November 21, 2019 - Belvedere 21 - Eva Grubinger: Malady of the Infinite
November 21, 2019

Belvedere 21

Installation view Eva Grubinger. Malady of the Infinite. Photo: Johannes Stoll. © Belvedere, Vienna.

Eva Grubinger
Malady of the Infinite
November 22, 2019–April 23, 2020

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

T +43 1 795570
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Eva Grubinger’s solo show at the Belvedere 21 paints a picture of structural inequality, of infinite desire with no prospect of satisfaction for rich or poor, tycoon or pirate. Power and impotence face off against each other on the high seas.

The cockpit sticks up in the air, the hull is already under water. In spite of this, the superyacht dominates the space, held in check only by several mines that protrude from the floor, as if floating on the ocean. It is Eva Grubinger’s artistic trademark to defamiliarize and activate objects via enlargement, change of material, reduction, or decontextualization. Here, too, these means are used to create a sculptural scene combining poetic lightness with real political relevance.

The exhibition also reflects a sociopolitical and psychosocial mood known as anomie, a situation in which societal norms are weakened or entirely lacking, giving no moral orientation. In this way, the dominance of global capitalism, paired with neoliberalism, creates a lack of solidarity that runs through all strata of society. This is accompanied by the notion of a boundless horizon of possibilities that promises all individuals self-determination and self-realization, but which ultimately leads to an unlimited longing that cannot be satisfied in material terms and that grows ever stronger. Sociologist Émile Durkheim speaks in this context of a “malady of the infinite.”

Grubinger articulates this mood via a luxury object that neither functions nor satisfies. Even the yacht—a symbol of power, dominance, autonomy, and advanced capitalism—is not immune to the dangers posed by those with nothing left to lose. For not only the superrich suffer the malady of the infinite. Even the middle classes have fallen victim to the neoliberal wish machine. They are now in existential crisis, hollowed out by the resulting economic injustice. And the precariat is increasingly frustrated by ever more obvious inequality, leading it to turn its back on ethical behavior.

Grubinger’s sculptural ensemble conveys a feeling of tension and grim foreboding. The ocean as a setting makes room for contradictory associations including conquest, colonialism, desire, and freedom. Where not only leisure activities like sailing and travel taken place, but also fishing, transport, piracy, and human trafficking, Grubinger stages a conflict of power and powerlessness. Malady of the Infinite paints a picture of structural inequality, of endless longing with no hope of fulfillment for rich or poor, for tycoons or pirates. With this exhibition, the artist creates a striking parable on our fraught times

Eva Grubinger was born in Salzburg (AT) in 1970 and lives in Berlin (DE). Her work has recently been exhibited at the Busan Biennale (KR), at the Bloomberg Space, London (GB); at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (GB); at Witte de With, Rotterdam (NL); at the Marrakech Biennale (MA); at Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, IL (US); at Galerie Vermelho, Sao Paulo (BR); at the ZKM, Karlsruhe (DE); at Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TW), and at the Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (DE); among others.

Curator: Severin Dünser

Press contact: Irene Jäger / presse21 [​at​] / T +43 1 79 557-185

Press material:

Belvedere 21
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Malady of the Infinite
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