Openings in Graz, Austria: Summer 2013

Openings in Graz, Austria: Summer 2013


Kerstin Cmelka, Male!, 2012. C-print. Courtesy the artist.

May 26, 2013

CMRK Openings in Graz, Austria

CMRK is a network of four independent institutions for contemporary art based in Graz: Camera Austria, Künstlerhaus KM–, < rotor >, and Grazer Kunstverein.

Doris Piwonka
Kerstin Cmelka: Kunst und Lebensform (Art and Life Form)
Künstlerhaus KM–
Halle für Kunst & Medien
June 8–July 25, 2013

Sven Johne
Where the sky is darkest, the stars are brightest.
Camera Austria
June 8–September 1, 2013

Measures of Saving the World _ Part 2
< rotor >
June 8–July 20 & August 19–September 7, 2013

A selection from the Center for Social Research on Old Textiles (CSROT) with works by Willem Oorebeek, Lucy Skaer and Christopher Williams
Grazer Kunstverein
June 8–August 11, 2013

The artistic practice of Doris Piwonka is a prime example of painting that is cognisant of one’s own historical conditions, but also of the present-day situation. Moreover, it stands for the pursuit of a discourse on contemporary painting, which is asserted with faith in the renewable, aesthetic, and visual energies inherent to the medium. In Piwonka’s first institutional solo exhibition, held at the Künstlerhaus KM– in Graz, an exemplary selection of paintings from several work complexes and creative periods will be on show, extending beyond a purely formal interest in painterly matters.

At the centre of Kerstin Cmelka’s eclectic, multimediatic re-stagings of historical material taken from film, art, and theatre shown in the exhibition Kunst und Lebensform, an interest in filigree subversion and an exploration of fractures can be discerned. The involvement of fellow artists in these re-stagings leads to (re-)doubling in the construction of a usually fragile complicity with the viewers. The newly negotiated assertions, apparent here, between the poles of art and life are shown mingling, and a reflexive meta-commentary on exceedingly free interpretation is always also staged as well.

The suggestive field of documentary photographic form and its entanglement with texts, stories, and history has played a key role in the photographic practice of Sven Johne for many years now. In his work the artist systematically places focus on the relationship between what can be shown and also on what can be known about what can be shown. By doing so, he demonstrates again and again that documentary images do not exclusively belong to the realm of the visible, and that dependence on the word and on knowledge—in short, on the power to attribute meaning—is inherent to these images. For his first comprehensive solo exhibition in Austria at Camera Austria, the artist combines a selection of works from the past few years with topical projects that pointedly articulate our visual present’s precarious and controversial space of “documentality” (Hito Steyerl), as is increasingly contested in ongoing discourse.

“In today’s world, economics is separated from, and opposed to, both ecological processes and basic needs,” writes the Indian scientist and thought leader Vandana Shiva. As a fierce critic of industrial monoculture, which evades all democratic participation and control, she is one of those essential voices who call for a radical change in thinking—that is, someone who even questions what appear to be the most fundamental agreements. In contrast, there is the belief in the feasibility of technological solutions for anything and everything, even if these obviously severely compromise our natural foundations of life. So do we go on hoping for a “world machine” or will flowers save humankind in the end? The exhibition Measures of Saving the World _ Part 2 at < rotor > investigates such explorative questions.

Artists: Anca Benera & Arnold Estefan, Swaantje Güntzel, Markus Jeschaunig, Folke Köbberling & Martin Kaltwasser, Ivan Moudov

The Grazer Kunstverein continues its exploration within the realms of social abstraction by presenting a selection from the elaborate collection of historic textiles assembled by Seth Siegelaub (b. 1941, US) for the Center for Social Research on Old Textiles. The intimate relationship between textiles and society can be seen, as Siegelaub explains, in the fundamental role textiles played in the rise of the capitalist system and in the industrial revolution. While the form and aesthetics of textiles in general are determined by the way they are manufactured, the selection of items in the exhibition at the Grazer Kunstverein are specifically based on the abstraction of forms in relation to function. Amongst the items on display will be barkcloth (tapa) and headdresses from the Pacific region (especially Papua New Guinea) and Africa.

The textiles in the exhibition will be shown alongside the works of three artists, Willem Oorebeek, Lucy Skaer, and Christopher Williams, whose conceptual work reflects on notions of craftsmanship, industrial (re)production, modernity, appropriation, and representation.

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May 26, 2013

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