Blue Times

Blue Times

Kunsthalle Wien

Irma Blank, Radical Writings, Schrift-Atem-Bild 18-1-93, 1993. Courtesy the artist and P420, Bologna.

September 22, 2014

Blue Times
1 October 2014–11 January 2015 

Opening: September 30, 7pm 

Kunsthalle Wien Museumsquartier
Museumsplatz 1
1070 Vienna
Hours: Friday–Wednesday 10am–7pm, 
Thursday 10am–9pm 
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Blue Times is a group exhibition featuring more than 30 international artists who present positions dealing with the meanings of the colour blue in different eras and contexts. Through investigating the various connotations of the colour blue, the exhibition sets forth transversal ways of approaching the world of art, of images and of representations. 

In the West, the omnipresence of blue in the domain of public design and private comfort is rooted in its popularity: 80% of the people consider it their favourite colour. Hence, blue is both the perfect instrument to control minds and bodies and a tool to trace gender, class and political belongings. Blue is the anti-communist colour par excellence. Blue was also chosen as the colour of the European Union, selected to symbolise unity in difference, as well as the capacity to unite in consensus. 

The exhibition presents two positions: one that mirrors the overwhelming character of blue, and the other, correlated position, investigates its socio-political function as it shifted towards a certain conformist politics of representation. EU (2011–14) by Dutch artist Remco Torenbosch features utterances of different blue shades that circulate in the monolithic European Union, presumably symbolising alliance. The diverse shades are meant to subtly evoke the discrepancy between a fictionalised unified Europe and its cracking political reality. Under the title China (2012), Lebanese artist Raed Yassin exhibits a series of seven porcelain vases investigating Lebanon’s struggle to come to terms with the aftermath of its civil war.

For artist and filmmaker Derek Jarman, blue is a filter in absentia: touched by the HIV virus, he was not able to see the colour blue anymore. He dedicated pop odes to the colour, particularly in the eponymous film Blue. Of course, French artist Yves Klein’s famous International Klein Blue (IKB), which shifted the discourse of the authenticity of the pure idea and the validation of art as creation is reiterated by being displayed on a long mural by Liam Gillick. Lawrence Weiner’s in-situ piece OUT OF THE BLUE plays with the immaterial dimension of the colour blue as well as its presence in or infiltration into our idiomatic language to convey mood and emotions, and can be read as an ironic comment on the whole exhibition endeavour. 

In conjunction with the exhibition is Blue Salon, a rich and open source replete with ideas and materials related to the multifaceted perceptions and connotations of the colour blue—where the presented objects and images are to be seen as conversation pieces. 

Participating artists: Saâdane Afif, Billy Apple, Nadia Belerique, Irma Blank, Edith Dekyndt, Simon Denny, Sylvie Fleury, Peter Friedl, Ryan Gander, Liam Gillick, Derek Jarman, Toril Johannessen, Chris Kabel, Tobias Kaspar, Yves Klein, Walt Kuhn, Edgar Leciejewski, Goshka Macuga, Jonathan Monk, Alex Morrison, Otto Neurath, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Prinz Gholam, Walid Raad, Mark Raidpere, De Rijke / De Rooij, Willem de Rooij, Pamela Rosenkranz, Julia Scher, Société Réaliste, Michael Staniak, Hito Steyerl, Derek Sullivan, Walter Swennen, Remco Torenbosch, Lidwien van de Ven, Lawrence Weiner, Raed Yassin, a.o.

Curators: Amira Gad (guest curator of Blue Times, exhibitions curator at Serpentine Galleries, London), Nicolaus Schafhausen (Director, Kunsthalle Wien) 

Publication: A publication by Sternberg Press will accompany the exhibition, analysing the key terms surrounding the topic blue from a cultural theoretical perspective. 

Events: A series of events will take place over the course of the exhibition. Please consult the Kunsthalle Wien website regularly for more information:

#Blue / #KunsthalleWien / #WienKultur 

Katharina Murschetz: T +43 (0) 1 5 21 89 1221 / katharina.murschetz [​at​] 
Stefanie Obermeir: T +43 (0) 1 5 21 89 1224 / presse [​at​]

Kunsthalle Wien presents Blue Times
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September 22, 2014

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