The exhibition presents the work by Florian Hecker and John McCracken in a dialougue each other. Jelena Juresa presents he portrait, which she uses to investigate the relationship between viewers and what is viewed. Zita Oberwalder her photographic work, most of which has been produced in analogue black-and-white since the mid-1980s.
Florian Hecker / John McCracken
This exhibition presents two complementary, yet significantly autonomous positions in a dialogue with each other: Florian Hecker’s, the German artist and computer composer (born 1975 in Augusburg; lives in Edinburgh and Vienna) and the American sculptor John McCracken’s (1934–2011). The show probes the experiential capacity of the largest space—a white cube—at the Künstlerhaus, Halle für Kunst & Medien. The sculptural, luminous, monochromatic Planks by the late artist are displayed between the floor and the wall of the building, denoting gestural, modernist exhibition concepts through the work itself and the process of viewing. Simply leaned against the wall, they can be identified as a hybrid transition between painting and sculpture. McCracken began work on these key pieces in the mid-1960s; he felt that the Planks existed between two worlds—the floor, on the one hand—which for him represented the physical world of solid objects (trees, cars, houses, people, etc.)— and the wall on the other, which he thought of as the world of imagination, a space for illusory imagery, but also for human cognition. In addition, the artist also considered them communicative, pure forms whose persistent themes are their own surfaces, structure, and temporary presence. Asked about the effects of the pieces, McCracken once briefly noted in his journal: “A successfully abstract sculpture will tend to make the space surrounding it abstract too.”
In a sharp, even more abstract counterpoint, Florian Hecker dramatizes space, time, and the perception of sound through his computer-generated sound pieces under live exhibition conditions. The structures of his compositions unfold in a specific constellation of loudspeakers hanging from the ceiling. Series of sometimes pointillist, sharp, extremely dynamic, specifically acoustic experiences simultaneously evoke sensations, memories, and associations of three-dimensional, unpredictable intensity. Viewer, sound, and the exhibition space itself, whose auratic definition has been pierced, become an amalgamation, which does not provide any ideal perspective of the compositions, despite all of its formal and structural clarity
n combining the works of Florian Hecker and John McCracken, the exhibition defines a framework in which it becomes possible to have an aesthetic experience of the shifting boundaries and intersections of sculpture and sound as they affect each other inside a space consisting of geometrical, architectural formations, as well as temporal and subjective formations. At the same time, one becomes more sensitized to their conditions, qualities, and degrees of intensity. Here, Hecker presents the protagonists of his synthetic works in the phenomenological gray zone that opens up amid various conventions of musical psychology and psychoacoustics; “a zone where,” according to the philosopher Robin Mackay, “the coherence of experience is breached; where objects can exist in multiple places at the same time, where events are smeared across space, where streams of experience diverge, coalesce, and fracture, a world where the conditions of objecthood are tested in a manner that is best qualified as 'hallucinatory.’”
MIRA, Study for a Portrait
Jelena Jureša (born in Novi Sad, lives in Ghent) is an artist who works mainly in and with the media of photography and video. Her chief interest is in questions of cultural identity, memory, history, and the photograph’s boundaries of representation. The focus of her work is the portrait, which she uses to investigate the relationship between viewers and what is viewed through an understanding of the subject portrayed, and more fundamentally, through the problematic question of what the image does or does not convey. Here, the photographic image serves as the starting point for her artistic examination of the portrait, regardless of the medium that is ultimately used: photography, video, or audio-visual installation.
MIRA, Study for a Portrait, the show on display downstairs at the Künstlerhaus, Halle für Kunst & Medien, is a work about absence that chooses the portrait as the form through which to explore the fragility of memory, while at the same time researching the relationship between the medium of photography and perception in general. This is a long-term project on several levels, in which the artist dedicates herself with scrupulous precision to the history of a country, a family, and, most especially, of a woman.
The work consists of a video installation, several photographs, and twelve lithographs. While watching the videos (two videos, each forty minutes long), viewers are provided with new ways to read the photographed and moving image, as well as with new meanings for the site as the medium of recording and deletion. Even though the first part of the work is based on a real period in history, its actual duration, and familiar historical facts, it is broken up by a personal story that Jureša shifts into the foreground. The video installation traces the life of Mira and her family, from birth to her death, using photographs and video recordings that identify places and correspond to the recollections of some of the characters portrayed. The first part of the film brings to life the family history of her parents, David and Minka: David’s Jewish roots and Minka’s Muslim background, Bosnia before World War II, the troubles David’s family endured; how they both joined the partisans, their meeting, their separation, Minka’s nearly fatal injury, and their years until Mira’s birth.
Only a few archival photographs are used to reconstruct Mira’s portrait. The specific narrative, combined with Jureša’s photographs, traces her life with great aesthetic care and subtlety. Her childhood, her life in Belgrade, in Sarajevo, the birth of her children, her marriage and divorce, her work at a senior citizens’ home, up until her tragic death in 1990, when she died in a traffic accident near Pakrac, where the unrest that foreshadowed the war in Croatia soon broke out, triggering the decay of what was formerly Yugoslavia.
Zita Oberwalder: kill your darlings
The exhibition platform, “Starting from Hystyria” in Raum D downstairs at the Künstlerhaus, Halle für Kunst & Medien, has been showing different and diverse positions of contemporary art from the expanded Styrian region since late 2013. Each show in the series is accompanied by a fanzine. Now, the series continues in 2105 with kill your darlings, a presentation of current photographic works by the artist Zita Oberwalder (born in 1958 in Leisach, lives in Graz).
Born in eastern Tyrol, the artist received the 2014 Federal Chancellor’s "Outstanding Artist Award" for her photographic work, most of which has been produced in analogue black-and-white since the mid-1980s. The current visual records of her travels are primarily photographs of places, towns, spots, and staged situations in both natural and urban spaces in very diverse countries, whose creation and distribution is ascribed to globalization by the anthropologist Marc Augé in his book, “Non Places.” Examples of these places are airports, train stations, refugee camps, supermarkets, or hotel chains. For Augé, they are not “anthropological places,” but “places of the placeless,” and hence, the opposite of “memorable places.” In this documentary project and in her documentation of the places she has traveled on her countless journeys, the artist adds motifs that affirm Augé’s arguments, but, on the other hand, her artistic work leads her to have social experiences that are not possible in these places, according to Augé and his thesis. Thus, several layers are at work in Oberwalder’s photographs. In her fascinating images, one sees not only the way that these places appear to the author, how her choice of motif hints at individual experience, but also her own reflections on the act of taking photographs, which involves stepping back from the subject, yet storing information about it. The pictures arise from a sensitive point of view, from her knowledge about the many, barely perceptible details that comprise each picture, which requires familiarity with the place that is photographed
Image: Jelena Jureša, Mira, Study for a Portrait, Video still, Courtesy the artist, 2010–2014
Helga Droschl, firstname.lastname@example.org, + 43 (0)316 740084
Opening: 30.01.2015, 6pm
Künstlerhaus Halle für
Kunst & Medien
8010 Graz, Austria
Tuesday to Sunday