The week of art is staged in Vienna until 19 November. With exhibitions, meetings and visits to artist studios and galleries. Here is our report
The 2021 edition of Vienna Art Week opened its doors under the motto “Losing Control” with exhibitions, visits to artists’ ateliers, performances, debates that follow one another throughout the week of the kermesse. This year’s theme invites you toartistic exploration of experienced or threatened loss of control, an assumption that needs to be reconsidered in the context of the pandemic and the climate crisis. We attended the inauguration tour together with the artistic director, Robert Punkenhofer.
ART IN THE FACE OF THE EMERGENCY
A former car dealership in the twentieth district of Vienna hosts the exhibition House of loss of control, which international seventy national artists and with particular attention to young visual art. There are forty rooms in which installations, sculptures, videos, performances, music alternate, with works by artists such as Bruce Nauman, Erwin Wurm, the Gelitins and Hubert Scheibl, ranging from loss of control and ecstasy to states of complete liberation and introspection.
Awareness of humanity’s limited capacity in the distant face of natural disasters and health emergencies continues to increase. Two major horror scenarios are dominating current global events: the virus and its mutations and the terrible natural disasters it has caused since climate change. Storms, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions have shaken our hemisphere. The global pandemic has disrupted our daily lives, destroying long-standing systems of the economy, health, culture – and minimizing our individual daily activities. Fear and insecurity are more and more widespread.
ART AND LOSS OF CONTROL
Does this year’s format require you to respond to our time? Could physical, psychological and loosening exercises serve that purpose? We should simply embrace the philosophy of “letting go” – an instinctive reaction to years of behavioral self-emancipation and just do it?
The artists have practiced a long a type of exuberant and unbridled creative expression that aims at renewal, the overcoming of rigid structures and aesthetic formulas.
In the immense exhibition spaces we come across a hunched man lying in a pit dug in the floor. This sculpture is part of the series Psychopath by Erwin Wurm of 2010. An extremely current work, in this pandemic period, which conveys the desperation in the face of the succession of bad news, from which one would like to escape. While installing Fukushima 10 years later by Hana Usui proposes a tangle of nets with dried chicken legs and seafood hanging from a bathroom in the building, the adjacent room reflects the desolation of a place in a state of neglect, with overturned office chairs, old computers, shoes abandoned and the video Fukushima by Judith Bradner and Hana Usui broadcast on loop.
ART AS LIBERATION?
From Modernism to Abstract Expressionism, from the Informal to the Neue Wilde of the Eighties, the artists evoked liberation in gestures: the drop painting by Jackson Pollock and the Schüttbilder by Hermann Nitsch speak of a freedom of the body in its relations with the traditional artistic medium. Also the works of Martha Jungwirth, Herbert Brandl Hubert Scheibl and exemplify the gestural expression. They are joined by a younger generation of artists, including Christian Eisenberger and Denise Rudolf Frank, who opened the doors of their atelier to us showing us his latest creations, products of his personal art therapy, a Dionysian abandonment in expression.
The atelier of the artist Hubert Scheibl made us immerse in a kaleidoscopic universe, where the central form is the pictorial act, the color, to which music, philosophy, literature and cinema make an important contribution.
ARTIST STUDIES AND GALLERIES IN VIENNA
Saskia Sassen, the philosopher Jules Evans and the artist Javier Téllez complete the rich calendar of events of the Viennese Art Week
also the galleries have joined the event, inaugurating new exhibitions this week. To stand out is Again and again by Aldo Giannotti at the Projektraum Viktor Bucher.
The focus is on the relationship between people and their environment, as well as on the physical and symbolic infrastructure of the social space. With the stylistic expedient of the repetition of words, Giannotti strengthens, comments and at the same time critically questions habits and social interdependencies.
At the Stadtraum space of the Friedrichshof Collection, Pablo Chiereghin creates site-specific actions and objects: Riot design. The object is placed in the center of the space and violently destroyed by the artist. It is about a liberating act, through which the artist declares his independence from the object in question. This act is followed by the recovery of the object, which the artist reinserts in the market. A process that follows the Japanese philosophy of Kintsugi, an ancient practice that uses gold dust to repair porcelain. A therapeutic path to heal the wounds of our soul.
I Giorgia Losio