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SCENT OF A WIEN
Winter in Vienna is (almost) all-female. At least in the art field. What is it? An arcane and seductive astral combination or a traumatic tangle of repressions lying on a Freudian bed? The truth is that both the aesthetics and the erotic always go hand in hand, in the desire as well as in the imaginary...
<b>SCENT OF A WIEN</b>Published on Monday the 20th of December 2010
 One of the latest major exhibitions opening its doors in Vienna, right about ten days ago and precisely at the Mak, is dedicated to Eva Schlegel. Fifty years old of Tyrolean origins, she is a much-appreciated artist and not only: she will also be the Austrian Pavilion curator at next Venice Biennale. These days, the Kunstforum Wien –exhibition area of Bank Austria, Unicredit actually - unveiled a rich retrospective of Viennese Birgit Jürgenssen (1949-2003), a refined artistic personality and very important character in the feminist avant-garde. Is that all there is? Not at all. Amongst news and history, a remarkable coincidence of dates and exhibitions makes Vienna an exhibition ground for female artists, all of great character, belonging to different generations. A collective exhibition ongoing at Kunsthalle Wien (Museums Quartier), called Power up-Female Pop Art, reconstructs the own languages of female Pop Art through various materials and works by nine prominent protagonists. Their themes are distinguished from the current "masculine" Pop array with the clear intent of developing, on a poetic point of view, art situations concerning gender specificity and role-playing. The aim is to make a mockery of customary social and erotic stereotypes. Rosalyn Drexler - Marilyn Pursued by Death - 1963 - courtesy The Pace Gallery, New York - photo Ellen LabenskiThey are: Evelyne Axell, Sister Corita, Christa Dichgans, Rosalyn Drexler, Jann Haworth, Dorothy Iannone, Kiki Kogelnik, Marisol, Niki de Saint Phalle. "The next great moment in history is ours!", praised Dorothy Iannone with optimism. Born in 1979, Sofia Goscinski lives in Vienna. Present with a dedicated space at Kunsthalle, her work lacks in optimism. Her pieces tend to frustration, softened here and there by ironic implications. Her show is called Disorders: it is composed by photographic and video material, impregnated strong contrasts which are processed in reference to the most frequent disturbances of the mind. There is essentially an umbilical cord that combines many of the artists in this collective. It is, somehow, just the city of Vienna, "a European capital that artistically was never like any other city" as stated on the occasion of the exhibition opening entitled Vienna precisely, now ongoing in Rome. And this is also the case with the Preis der Kunsthalle Wien 2010’s winner. Monika Piorkowska was born in Krakow in 1977, there she graduated at the Academy of Fine Arts to then move to Vienna, where she also studied at the Applied Arts University in 2003 and she has been living there ever since. Time Boxes is the title which has been awarded the prize and the Kunsthalle exposes it to the public exactly halfway between the old and the new year in the beautiful Karlsplatz’s Glass Pavilion. The installation represents the different life periods as lived by the artist.
Maria Bussmann - Long Beach, NY - veduta dell’installazione presso Secession, Vienna 2010 - photo Jorit Aust
Let’s change location. With a 20 metres high installation, Maria Bussmann, (artist born in Würzburg in 1966) occupies the graphic Cabinet inside the Wiener Secession historic residence. She partly lives in Vienna, where she conducted studies in art and philosophy nevertheless she spends much of her time in New York, so much so that the work exposed is entitled Long Beach, NY. The work is conceived as a "journey" in the form of drawing, built by using a roll of telex paper. For its intrinsic conformation, the used device allowed the artist to record the linear structure of the long beach coast, between sand and marine undertow, with everything that both tide and man can file in it. Invariably, the journey turns into a meditative journey in the footsteps of a profound meaning to be given to things, to the existence, and the work of art itself: an implicit reference to the "Err" of Heidegger, one of the philosophers which, not coincidentally, has shaped the artist's conceptual sphere. Born in Linz in 1940, then moved to Vienna. It’s Valie Export who, between the 1960s and 1970s embodies a solitary female figure engaging her body into actions and performances extremely risky, making herself publicly available to the look and the feel of her sexuality: an insolent and seductive game that puts into question social roles’ traditions and stereotypes. Valie Export - Hyperbulie - 1973 - body performance - courtesy Archivio Valie Export - phooto Hermann HendrichIn subsequent years and until today, her work is based on the use of photography, video and installation, providing high-impact scenarios which aim is to attack the spectator’s passivity. She developed themes on physical and mental suffering as a product of certain structures underpinning contemporary society. The major retrospective that Belvedere has dedicated to her is excellent: Zeit und Gegenzeit; not only: in parallel to this exhibition in Vienna, also the city of Linz, at Lentos Museum, joins with a retrospective by the same title at the celebration of the artist’s 70th birthday. Eva Schlegel is also at Mak, with an exhibition entitled: In Between. If there were a direct challenge with Valie Export, probably she would lose. In fact there is room for both, each one placed on different aesthetics but never in opposition. The sense of impermanence, insecurity and evanescence exhibited by Eva Schlegel are subject of irresistible attention for the public. In this sense, is considerable and allusive to an utopian Yves Klein, the installation of three rotors burdened by video projections, which seem to be able to give to the human body enough balance and stability in a vacuum. Illusory and futile attempt of course to make the old dream of flying come true.

franco veremondi


From December the 8th, 2010 to May the 1st, 2011
Eva Schlegel - In Between

MAK
Stubenring, 5 - 1018 Vienna
Info: tel. +43 171136229; fax +43 171136227;
presse@mak.at; www.mak.at
From December the 16th, 2010 to the 6th of March, 2011
Birgit Jürgenssen - Retrospective

Kunstforum
Freyung, 8 - 1070 Vienna
Info: tel. +43 15373326; fax +43 15373318;
office@bankaustria-kunstforum.at; www.bankaustria-kunstforum.at
From November the 5th, 2010 to February the 20th, 2011
Power Up. Female Pop Art

From September the 1st, 2010 to January the 31th, 2011
Sofia Goscinski - Disorders

Kunsthalle Wien
Museumsplatz, 1 - 1070 Vienna
From December the 15th, 2010 to January the 9th, 2011
Monika Piorkowska - Time Boxes

Kunsthalle Wien - Project space
Trietlstrasse, 2 (Karlsplatz) - 1040 Vienna
Info: tel.
+43 15218933; fax +43 1521891217; office@kunsthallewien.at; www.kunsthallewien.at
From November the 26th, 2010 to February the 13th, 2011
Maria Bussmann - Long Beach, NY

Friedrichstrasse, 12 - 1010 Vienna
Info: tel. +43 15875307; fax +43 1587530734;
office@secession.at; www.secession.at
From October the 16th, 2010 to January the 30th, 2011
Valie Export - Zeit und Gegenzeit

Unteres Belvedere
Rennweg, 6 - 1030 Vienna
Info: tel. +43 179557200; fax +43 179557121;
info@belvedere.at; www.belvedere.at
Ernst-Kofer-Promenade, 1 - 4020 Linz
Info: tel. +43 73270703600; fax +43 73270703604;
info@lentos.at; www.lentos.at

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