Ursula Mayer

Belvedere 21

Ursula Mayer, But We Loved Her, 2013. Color photograph. Photo: Amelie Zadeh. © Ursula Mayer.

October 14, 2013

Ursula Mayer
October 13, 2013–January 12, 2014

21er Haus
Arsenalstraße 1
1030 Vienna, Austria
Hours: Wednesday–Thursday 11am–9pm;
Friday–Sunday 11am–6pm;
open on public holidays


“[…] who are we when we are no longer part of a system of description, of objects with which we form sexual dialectics, and images we read, comprehend and therefore believe we ‘know’?”
Patricia MacCormack

BUT WE LOVED HER—the title of Ursula Mayer’s exhibition—comes from a press photo published in the British daily newspaper The Independent on 17 April 2013, the day of Margaret Thatcher’s funeral. In the days following Thatcher’s death, Mayer, who lives in London, collected all the newspaper articles printed on the former prime minister. These four words serve as a programmatic title for Mayer’s first solo museum exhibition in Vienna, but also delineate a working period around which the artist explores the possibilities of a neoliberal identity, the culture of consumerism in a post-capitalist society and its antecedents.

In Mayer’s work, she deals with strategies of cinematic imagery that cement societal norms, with the aim of exposing the construction of these conventional images by deconstructing the language of film. Starting with sources taken from movies, philosophy, politics and culture, Mayer develops a complex fabric of autonomous statements and concepts. The point of departure for BUT WE LOVED HER is a trilogy consisting of the movies GONDA (2012), MEDEA (2013) and the 16mm double projection Cinesexual (2013), featuring the model Valentijn de Hingh and the musician JD Samson, who embody versions of such diverse figures as Ayn Rand, Medea, and Jason, and eventually are united under the influence of Michael Snow. The scripts, written by Maria Fusco and Patricia MacCormack (whose concept of Cinesexuality serves as the basis for Mayer’s approach), are adapted from original source material and embroil visitors in the sensual world of cinematic narrative, while foregrounding the role of the beholders and their prerogative to interpretation.

BUT WE LOVED HER deals with questions of individualism and personal freedom, and how our self-contained natures and emotions link to human self-destruction. Mayer creates a cinematographic setting for the 21er Haus that, beyond the limits of cinematic works, synthesizes objects, sculptures, collages and photos into a tangible frame of reference and action. Mayer propagates an open and unbiased space that underlines, in particular, the coincidental nature of social roles. This is embedded in the exhibition display, developed in cooperation with the Berlin-based architect Roger Bundschuh, as cinematic and artistic methods are reflected upon, challenging traditional thought patterns in order to develop productive approaches for the future.

About the artist
Ursula Mayer (A/UK) lives and works in London. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna and at Goldsmiths College, London. Ursula Mayer has exhibited in major art festivals and institutions such as Performa 11, New York; 11th Baltic Triennial at CAC Vilnius, Vilnius, 2nd Athens Biennale, Athens, Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Tramway, Glasgow; The Banff Centre, Alberta; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Kunstverein Hamburg; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Whitechapel Gallery, London; LUX/ICA Biennial of Moving Images, ICA, London; SculptureCenter, New York; Transmission Gallery, Glasgow; MoMA PS1, New York; Garage, Moscow; Swiss Institute, New York; Kunsthalle Basel. www.ursulamayer.com

Curated by 
Bettina Steinbrügge

The Ursula Mayer exhibition is accompanied by a catalog (English/German) with texts by authors including Diedrich Diederichsen, Maria Fusco, Jutta Koether, Patricia MacCormack, Bettina Steinbrügge and Ian White, designed by APFEL (A Practice for Everyday Life) and published by the 21er Haus (A) and the Ursula Blickle Foundation, Kraichtal (Germany).

Exhibition catalog – bibliographic data
Title: Ursula Mayer – But We Loved Her
Editors: Agnes Husslein-Arco, Bettina Steinbrügge, Ursula Blickle
Publisher: Verlag für moderne Kunst Nürnberg
Volume: 196 Pages
Language: English and German
ISBN 978-3-86984-479-4 (English bookstore edition)

Press contact
Dr. Gretchen Simms, Press and public relations, 21er Haus
T 43 (01) 795 57 275 / g.simms [​at​] 21erhaus.at

Ursula Mayer at 21er Haus
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