Press conversation: 29 Janaury, 2010, 11 am
Lecture: 27 Janaury, 2010, 7 pm, Städelschule, auditorium

The Portikus in Frankfurt is proud to present an exhibition featuring the work of the Los Angeles-based artist Mathias Poledna (b. Vienna, 1965). The exhibition marks the first time this new filmic spatial installation is shown to the public by itself.

The point of departure for Poledna’s work is a crystal glassware set designed by Adolf Loos (1870–1933) and first manufactured in 1929 by the Viennese glassmakers L&J Lobmeyr. The so-called “bar set” consists of twelve individual pieces: a fingerbowl, a champagne flute, a beer glass, a wine decanter, a water pitcher, a water glass, a double Old Fashioned whiskey tumbler, and red wine, white wine, dessert wine, sherry, and liqueur glasses. In contradistinction to traditional glass services of the era, whose individual pieces are usually quite different, each adapted to its particular purpose, and typically adorned with highly detailed decorations, all pieces in Loos’s bar set are based on a single highly reduced basic shape: a fully rounded glass with a flat bottom and sides at a right angle to the floor. The service’s individual components can be understood as “variations” on this motif; their shapes are adapted to their intended purposes, but differences between them are limited to the exact ratio between the height and the diameter of a glass. Loos realizes his philosophical ideas about the progress of culture in the simplicity and precision of the bar set’s formal design. Yet unlike other comparable approaches to design of the same era, Loos combines formal reductionism and the absence of all ornamentation with the utmost refinement in the use of the material and the execution. The bottoms of these mouth-blown glasses, which are ground and polished by hand, bear diamond-cut facets, a fine-grained grid-like pattern that creates the subtlest scintillation. It would be difficult, however, to recognize this cultural-historical background in the work itself; to the contrary, it has been, as it were, compartmentalized, removed from the filmic representation and replaced by a spatial narrative of transparency, texture, absence, and motion. In the interplay between typological recording, detail shot, and shifting dramaturgy, this representation aims at a sort of choreography of objects that explores boundaries and transitions between abstraction, historical documentation, and the hyperaesthetic mise-en-scène of a commercial product.

Exhibitions (solo): 2009: Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn (with Christopher Williams); New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; 2007: Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Cologne; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; 2006: Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam; Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Cologne; 2005: Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles; 2004: Galerie Meyer Kainer, Vienna; 2003: Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Wien; 2002: Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles; 2001: Grazer Kunstverein.

Group exhibitions (selection): 2010: Modernologies, Warsaw Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; 2009: Modernologies, Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Barcelona; See This Sound, Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz; Rock—Paper—Scissors: Pop Music as the Subject in Contemporary Art, Kunsthaus Graz; Memories of the Future, Galerie Václava Spály, Prague; 2008: Yokohama Triennial, Yokohama, Japan; Transes, Musée départemental d’art contemporain, Rochechouart; 2007: Collection, Generali Foundation, Vienna; Perspektive 07, Lenbachhaus, Munich; How Soon is Now, Fundació Luís Seoane, La Coruña; Archaeologies of the Future, Sala Rekalde, Bilbao; 2006: Whitney Biennial 2006: Day for Night, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Why Pictures Now, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna; Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Cologne, Metro Pictures, New York; 2005: Occupying Space. Collection Generali Foundation, Haus der Kunst, Munich; I really should …, Lisson Gallery, London; 2004: Liverpool Biennial 2004, Tate Liverpool; 20/20 Vision, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; 3rd Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art, Kunstwerke Berlin; 2003: Mixtapes, CCAC Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco; Adorno. Die Möglichkeit des Unmöglichen, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt am Main

For further information and for guided tours of the exhibition please contact info@portikus.de

We would like to thank the Deutsche Bank Stiftung for their generous support.
The aim of the Deutsche Bank Stiftung’s activities is to support people who seek to grow beyond themselves—to facilitate the transformation of talent into ability and the creation of lasting impulses for society through a commitment to individual projects. From the Polish Art Prize ‘Views’ across individual exhibitions to the endowment of the ‘Deutsche Bank Stiftung Young Art Prize’: support for the arts constitutes a core element of our commitment. Like the Deutsche Bank Collection, we focus on contemporary art. Deutsche Bank previously supported Mathias Poledna’s 3M project at the New Museum, New York, in 2009.

For more information: www.deutsche-bank.de/csr , www.deutsche-bank-stiftung.de and www.db-artmag.com

We would also like to thank the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture for their generous support.


Director: Daniel Birnbaum
Curator: Melanie Ohnemus

Alte Bruecke 2 / Maininsel
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