November 27, 2014 - Grazer Kunstverein - Christian Friedrich and Will Holder
November 27, 2014

Christian Friedrich and Will Holder

Christian Friedrich, Untitled, 2010–11. DV and found footage transcoded to digital file, colour, mute 15:22 minutes (continuous play). Courtesy the artist and Wilfried Lentz Gallery Rotterdam.

Christian Friedrich: On Something New / Dirt in a Hole
Will Holder: High Energy Bar

6 December 2014–15 February 2015

Opening: 5 December, 7pm

Grazer Kunstverein
Palais Trauttmansdorff
Burggasse 4
8010 Graz, Austria
Hours: Wednesday–Sunday 11–18h

T +43 (0) 316 83 41 41
F +43 (0) 316 83 41 42
office [​at​]

Christian Friedrich: On Something New / Dirt in a Hole
Following the exhibition at Museum de Hallen in Haarlem (NL), the Grazer Kunstverein presents the first solo show in Austria by artist Christian Friedrich (b. 1977, DE). The exhibition titled On Something New / Dirt in a Hole presents an array of works including a newly produced, large-scale sound and light work, an immersive, monumental video installation and a series of earlier sculptures. Friedrich’s artistic interest lies in the structure, manipulation and conditions of subject-object relationships. A common theme in the artist’s work is the subjugation of the human body, which he regularly presents as an object of desire in which power and submission collapse into the subliminal. His earlier drawings and sculptures are informed by cause-and-effect formulas, mining various Conceptual traditions and their quasi-rational methods, both strict and frivolous. 

Friedrich’s exploration of “structure” is felt conceptually as well as physically. His installations employ affective strategies of aesthetic experience that circumvent the spectator’s urge to analyze. The imagery often revolves around private and public agreements, including those between strangers, between artist and muse, and between artist and spectator. For example, for the video work The Stone that the Builder Rejected (2008), Friedrich invited an unsuspecting stranger he contacted via a personal ad to his studio, where the guest was confronted with a strobe-lit scenography that featured the artist himself—hanging immobilized and vulnerable. Untitled (2010–11) juxtaposes imagery exploring paradoxes of freedom and overpowering. Cross-cut motifs, such as a man being electro-shocked in a dungeon, an American flag, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, a Russian monument of WWII and YouTube clips of private fetishisms, rhythmically re-appear causing the video to become structural instead of discursive. This can be said about most of the artist’s work as it often concentrates on the artistic rather than on the referential impact, though without shying away from its references. In the comprehensive sound and light installation On Something New (Dirt in a Hole) the staccato speech of a stutterer is linked to other coded systems of meaning: a light sequence in Morse connected to photographs. All elements of the installation are intertwined in a mysterious lingual and sensory network. The work almost unethically provokes unexpected beauty.

The exhibition is co-produced with De Hallen, Haarlem (NL) and is co-curated by Xander Karskens and Krist Gruijthuijsen. 

The exhibition of Christian Friedrich is generously supported by the Mondriaan Fund, the Netherlands.

The Members Library* presents

Will Holder: High Energy Bar
Will Holder (b. 1969, UK) is a London-based typographer and editor. In a back and forth between writing and speaking, he questions the published states of cultural objects. Holder sees conversation as model and tool for a mutual and improvised set of publishing conditions whereby the usual roles of commissioner, author, subject, editor, printer and typographer are improvised and shared, as opposed to assigned and pre-determined.

At Grazer Kunstverein, Holder takes Walter de Maria’s High Energy Bar (1966, in an infinite edition until the artist’s death) as a prompt to assemble a “materialist inventory” of language produced as a design-function of art objects. De Maria custom-wrote the terms of ownership for each bar’s owner; and, as is natural to conversation, Holder will similarly adapt the language produced around the bar, engaging local universities and other educational institutions with regard to collecting, multiples, ownership, language scoring value etc.
The word “bar” in the title’s service-oriented double-entendre not only sets the tone for mutable definitions of language-objects, but also for the informal, public conditions that can be hoped for in the exhibition space.

The structure for the display is developed in collaboration with artist Chris Evans

Walter de Maria’s High Energy Bar is on loan from mumok, Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien.

On display continuously 

The Peacock
1 February 2013–

A non-stop group show examining the interior of the Grazer Kunstverein by introducing (new) furniture, design, applied and decorative arts that analyze their own functionality. Each year The Peacock will have a specific narrator, who will provide a structural narrative to the works on display. Artist and writer Angie Keefer is invited to shape the storyline for 2014.

On display
6 December 2014–15 February 2015
Nina Beier, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Ben Kinmont*, Germaine Kruip, Nicolás Paris, Will Stuart and Barbara Visser

* New addition

Ian Wilson
1 February 2013–

Please check our website for regular updates on our program. For further information, please contact office [​at​]

Grazer Kunstverein is structurally supported by the city of Graz, the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Art and Culture, the province of Styria, Legero | and its members. 

Christian Friedrich and Will Holder at Grazer Kunstverein
Grazer Kunstverein
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