Diana Al-Hadid, Utopian Pulse, Cinthia Marcelle

Diana Al-Hadid, Utopian Pulse, Cinthia Marcelle


Cinthia Marcelle, The Tempest, 2014. Photograph. Courtesy of the artist.

August 26, 2014

Diana Al-Hadid: The Fates
Cinthia Marcelle: Dust Never Sleeps

September 11–November 2, 2014

Opening: September 10, 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


Diana Al-Hadid
The Fates
Diana Al-Hadid’s sculptures, drawings, and panels merge figuration and abstraction and employ a range of materials, from steel and fiberglass, to gold leaf and pigment. Al-Hadid’s work often references history, whether through its architecture or references of Old Master painting. 

Her latest body of work, The Fates, exhibited at Secession, further develops these visual interests, and consists of three large sculptures and two inset panels. Drawing inspiration for these works from European Renaissance and Mannerist paintings, Al-Hadid’s three-dimensional interpretations incorporate the landscapes, poses, and compositions of earlier masterpieces. At times, the references are visible, while at others, they hide behind Al-Hadid’s surprising use of medium and sculptural method. She blurs flatness and spatial depth, past and present, and the line between decay and construction

In conjunction with The Fates an artist’s book will be published showing the process through which the eponymous exhibition and its works have developed.

Diana Al-Hadid was born in Aleppo (Syria) in 1981 and grew up in Ohio (USA). She lives and works in New York City.

Invited by the board of the Secession
Curator: Annette Südbeck

A research project by Ines Doujak and Oliver Ressler
In collaboration with a group of artist-curators

We understand “Utopia” as an always incomplete alternative, the invocation within the given world of something incompatible with, and hostile to, given conditions. It is a negation of the given and a recognition of “something missing,” but also a necessarily imperfect assertion of that which is not—yet.

The project follows utopian projections that serve the purposes of secession from and resistance to our particular present. The “negative” or “critical” version of the utopian “impulse” is not just a matter of satire, or listing what’s wrong with the world as though listing it could change it. Utopia, rather, is the assertion of the unrealized in and against the real.

UTOPIAN PULSE – FLARES IN THE DARKROOM as an exhibition at the Secession will be divided into seven salons and brings together cultural producers who have substantial artistic and curatorial practices. Over two months they will show and discuss works of other artists in the gallery of the Secession in Vienna every week. The contributions of the individual artist-curators will not be shown sequentially, but will productively interact with one another. The outcomes—whatever their form—will constitute a collective challenge to the constituent roles of social actors within the field of art in more complex ways than simply as “artists,” “curators,” and “viewers,” in order to imagine new forms of exchange.

The sequence of exhibitions at the Secession consists of Salon Public Happiness (curated by Christoph Schäfer, September 11–16), Salon-E-Girdbad [Salon of the Whirlwind] (curated by Mariam Ghani, September 17–23), Salon Orizzonti Occupati (curated by Bert Theis, September 24 – 30), Salon Fluchthilfe (curated by Zanny Begg, October 1–7), Salon DADADA (AND AND AND with Ben Morea, October 8–14), Cuartos de Utopía (curated by Pedro G. Romero/Máquina P.H., October 15–21) and Salón de Belleza (curated by Miguel A. López, October 22–November 2). 

Funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), AR 183-G21.


Cinthia Marcelle
Dust Never Sleeps
For her installation Dust Never Sleeps, Cinthia Marcelle transforms the Secession’s Grafisches Kabinett into a deserted chamber. The room’s walls and floors are coated throughout with deep black dust that renders the ravages of time and incipient dilapidation distinctly visible and palpable. The visitors are restricted to a narrow passage clearly set off from the installation’s thick layer of soot; the demarcation at once also defines interior and exterior spaces. The intervention was inspired by the artist’s research into the history of the art nouveau building, which was struck by a bomb during World War II and largely destroyed.

Marcelle has often staged situations and performative actions in public spaces for interventions that transmute mundane acts into poetic events. Video and photography serve her as artistic means of documentation. The ruin as an allegory of history divorced from any idea of beauty is a trope she already explored in the video O Século (The Century, 2011; with Tiago Mata Machado). Her work also refers to Walter Benjamin’s conception of history as a process of inexorable decline.

An artist’s book featuring a series of frottages created specifically for this occasion, a reproduction of Giorgione’s La Tempesta, and an essay by Emilio Maciel will be published in conjunction with the exhibition.

Cinthia Marcelle was born in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in 1974. She lives and works in São Paulo.

Invited by the board of the Secession
Curator: Jeanette Pacher

Press conference: September 10, 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 September 10: www.secession.at/presse

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

Diana Al-Hadid, Utopian Pulse, Cinthia Marcelle at Secession, Vienna
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August 26, 2014

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