March 21, 2019 - Kunsthalle Wien - Peter Friedl: Teatro
March 21, 2019

Kunsthalle Wien

Peter Friedl, Theory of Justice (detail), 1992–2010. Newspaper clippings, display cases (steel, Plexiglas, plywood), each 100 x 160 x 75 cm. Installation view Miami Art Central, 2007. Collection Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid. Courtesy of the artist.

Peter Friedl
March 22–June 9, 2019

Opening: March 21, 7pm

Kunsthalle Wien
Museumsquartier, Museumsplatz 1
1070 Vienna
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Peter Friedl’s multifaceted works manifest a heterogeneous approach to media and styles. His projects are exemplary suggestions or solutions to aesthetic problems regarding our political and historical consciousness. In pursuit of new narrative models, they explore both the construction and limitations of representation by applying conceptual strategies such as contextual transfers and reinterpretations of genres from the history of modernity.

Model, language, translation, history, and theatricality are recurring themes within Friedl’s wide-ranging, politically and aesthetically poignant oeuvre presented in his exhibition Teatro at Kunsthalle Wien.

The centerpiece of Teatro is the film installation Report (2016), first presented at documenta 14 (2017). Based on Kafka’s short story “A Report to an Academy,” Friedl develops a complex and cinematographically opulent reflection on the interplay between identity and language, as well as assimilation and autonomy, by addressing the self-representational musings of the protagonist ape named Red Peter and his integration into human society. The cast comprises more than twenty actors who recite excerpts from Kafka’s text, either in their respective first languages or in languages of their choosing (Arabic, Dari, English, French, Greek, Kurdish, Russian, and Kiswahili). Only the original language, Kafka’s Prague German, is missing. The setting is the empty stage of the National Theater of Greece in Athens.

Works such as The Dramatist (Black Hamlet, Crazy Henry, Giulia, Toussaint) (2013) and Teatro Popular (2016–17) recall the topos of theatricality but concentrate on the concept of model. Drawing on traditional forms of puppet theater, both The Dramatist and Teatro Popular are model assemblages for potential counter-narratives to modernity.

Rehousing, a project started in 2012, comprises highly detailed, true-to-scale architectural models of historical structures, in some cases destroyed or designs never realized. The chosen houses represent living environments as diverse reflections on history, politics, biographies and ideologies; as “case studies for a kind of mental geography relating to an alternative strain of modernity.” (Friedl)

On occasion of the exhibition in Vienna, two new models have been created: Winnie and Nelson Mandela’s former home in Soweto (8115 Vilakazi Street), which has since been transformed into a museum, and one of the container-like prefabricated houses that made up Amona—the cleared Israeli outpost in Palestinian territories on the West Bank.

The exhibition also features older pieces such as Dummy (1997), a video first shown at documenta X, or the long-term project Theory of Justice (1992–2010). Both raise the problematization of fictions of justice while employing very different formal strategies. 

The exhibition will be on view at the Carré d’Art, Musée d’art contemporain de Nîmes from October 25, 2019–March 1, 2020.

Friedl’s work has been exhibited worldwide, including at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; and Hamburger Kunsthalle. Friedl participated in documenta X, 12, and 14 (1997, 2007, 2017); the 48th and 56th Venice Biennale (1999, 2015); the 3rd Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art (2004); Manifesta 7, Trento (2008); the 7th Gwangju Biennale (2008); the 28th Bienal de São Paulo (2008); La Triennale, Paris (2012); the Taipei Biennial (2012, 2016); the 10th Shanghai Biennale (2014); the 5th Thessaloniki Biennale (2015); and the 1st Anren Biennale (2017). Currently, his work is on view at Sharjah Biennial 14. Selected solo exhibitions include OUT OF THE SHADOWS, Witte de With, Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam (2004); Work 1964–2006, Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona; Miami Art Central; Musée d’Art Contemporain; Marseille (2006–07); Blow Job, Extra City Kunsthal, Antwerp (2008); Working, Kunsthalle Basel (2008); Peter Friedl, Sala Rekalde, Bilbao (2010); The Dramatist, Artspace, Auckland, (2014); The Diaries, Grazer Kunstverein, Graz (2016), and Teatro Popular, Lumiar Cité, Lisbon (2017).

Curators: Anne Faucheret, Vanessa Joan Müller

Kunsthalle Wien
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