Simon Starling / Superflex and Ephemeropterae˜

Simon Starling / Superflex and Ephemeropterae˜

Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21)

Simon Starling, Prouvé (Road Test), 2012. Truck, Jean Prouvé Shed roof section, 1956.*

May 22, 2012

Simon Starling / Superflex
Reprototypes, Triangulations and Road Tests
May 30–September 23, 2012
Opening: May 29, 2012

(Performer, Audience, Word, Spoken, Garden, Friday, Evening)
Performance series every Friday at the Ephemeropterae˜ pavilion, designed by David Adjaye 
June–September 2012
Opening: June 1, 2012, 5–10 pm
With words by Karl Holmqvist, Cerith Wyn Evans and Lydia Lunch 
and sounds by Christian Fennesz and Zavoloka

Thyssen-Bornemisza Art
Scherzergasse 1A, 1020 Vienna

Turner Prize winner Simon Starling (born 1967) has been invited to work in collaboration with the Danish artists group Superflex to inaugurate and unfold the new Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary exhibition space at Augarten—a striking modern pavilion structure completed in 1957 as an artists’ workshop—with a presentation of works from the TBA21 collection and several new projects developed for Vienna. Reprototypes, Triangulations and Road Tests conflates seven seminal works by Simon Starling and Superflex in a dialogical setting—among them Exposition (2004); Three Birds, Seven Stories, Interpolation and Bifurcations (2007–8); D1 – Z1 (22,686,575:1) (2009); Black Out (2009); and Kuh (2012).

These works “collapse” as unstable complexes around pertinent themes and present us with an exhibition that proposes triangulated speculations articulated by undisciplined objects, piercing through the layers of time and history and revisiting long-held certainties. Posited as reprototypes, they reveal various strategies for siting the contemporary within the modern, resuscitating objects and innovations out of obsolescence, testing their contemporary vitality and thus disrupting the self-sufficiency of the modernist canon. To that effect, Starling and Superflex transform the Augarten back into a workshop, reactivating the spaces and the garden, giving rise to strange alignments and unexpected presences. A set of blackout lamps, designed in 1942 by Poul Henningsen for the Tivoli amusement park in Copenhagen as liminal illumination during wartime, span the entire space in regular intervals but at a slightly disorienting angle. An elegant winglike and “light-hungry” Shed roof, originally designed by Jean Prouvé in 1952, is mounted on a truck, playing out an almost parodic relationship to the vast north-facing windows of the studios. This work, Prouvé (Road Test) (2012), will have performed a test drive on the runway of an airfield, road-testing the aspirational, aerodynamic exoskeleton.

The story of the sculptor Gustinus Ambrosi, the infamous commissioner of the Augarten studios, has been retraced on the occasion of TBA21s inaugural exhibition. Ambrosi’s passionate affection for a Tyrolean cow (named the “Queen”), which he handpicked as a model for a sculpture for the New Reich Chancellery in Berlin in 1942 and the close encounter between the contemporary use of the space and the reemergence of archival material illuminating Ambrosi’s role as an artist of the Third Reich is at the core of Kuh, a new project by Superflex. Two descendants of the “Queen” have been located in Tyrol and invited to graze—at least for the time being—in the Augarten. The cow is the portal to the past, and the doors have been reopened.

Curated by Daniela Zyman and Eva Wilson

Ephemeropterae˜ is a series of fifteen performative events developed by TBA21′s guest curator, Boris Ondreićka, and Daniela Zyman, held in the park at twilight every Friday evening as an exploration of the abilities of the spoken word to express the ephemeral, the apparently insignificant, and the imperfect; to reveal secrets; and to use the cadence and prosody of the voice, with its distinct variations of tone, color, timing, and inflection. Ephemeropterae˜—the term for insects that live only a day—oscillates between oral histories and storytelling, poetry and music, lectures, comment, rants, speech (from internal voices to messages from the beyond), and nonverbal communication.

By resisting definitions and directly addressing and engaging audiences, this series offers different approaches to the nature and experience of an oral practice that is not only rooted in every culture and civilization but is also reinvented for the 21st century, thereby revealing itself as one of the most consistent, potent, and thought-provoking sites in contemporary culture.

Press and information
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*Image above:
Simon Starling, Prouvé (Road Test), 2012. Truck, Jean Prouvé ‘Shed’ roof section, 1956.
© Jens Ziehe/ TBA21, 2012.

Simon Starling / Superflex and Ephemeropterae˜ at Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary
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Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21)
May 22, 2012

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