September 16, 2020 - Grazer Kunstverein - Emma Wolf-Haugh: Domestic Optimism
September 16, 2020

Grazer Kunstverein

Emma Wolf-Haugh, stills from Domestic Optimism, Act One: Modernism - A Lesbian Love Story, 2020.

Emma Wolf-Haugh
Domestic Optimism
Act One: Modernism – A Lesbian Love Story
September 24–November 20, 2020

Grazer Kunstverein
Palais Trauttmansdorff
Burggasse 4
8010 Graz
Hours: Wednesday–Sunday 11am–6pm

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Do take a seat and question
this chair's connection to imperialist obsession
with domination
its legacy and preservation

Domestic Optimism is an exhibition about mangled and mistold modernist legacies. The project begins with furniture, inanimate objects that come loaded with social connections and invisible histories. Through the displacement of cultural detritus Emma Wolf-Haugh retells modernist architectural history in the collective key of queer-feminist and decolonial practices, continually unearthing filth in times of hygiene, and complicating things that were never simple to begin with.

Wolf-Haugh is a visual artist and educator. Weaving together installation, performance, publishing and collaborative workshop techniques, she is interested in reorienting attention towards cultural narratives by developing work from a questioning of ‘what is missing’. Her work is informed by how spaces, identities and social relations are generated temporarily in theatre, drag performance and queer DIY club scenes, via aesthetic and somatic practices.

For this exhibition colonial aesthetics, obscenity trials, hysterical masculinity, crime scene photography, sexology, the production of the lesbian throughout modernity and the current collapse of social housing projects, all intersect in a critical, queer, working class reading of architectural and design modernism. The project underscores the importance of solidarity, friendship and collectivity, for our communion and survival in the world today.

Domestic Optimism is co-produced with Project Arts Centre, Dublin, where Act Two of the project will be presented in early 2021. Commissioned and curated by Grazer Kunstverein this project is part of our Autumn Season, in the context of steirischer herbst '20. Emma Wolf-Haugh would like to thank collaborators Line Skywalker Karlström and Kerstin Honeit. The artist also wishes to acknowledge the institutional support of Askeaton Contemporary Arts, Market Gallery, ICI Berlin, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dundee Contemporary Arts, the Arts Council of Ireland and Fingal County Council for continuing to make studio practice and project development possible.

Alongside this exhibition our public program and speculative feasibility study—Grazer Kunstverein is moving!continues with events (both digital and physical) throughout the city as part of Graz Kulturjahr 2020. Following our Summer Season’s writer-in-residence program with Belinda Kazeem-Kamiński, upcoming events include speculative moves to new locations in Straßgang and Eggenberg with artists Damir Očko and Irina Gheorghe, and the launch of a new series of reflective and functional works in our Depot space by Edward Clydesdale Thomson.

Grazer Kunstverein is open Wednesdays to Sundays, 11am–6pm. Since reopening in May 2020, precautions and protocols based on government guidelines to limit the spread of Covid-19 are practiced to ensure the safety and protection of visitors and staff alike.

Grazer Kunstverein is structurally supported by the city of Graz, the province of Styria, the federal Ministry of art, culture, public Service and Sport, legero united - the shoemakers |, and its members. Grazer Kunstverein is moving! is supported by Graz Kulturjahr 2020 with additional support from the Mondriaan Fund. Domestic Optimism is co-produced with Project Arts Centre, Dublin, and kindly supported by Culture Ireland. 

*Excerpt from the script of Wolf-Haugh’s new video work: Domestic Optimism, Act One: Modernism - A Lesbian Love Story, 2020.

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