June 12, 2017 - Grazer Kunstverein - The Necessity of Art
June 12, 2017

Grazer Kunstverein

Ruth E Lyons, "Press Image #5, Kilroot Salt mine, Co. Antrim," 2017

The Necessity of Art
Summer Programme
June 23–September 6, 2017

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

T +43 316 834141
F +43 316 834142

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Opening: June 23, 7–10pm 
With a reading by Fiston Mwanza Mujila at 7:30pm 

Fink's (library of tastes): June 24–30 

Ernst Fischer at Grazer Kunstverein: June 29, 3–9pm 
Half-day conference dedicated to exploring the legacy and influence of Ernst Fischer (1899–1972)

New Commission:
Ruth E Lyons

On Display:
Work by Fiston Mwanza Mujila, Edward Clydesdale Thomson, Céline Condorelli, Chris Evans with Morten Norbye Halvorsen, Fiona Hallinan, Isabella Kohlhuber, Isabel Nolan, Adam Zagajewski

On Reflection:
Ernst Fischer

Inspired by Ernst Fischer’s 1959 publication titled The Necessity of Art – A Marxist Approach the summer season of new work and artistic research at the Grazer Kunstverein is guided by Fischer’s claim that art is not only necessary in order to recognise and change the world, but that art is also necessary by virtue of the magic inherent within it. For Fischer this magic is located precisely in our ability to visualise potential, and to use this power to shape, control and re-imagine our natural world.

Ruth E Lyons is developing WWWW – Women’s Wear for Worldly Work. The project is an artwork in the form of a business model, created to conceive a new line of alternative work-wear designed specifically for the female body working across industrial landscapes. The project stems from the artist's personal experience of working as a cultural producer in various male-dominated environments ranging from salt mines and construction sites to fabrication workshops. In response to a growing frustration with the lack of purpose-designed apparel, WWWW is an urgent visual and performance-based attempt to challenge this perceived lack, as we face the increasing and widespread industrialization of world landscapes. In the evolution of WWWW the research, focus groups, business pitch, advertising and development of prototypes at the Grazer Kunstverein, each become sites for performative gestures that highlight the often-unconscious bias built into commonplace situations and working environments. In this way WWWW explores how the structure of our clothing and the shape of our landscape are part of vast historical systems that inhibit the feminine. Simultaneously these performative strategies offer an imaginary and spectacular vision of the potential of embraced gender parity through the creation of forms that give space for the female to embody a fully expressive, capable, physical role in the activity of world making. 

Fiston Mwanza Mujila performs extracts from his collection of poetry Le Fleuve dans le Ventre / Der Fluß im Bauch [The River in the Belly]. This body of work explores themes of solitude and exile, shaped and inspired by the coursing waters of the Congo River, the deepest in the world. Mwanza Mujila is impregnated with the river. Through language, he uses the river to reflect on the turbulent and chaotic years of civil war and dictatorship that have marked the Democratic Republic of the Congo since independence in 1960. An improvised reading of the text, originally written in French, echoes throughout the gallery, and is available to read in full in a bi-lingual edition published by Edition Thanhäuser.

Edward Clydesdale Thomson presents a project that tends to ideas around care and commitment. Tools and ropes, fans and hoses lay the groundwork in a sculptural garden that will eventually grow into a real one here at the Grazer Kunstverein. The installation combines works including The Distracted Gardener & The Plumbing Subverter (2013) and Inflatable Paradise (2016) where abstracted tools bridge a transition between house and garden, from the realm of the domestic and personal, to the symbolic and collective. Within this Clydesdale Thomson investigates the notion of landscaping as an activity that resonates with art making, 
in allowing us to sculpt and delimit a space of both production and reflection, containment and care. 

The artistic programme of the Grazer Kunstverein is accumulative. Alongside new works by Lyons, Mwanza Mujila, and Clydesdale Thomson, traces from our spring season remain in the building. Fiona Hallinan's seasonal studio kitchen continues to develop in conversation with the local food producers of Styria. A new jingle by Chris Evans and Morten Norbye Halvorsen is installed among the entrance doors. The work of Isabella Kohlhuber takes on a functional dimension. Isabel Nolan's sculptural work is reconfigured and accompanied by a series of three new drawings by the artist. While Adam Zagajewski's poem sits still in our mouths, waiting to be recited. The work of Céline Condorelli continues to host The Members Library, adding to the chorus of voices coming together under our guiding leitmotif The Necessity of Art.

Grazer Kunstverein is structurally supported by the city of Graz, the Federal Chancellery of Austria Arts and Culture Division, the province of Styria, legero united | con-tempus.eu, and its members. The presentation of work by Isabel Nolan, Fiona Hallinan, and Ruth E Lyons is kindly supported by Culture Ireland. The presentation of work by Edward Clydesdale Thomson is kindly supported by the Mondriaan Fund. Grazer Kunstverein is part of CMRK.

Grazer Kunstverein
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