August 28, 2017 - Secession - Nicole Eisenman: Dark Light / Toni Schmale: HOT HOT HOT / Chadwick Rantanen: Ward
August 28, 2017


Nicole Eisenman, 'Merican Night, 2017. Mixed media on paper. Courtesy by the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. Photo: Adam Reich.

Nicole Eisenman: Dark Light
Toni Schmale: HOT HOT HOT
Chadwick Rantanen: Ward
September 14–November 5, 2017

Press conference: September 13, 10am–12pm
Artist talk: September 13, 6–7pm, Nicole Eisenman in conversation with Monika Baer
Opening: September 13, 7–9pm

Friedrichstraße 12
1010 Vienna
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 2–6pm

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Nicole Eisenman
Dark Light

Nicole Eisenman rose to renown in the New York art world in the 1990s as a creator of epic visual universes and inventor of bold, unvarnished, and occasionally shocking tableaus. She surveys the history of modern-era painting with instinctive assurance, rendering fantastic scenes as well as astute observations from everyday life in compelling form. Despite her stylistic versatility—she deliberately thwarts attempts to pigeonhole and fence her in—Eisenman has developed a unique signature style blending classical techniques and compositional forms with influences from underground and popular culture. The private clashes with the political in works that sometimes feature her own friends and acquaintances, a forthrightness that has made her a leading protagonist of the queer art scene.

Most recently, Eisenman caused a stir with her reinterpretation of a baroque fountain for Skulptur Projekte Münster. At the Secession, she presents paintings and drawings from the past year that respond directly to last fall’s U. S. presidential elections. Recalling earlier works in which apocalyptic scenes reflected relations of power and the individual’s impuissance, the new cycle paints a gloomy panorama of America under Donald Trump and a society that, apathetic and absent-minded, is edging ever closer to the abyss.

Nicole Eisenman, born in 1965 in Verdun (France), lives and works in New York City.


Toni Schmale

Encompassing sculptures as well as performative interventions, video pieces, and graphic art, the work of Toni Schmale scrutinizes social power relations and a hegemonic society’s stereotypical gender roles, which she counters with gender-political utopias served up with characteristically sly humor masking radical dauntlessness. Her metal, concrete, and rubber sculptures have the air of a fleet of dysfunctional machines and call up associations of fitness equipment as well as torture instruments, surveying a wide terrain crisscrossed by desires, from the yearning for physical perfection to practices of sexual gratification.

The exhibition HOT HOT HOT presents a series of new sculptural works that were inspired by the artist’s study of the theories of the psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott; she describes them as “transitional objects.” Considerations on the motif of the Doppelgänger are reflected in formal affinities, variations and repetitions between the sculptural works.

A locker calendar designed by the artist will be published in conjunction with the exhibition.

Toni Schmale, born in 1980 in Hamburg, lives and works in Vienna.


Chadwick Rantanen

Utilizing commercial and industrial products in his works, Chadwick Rantanen considers these items as proposals for an intended use. The exploration of these proposals manifests in specific products through an intersectional map of context, aesthetics and function. A product’s common use and its ability to be used otherwise, form a call and response. Thus, while their original purpose is extended, they remain functionally intact, albeit in a slightly disturbed manner. Rantanen has created sculptures, installations and site-specific interventions with neon tubes, tennis balls, plastic buckets, cups and cuckoo clocks, among other things, which often evoke a shift in one’s perception of a space or context.

In his exhibition Ward at the Vienna Secession, Chadwick Rantanen will present a new body of work, which derives from his interest in designs for healthcare facilities and how these environments are engineered to create a specific physical as well as aesthetic experience. Implementing a wallpaper mural as a backdrop for sculptural objects hanging from the ceiling and placed on the floor, the artist creates an environment that oscillates between being dystopian and comforting.

Chadwick Rantanen, born in 1981 in Wausau (Wisconsin, USA), lives and works in Los Angeles.

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Dark Light
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