Artists present spatial interventions at the Austrian Cultural Forum
examiner.com, June 3rd 2011
The Austrian Cultural Forum’s exhibition galleries, located within a building which is itself an architectural work of art, is an ideal location in which to let artists have their way. This is exactly the idea behind the exhibition called Fünf Räume (Five Rooms) currently on view. For the exhibition, curators David Harper and Andreas Stadler chose five established contemporary Austrian artists to interpret a different area of the gallery space. Unlike the Forum’s other exhibitions, which are normally organized with an established theme, this curatorial approach puts more power in the hands of the artists. Andreas Stadler explained that while each of the artists were carefully chosen and asked to provide short proposals of their intended use of the space, the curators themselves were not entirely aware of what the final work would look like until only hours before the opening on May 23. The result is a dazzling display of how space can be altered in a most unassuming yet powerful way.
Esther Stocker, who has two installations in the show, reinvented the lobby space of the building by creating a series of stripes with black tape and foam core. Within the straight lines of the tape Stocker has inserted protruding angular elements that simultaneously maintain the integrity of the line and also distribute momentary discordant elements into the work. As you walk down into the lower mezzanine gallery, you find Zenita Komad and Michael Kienzer’s The Empty Mirror, 2011. This piece using only mirrors, chairs and words, creates a somber and slightly menacing aura. The 16 chairs represent the pawns of a chess game and allude to the important yet inferior role that the pawn plays in the game of chess and, ultimately, in the game of life. Valentin Ruhry has two works in the show that question our physical space and our understanding of how technology has entered into that space. An impressively intricate work is presented on the wall like a canvas on which Ruhry has installed a number of individual rocker switches that illuminate when switched on. The illuminated switches in the piece spell out “Hello World!!” It is a simple, but awe-inspiring piece that feels alive and aware. Yet, through our associations with contemporary technology, the work also appears obsolete and lonely. Also included in the show are works by Daniel Domig and Clemens Hollerer.
Jailee Rychen on examiner.com