November 22, 2017 - Grazer Kunstverein - Isabel Nolan: Curling Up With Reality / Ola Vasiljeva: The Decline of the Showpieces
November 22, 2017

Grazer Kunstverein

(1) Isabel Nolan, Curling Up With Reality (Tomb of the Ducs d’Orleans, St Denis), 2012–17. Photograph. Image courtesy of the artist, Kerlin Gallery, Dublin and Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna. (2) Ola Vasiljeva, The Dong with a Luminous Nose, 2017. Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij. Image courtesy of the artist, Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam and Supportico Lopez, Berlin.

Isabel Nolan: Curling Up With Reality
Ola Vasiljeva: The Decline of the Showpieces
December 7, 2017–February 18, 2018

Box Set: December 7–22
Opening: December 7, 7–10pm

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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New commissions: 
Isabel Nolan, Ola Vasiljeva

On display:
Works by Emily Mast, Ruth E LyonsFiston Mwanza MujilaEdward Clydesdale ThomsonCéline CondorelliChris Evans with Morten Norbye HalvorsenFiona HallinanIsabella Kohlhuber, Adam Zagajewski

On reflection:
Ernst Fischer


The Necessity of Art by Ernst Fischer has served as the guiding leitmotif for the seasonal artistic programme of the Grazer Kunstverein throughout 2017. Fischer, an author, politician, and dedicated anti-fascist, believed that art held the key to perceiving, understanding, and ultimately changing the world around us. The programme itself engages with Fischer’s conception of art as a living process of expressing the abstract in ways that ultimately shape reality, founded on the conviction that art has been, still is, and always will be necessary.

Isabel Nolan: Curling Up With Reality
Isabel Nolan’s solo presentation of new and recent work reimagines the vaulted rooms of the Grazer Kunstverein as a crypt or secular chapel for the disgraced Dominican friar and cosmological theorist Giordano Bruno. Towards the end of the 16th century Bruno developed a mental memory system that he believed could encompass and order all knowledge of the universe. With (Tomb) Memory Wheel (2017)—a suspended steel sculpture composed of concentric circles, upon which colourful, delicate, irregularly shaped bone-like objects rest—Nolan has reimagined an ossuary. This work is dedicated to Bruno’s memory system and his largely unacknowledged, anachronistic vision of an infinite universe where all matter, and so all people, were equally imbued with divinity and dignity. The Provisory Rug, adaptable for past, present and future, (For Marie Lieb) accompanied us throughout our year-long programme, and is to be redeployed one last time. A series of photographs focusing mostly on feet (human and animal, living and dead) and man-made floors and pavements reveal the artist’s interest in looking down instead of up. Whether she is imaging the lofty thoughts of unlikely philosophers, or observing the upturned soles of funerary sculptures, Nolan’s work examines how the universe is brought into meaning in the human mind, and how the intimate nature of direct contact with the world and physical lowness can unexpectedly arrest that process of understanding.

Ola Vasiljeva: The Decline of the Showpieces
Ola Vasiljeva’s work tells stories. Stories that belong to no single entity, but which unfold gently through objects. While walking one day in Graz, the artist encountered an enormous boarded-up 16th century building on Kaiser Franz Josef Kai. Falling in love with the door and window grates that shelter the interior from the glare of passersby, she began to develop new sculptural works that would neither hide nor reveal themselves—objects that "look like," but refuse to fully commit, sitting somewhere on the cusp of recognition. Vasiljeva speaks with materials through strong lines, exaggerated features and rude shapes, but it’s the magic she conjures in encapsulating what’s absent that makes her work sing. As part of our winter season the artist stages an arrangement of recent and newly produced work, to create a series of imaginary thresholds that act as guardians between one moment and the next.

The solo presentations by Isabel Nolan and Ola Vasiljeva are presented amidst the traces, developments and reconfigurations of the wider artistic programme, with an accumulation of works on display by Emily Mast (The Seed Eaters), Ruth E Lyons (Women’s Wear for Worldly Work), Fiston Mwanza Mujila (Le Fleuve dans le Ventre / Der Fluß im Bauch), Edward Clydesdale Thomson (The Coming Garden), Céline Condorelli (Things That Go Without Saying), Chris Evans and Morten Norbye Halvorsen (Jingle), Fiona Hallinan (Fink’s), Isabella Kohlhuber (Space for an Agreement), and Adam Zagajewski (We Know What Art Is).

After a year-long publishing hiatus we are relaunching our book lovers agenda with Box Set. Selected publications from our thirty year history are brought together to form intimately considered collections. These are displayed and available for purchase, alongside selected titles from other CMRK institutions of Graz: Camera Austria, Künstlerhaus KM–Halle für Kunst & Medien, and < rotor >.


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 |, and its members. The presentation of work by Isabel Nolan is kindly supported by Culture Ireland. The presentation of work by Ola Vasiljeva is kindly supported by the Mondriaan Fund and Stroom Den Haag.

Grazer Kunstverein
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Curling Up With Reality
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The Decline of the Showpieces
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