Gumpendorferstrae, the IG is a modest affair, but what it lacks in space, it makes up in outlook. Self-proclaimed home of visual and installation artists in Vienna, the gallery views itself as an initiator of cultural and socio-political debate – an arena for artists to provoke dialogue.
Posters for the current exhibition, "The Revolution will be Televised (and broadcast on the Internet)" are certainly provocative. Eight television screens, each playing something different, were set up at various angles throughout the room. On one, the static picture of a couch flickered on and off, on another, a local news story was being announced, on a third, a girl perched on a stool in the nude uttering long sentences on philosophy.
On one wall, a black and white hexagonal image was being projected. The initial reaction is confusion, along with an overwhelming urge to turn all the TV screens in one direction, but this exhibit is one part of a series of events, which include live performances, a discussion on the Iranian "green revolution" and relevant screenings. Curated by Chilo Eribenne, this exhibit involves 15 other artists of Vienna, many of whom have produced short films and documentaries to be "televised" through this exhibit. Eribenne says that, through this exhibit, he wanted to liberate viewers from their various states of mental and social oppression, and the visual work emphasises the need for freedom and peace of mind.
Eribenne explains, "this exhibition highlights phenomena like the slumbering café societies that wear protest as a fashion, within the media of mind control, religion, pop culture, the internet, the exploitation of the ‘other’ as well as the sexualisation of death, bad news and fear as a form of control."
Still, there is a bit of "wearing protest as a fashion" here. Future exhibits at the IG Bildende Kunst include the Hildegard Sculpture Project and the Intervention Art Project, which focuses on counter-intuitive historical story telling.
But the Gallery is a pleasingly odd little find in the 6th District, for those with a taste for Vienna’s "alternative" art scene.
IG Bildende Kunst
6., Gumpendorferstraße 10-12
(01) 524 09 09
Galerie Meyer Kainer
With four exhibition rooms, and an in-house bar, Gallery Meyer Kainer is a strong player on the art scene in Vienna. More interesting however is the fact that this gallery is housed in a former beer hall, and the stone walls and arched enclaves have been preserved in certain areas of the space. Meyer Kainer’s primary focus is progressive contemporary art and has an impressive list of supporting artists as its progeny. International artists including relatively famous names like John Bock, Liam Gillick, and Olaf Breuning have all been exhibited at this gallery.
Different in its attitude from IG Bildende Kunst above, Meyer Kainer is the high-end version of a politically inclined art space. Arguably one of the edgiest in terms of both its interiors and its selection of artwork, this gallery manages to retain an aura of class and timelessness through the diverse range of work and artists that come and go. Currently exhibiting Verena Dengler, Liam Gillick, Siggi Hofer and Stefan Sandner.
Galerie Meyer Kainer
1., Eschenbachgasse 9
(01) 585 72 77
When it comes to thinking out of the box, one locus of cutting-edge contemporary is the Gallery Mezzanin, located on Getreidemarkt in the 1st District. According to one of its curators, Gallery Mezzanin seeks out emerging trends and exhibits art pieces that showcase them. In a generally "play-it-safe" art scene in Vienna, this Gallery is known for taking aesthetic risks by playing host to elaborate installations, flamboyant sculptural works, and shocking visual pieces.
Through March, Gallery Mezzanin is exhibiting works of German artist Alexander Wolff who represents biographies, contexts and social environments through fabric, materials, and colour, and uses techniques previously employed in disciplines outside of traditional painting. Another exhibition ahead is the show by Christina Zurfluh in May. Born in Switzerland and living in Vienna, she takes painting and sculpting out of their natural habitats. A must-see.
1., Getreidemarkt 14
(01) 526 43 56