The artist transforms the Kunsthalle into a work of art that does not look in the slightest like art. The urban architecture is overtaken by weeds, artificial weeds, perfectly made, carefully mounted; beautiful weeds.
Press conference: Thursday, 16 March 2004, 10 am
Opening and Reckless Abandon Lecture : Thursday, 16 March 2004, 7 pm
Tony Matelli transforms the Kunsthalle at Karlsplatz into a work of art that does not look in the slightest like art. The urban architecture is overtaken by weeds, artificial weeds, perfectly made, carefully mounted; beautiful weeds. The glass faade calls into question the border between hyper civilized nature at Karlsplatz and the hyper realistically arranged nature within the exhibition hall. The project space stands in the park like an aquarium in the ocean. The U.S. artist s constellations of figures and spaces, with their provocative contradictions, have recently received lively international attention. Matelli s works direct one s gaze to the marginal areas of everyday life. His sculptures are hyper real, or they are, as he says, just real enough. To define a plant as a weed is a cultural act of imposing a value scale on nature, destructively classifying it as useful / non useful: A scale of value, which is implemented ever more rigorously in the leveling out of a globalized society; and not only with reference to nature. "We all try to keep up appearances, says the artist. We all operate within certain conventions, but we can't control everything. Gas gets passed and pimples unexpectedly come. We can accept all of these things, so long as they are maintained.
Weeds are the horticultural equivalent of a zit. They represent a breakdown, either a failure or refusal to fight the perfunctory battle against entropy. One weed is a forgivable blemish. Overgrowth is hopeless abandon. Overgrowth inside is the cultivation of abandonment, a rewriting of rules. The celebration of failure. Matelli s works are brash, unashamed, and malicious. They are witty and always evoke a certain warmth. "Self realization is the current societal dilemma, actually it always has been, we ve just been distracted. With our current state of relative stability we find ourselves with out external distractions. Many of us are starting to look inward, and we are coming up empty. I make work that speaks of the need and the frustration of trying to locate oneself within an already set world. My work frequently depicts things finding wayward means of survival.
This is the truest way I know to depict the current psychological state among myself, my friends and acquaintances; the people I make work about, and the people I make work for."
In addition to the room filling installation, there will also be a lecture on opening night, which will be recorded and available for viewing during the exhibition.
Curator: Gerald Matt
A catalogue accompanying the exhibition will feature a contribution by Bob Nickas as well as an interview with Toni Matelli conducted by Gerald Matt. Text in German and English, approx. 80 pages, illustrations, 7, ISBN 3 85247 050 1
daily 4 pm 11 pm; So/Mo 1 pm 7 pm
KUNSTHALLE wien project space
karlsplatz Treitlstrae 2, A 1040 Vienna;
Infoline +43 1 52189 33