October 25, 2012 - Kunsthaus Bregenz - Florian Pumhösl and Nairobi – A State of Mind
October 25, 2012

Florian Pumhösl and Nairobi – A State of Mind

Florian Pumhösl, Spatial Sequence. Installation view at Kunsthaus Bregenz. Photo: Hannes Böck. © Florian Pumhösl, Kunsthaus Bregenz.

Florian Pumhösl
Spatial Sequence
26 October 2012–20 January 2013

KUB Arena
Nairobi – A State of Mind
Cooperation Goethe-Institut Nairobi, Kenya
26 October 2012–20 January 2013

Kunsthaus Bregenz
6900 Bregenz, Austria


Florian Pumhösl
Spatial Sequence
Florian Pumhösl (born 1971, lives in Vienna) is a rarity in his generation of Austrian artists in having rigorously and cogently developed an independent abstract formal and pictorial language.

In addition to numerous solo shows in public museums in the past ten years, he has participated in many major art events, such as the São Paulo Biennale, the Venice Biennale, and documenta in 2007.

Florian Pumhösl’s central engagement with the historical formal vocabulary of modernism and its specific thematic issues is typical of his work. What interests him frequently is not only the genealogical derivation of a particular form, but also its social and political setting.

Florian Pumhösl will be presenting a new series at the Kunsthaus Bregenz titled ‘Spatial Sequence’, specially produced for the occasion. The work consists of plaster panels in three different sizes grouped in threes, the order of each trio beginning with the smallest and ending with the largest format.

The printing procedure involved goes back to the start of the nineteenth century when stamp-like printing dies were developed. A special feature of these dies, known in French as “cliché,” in English stereotype, was that they could be indefinitely reused.

The formal patterns of indigo blue that rhythmicize the plaster panels are no less important than how they are applied. Against the backdrop of Pumhösl’s interest in early Latin-American woven patterns and their reception by modernist artists, for instance, a discursive field opens up combining extra-European influences, the importance of design, and seriality in art. Seriality comes across especially clearly through the repetition of line patterns within a trio and the potential for reproducing the same by means of the cliché stamp.

Moreover, the line groupings on the individual panels, with their potential for musical interpretation, point to a central aspect of historical abstraction. And the positioning of the panels in space, the distances and open areas Pumhösl has set between them, also recall a time-based sequence and in this sense resemble a musical score.

KUB Arena
Nairobi—A State of Mind
Cooperation Goethe-Institut Nairobi, Kenya
Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, is one of East Africa’s most important economic hubs and seat of numerous international organizations. In recent decades it has also become the center of a dynamic art and cultural scene. Against the backdrop of East Africa’s colonial past and power structures, the artists develop their own views of their surroundings that reflect the complexity and the constant changes that make up Nairobi.

The project in the KUB Arena constructs a picture of Nairobi with reference to the ensemble of relations, temporalities, and spaces that constitute the city’s present and its history.

In his series ‘Nairobi—A Utopia in the Eye of the Beholder’ (2007–2012), Jacob Barua works with the city’s architectural landscape, analyzing by means of photographic documentation the history inscribed in individual buildings. Laura Horelli, in her video work The Terrace (2011), returns to a residential complex where a number of her childhood years were spent. James Muriuki likewise employs the medium of photography, although in his case his gaze is turned on contemporary processes of change and movements in public space—the widespread Matatu minibus culture, for instance, or buildings in the process of construction that mark the current texture of the city as symbols of power, progress, and technology. Observations of their urban surroundings are the starting point for Peterson Kamwathi Waweru’s large-format charcoal drawings as well as the works of Sam Hopkins, Kevo Stero, and the artist group Maasai Mbili. What they all share is reference to a society in which ideas and modes of life are imported and appropriated under the influence of historical and current social movements.

An events program consisting of lectures, artist talks, film screenings, and workshops is an integral part of the presentation.

Naeem Biviji and Bethan Rayner of Studio Propolis will be developing an architecture for the occasion of the KUB Arena exhibition that gives spatial expression to the aspects of the entire project.

For further information, see www.kunsthaus-bregenz.at.



Kunsthaus Bregenz presents Florian Pumhösl and Nairobi – A State of Mind
Kunsthaus Bregenz
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