April 10, 2015 - Secession - Josef Strau and Kristin Oppenheim
April 10, 2015

Josef Strau and Kristin Oppenheim

Kristin Oppenheim, Where Did You Sleep Last Night, 2015. LP cover. Published by Secession, Vienna. © Secession, Kristin Oppenheim, Heimann and Schwantes.

Josef Strau: A Turtle Dreaming (… Echoes from an Encapsulated Space Exiled Sounds of Letters Requiring Symphonic Treatment)
Kristin Oppenheim: Echo

April 24–June 21, 2015

Opening: April 23, 7pm

Friedrichstraße 12
A-1010 Vienna
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–6pm

T +43 1 587 53 07 11
F +43 1 587 53 07 34
office [​at​] secession.at 


Josef Strau
A Turtle Dreaming (… Echoes from an Encapsulated Space Exiled Sounds of Letters Requiring Symphonic Treatment)

Josef Strau’s experimental artistic practice is anchored in the written word. In his installations, he contrasts fairly restrained architectural structures with often large quantities of text. Recurring formats for his linkages between text and object are pamphlets on lamps from flea markets, illuminated manuscripts, and printed and handwritten texts on posters and canvases. The texts themselves are marked by a typographical play with text and gaps as well as by Strau’s specific style of writing, which nimbly and playfully tracks his stream of consciousness. Oscillating between the important and the unimportant, he interweaves everyday stories of urban scenes with intimate revelations and literary motifs. 

Strau says about his exhibition at the Secession: “It is another exercise in extemporaneous production. The show will contain four exhibitions, although each one of them will not appear executed in the form of its still fictional completeness. They will appear as if abruptly abandoned in mid-production, either by consequence of an interrupted process, or somehow metaphorically, as if the artist had disappeared at one moment during the intense preparation period before his institutional one-person show. This gives rise to a ‘romantic’ mode of interruption, or also of the compositional form of aleatoric deletions, or rather, a work with such musical or text motives rather than with themes, that determines the form for all the other parts of production presented in the exhibition.” 

Josef Strau is known for his shifting roles as gallerist, curator, writer, musician, and artist. He has written not only in most of his art productions, but also for numerous publications, catalogues, and magazines. His recent solo shows have been on display at the Renaissance Society, Chicago (2014), the Liverpool Biennale (2014), House of Gaga, Mexico City (2013, 2010) and Greene Naftali Gallery, New York (2012).

The artist’s book Josef Strau. Dreaming Turtle will be published in conjunction with the exhibition. 

Josef Strau, born in Vienna in 1957, lives in New York.

Invited by the board of the Secession
Curator: Annette Südbeck

With the generous support of Arbeiterkammer Wien.

Kristin Oppenheim

Kristin Oppenheim is best known for her highly intriguing sound installations. Since the 1990s, she has installed these audio works both in exhibition spaces and outdoors. The American artist associates the mesmerizing sound of the pure singing voice with video, architectural elements, or (swinging) theatrical lights. Her interest in theater, performance, and storytelling is apparent in the specific “staging,” into which the audience is literally immersed. In these “sonic spaces” she addresses issues such as memory, dreamlike states, the presence of absence, or the inner voice. The ghostly presence of the disembodied voice repeating song snippets over and again develops a narrative of great suggestive power.

The artist uses her voice as well as other sound sources as instruments to convey a certain (psychological) mood. She experiments with repetitions, echoes, superimpositions, intonation, and volume to control the impact of the soundtrack or amplify the desired perception of an intimate situation. With this purely auditive form of performance, the actor is not present, but the narrative and melody resonate in the listener’s imagination and become inscribed upon his or her memory.

In Echo, Oppenheim projects a narrative in which sleep, nocturnal waking, dream images play central parts: the exhibition revolves around a mental state different from our everyday consciousness with its focus on functioning—and revolves and revolves and revolves, like the canon-like chant in the sound installation Where Did You Sleep Last Night or the ghostly somnabulistic imagery of the new film installation Ultramarine, which might infiltrate our subconscious like a slow-acting drug.

The LP Where Did You Sleep Last Night? is released in conjunction with the exhibition.

Kristin Oppenheim was born in Honolulu in 1959 and lives and works in New York.

Invited by the board of the Secession
Curator: Jeanette Pacher

Press conference: April 22, 10am
For interview requests and any other questions, please contact katharina.schniebs [​at​] secession.at.

Please find the press releases and images for download here from April 22: www.secession.at/presse

Guided tours: Saturdays at 11 am and 2 pm and by appointment
Permanent presentation: Gustav Klimt Beethoven Frieze


Josef Strau and Kristin Oppenheim at Secession
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