Bitter / Weber
Clegg & Guttmann
Paul Albert Leitner
An art photography show
On May 14, 2007 the Austrian Cultural Forum opened 21 POSITIONS, an art photography show that will be on view through August 25. More than a mere assembly of 21 artistic positions, this exhibition is about looking at the 21st century from different angles. Rather than celebrating speed, ubiquity, and unlimited growth, the new state of the art is to make us reflect on what we are about to lose. Presenting 21 artistic positions of seeing others and ourselves, the show explores a number of core factors underlying the malaise and optimism of our young century: SURFACE AND ILLUSION (Eva Schlegel, Clegg & Guttmann, Michaela Moscouw); SEDUCTION (Lois Renner, Rita Nowak, Lois Hechenblaikner, Iris Klein); OBSESSION (Markus Schinwald, Erwin Wurm); LIKENESS AND DIFFERENCE (Magdalena Frey and Heinz Cibulka, Ruth Schnell, Paul Albert Leitner, Harald Hund); CHANGE, FAST AND SLOW (Hubert Blanz, Markus Krottendorfer, Günther and Loredana Selichar, Andrea Witzmann, Judith Huemer, Lisl Ponger, Bitter / Weber, Manfred Willmann). 21 POSITIONS is curated by Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, director of the Austrian Cultural Forum New York.
The exhibition's focus is on recent art photography from Austria. In contradistinction to the situation in Germany, the Austrian scene has not been marked by a dominant art photography school. While Viennese Actionism and the systematic exploration of the self were a determining influence for almost any Austrian artist, including those interested in photography, this pressure also created a stimulus to break free from the strong focus on the body. A broad range of artistic possibilities opened up, and younger artists from very different artistic backgrounds felt free to roam into less orthodox territories.
21 POSITIONS offers a glimpse into the variety of recent art photography in Austria without attempting to capture the entire spectrum.
All the works included date from 2000 or thereafter, with the exception of the selection of 27 photographs from Manfred Willmann's celebrated oeuvre Das Land. His photographic observations on the slow pace of change in the Austrian countryside and the lives of those who stay and resist the temptation to move to the city make us reflect on memory and progress, a focus of ACF's activities. While it may seem entirely coincidental that the photograph selected for the cover of the exhibition catalogue dates from 1984, it is indeed the tension between the fragile beauty of this picture (touching on the delicate relationship between mankind and nature) and the dire future described by George Orwell in his masterpiece that is at the heart of this exhibition
Image: Erwin Wurm
Austrian Cultural Forum New York
11 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022
Gallery Hours: Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm.
Admission to all ACF exhibitions, concerts, and other events is free.