September 4, 2018 - Belvedere 21 - Polly Apfelbaum: Happiness Runs
September 4, 2018

Belvedere 21

Polly Apfelbaum, Face (Geometry)( Naked) Eyes, 2016. Installation view at Ben Maltz Gallery, Otis College of Art and Design, LA, CA. Courtesy the artist, Galerie nächst St. Stephan, Alexander Gray Associates and Frith Street Gallery.

Polly Apfelbaum
Happiness Runs
September 7, 2018–January 13, 2019

Belvedere 21
Arsenalstrasse 1
1030 Vienna
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11am–6pm,
Thursday–Friday 11am–9pm

T +43 1 795570
Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

The Belvedere 21 in Vienna is pleased to present American artist Polly Apfelbaum’s first solo exhibition in an Austrian museum. Apfelbaum’s holistic composition comprising carpets handwoven in Mexico enters into a dialogue with the open, modern architecture of the building.

A characteristic feature of Polly Apfelbaum’s multifaceted oeuvre is a hybrid aesthetic that merges traditions from sculpture, painting, arts and crafts, design and installation. The artist draws on a plethora of media to break down the barriers between art and craft. She experiments with ceramic, textiles, paper and handwoven carpets. Since the 1990s, Apfelbaum has used the floor as a surface on which to present her ‘Fallen Paintings’.

Colour, both visually and formally, is a key element in Polly Apfelbaum’s creative work. Themes such as feminism and spirituality, quotations from the history of art, as well as references to popular prints and comics are intrinsic to her art. The exploration of artistic role models like Gene Davis, Morris Louis and Andy Warhol or the examination of stylistic influences like Colour Field Painting, Pop Art, Abstract Expressionism and Minimal Art are sometimes obvious and sometimes barely perceptible. The artist connects various thoughts and narrative threads, combining these components into new, independent works. Her pieces are poised on the boundary between abstraction and narration yet deny any definite attribution.

Polly Apfelbaum’s site-specific works enter into a dialogue with their surroundings, the venue and the architecture. Apfelbaum’s intent exploration of space, colour, form and materiality finds its logical progression at the Belvedere 21. Here, the artist is particularly interested in the history of the space – a late-modern building originally designed as the pavilion for the 1958 Expo in Brussels, which was then dismantled and transported to Vienna. Similarly, her work is also about relocating, transplanting and connecting fragments.

Apposite to this year’s motto at the Belvedere 21, ‘Spirit of ’68’, the title of the exhibition is based on the Donovan song Happiness Runs in a Circular Motion from 1968. The simple, forceful form of the canon can also be applied to the exhibition. With Happiness Runs, the artist is adorning this large, ample space for the first time, almost exclusively using carpet works laid on the floor. Visitors can walk on and experience the installations (without shoes). The artist thereby enables them to immerse themselves in these woven colour fields. The exhibition should be understood as an open space for contemplation and as a friendly invitation to participate.

Polly Apfelbaum was born in Abington, Pennsylvania (USA), in 1955. She studied painting at the Tyler School of Art, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, and at Purchase College, State University of New York. International exhibitions since the 1980s; works in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Whitney Museum, New York, Brooklyn Museum, New York, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and many more. The artist lives and works in New York.

An illustrated catalogue with texts by Patricia Grzonka, Johanna Hofer, Kate McNamara, Robert Nickas and Stella Rollig will accompany the exhibition.

To commemorate the exhibition Polly Apfelbaum. Happiness Runs, the edition A Potential was developed in close collaboration with the artist. This limited edition (25 copies) revisits the subject of Polly Apfelbaum’s 2017 work The Potential of Women and translates it into a colourful composition in enamel on metal. It is available from 6 September 2018 at the Belvedere 21. More Information you will find here.

Director and curator: Stella Rollig
Press contact: Irene Jäger / presse21 [​at​] / T +43 1 79 557-185
Press material: (texts, images, and films for download under PRESS)

Belvedere 21
Share - Polly Apfelbaum
Happiness Runs
  • Share
Click to subscribe to e-flux and be the first to receive the latest news on international exhibitions and all e-flux related announcements
Subscribe to e-flux
Be the first to receive the latest news on international exhibitions and all e-flux related announcements.
Subscribe to architecture
Explore the most recent content from e-flux architecture and urbanism
Subscribe to e-flux programs
Keep up-to-date on all upcoming talks, screenings, and exhibitions at e-flux in New York