Anna Hofbauer

19.03. - 08.04.2017
opening: Sa 18.03.2017   7pm
finis: Sa 08.04.2017   7pm
 










































Almost everything I know about “mein Vulkan bricht nur für dich nicht aus Anna Hofbauer” [my volcano doesn’t erupt only for you, Anna Hofbauer] at the moment – what I have seen and heard about it – was delivered to me in two black boxes. One, hand-sized, that can’t be opened; the other, the size of a notebook that can. One of their sides is covered with a glass top, and by some kind of trick I know nothing about they are lit up from the inside, giving me an insight on their contents. The tip of my right forefinger runs over the glass of the smaller box without being able to feel much. The glass is perfectly smooth, possibly a bit of dust, grease, just a slight irritation caused by some dried fluid, which is scratched away with a fingernail.

My eye sees green and white pads filled from top to bottom with black letters moving away underneath the glass. In between small drawn figures repeating time and again a certain movement. Two small upright dogs holding an incredibly long stick in each paw that they tap against each other whilst raising the eyebrows. A grinning boy in a cat costume, giving a thumbs up, winking. A rotating ghostly figure that stretches its face around its cheeks, only to let it spring back again. Photographs amongst all this. The fingertip touches one, now covering the whole glass top. Now running from left to right. Successively, views from the studio follow – details of treated clay slabs, black-and-white photographs hanging on a wall, first a long shot, then a close-up, slips of paper with blood tests, a desk seen from above. On its top, tools – clamps, scissors, gloves, glue – and more slabs of raw, unglazed clay, some of them in clamps. A comic book held open by a hand with red fingernails. People around a blue billiard table in a wood-panelled room. The finger stops at a photograph of children climbing on a bronze sculpture made of piled massive parts. It has an odd gleam and corrugated shades; a shot of a slide projection. The tips of thumb and forefinger are pressed against each other and spread apart on the glass. Twice. A strange gesture, especially if you misplace it. I repeat it with my hand in the air at eye level but I can’t ascribe any meaning to it. From your point of view maybe: L-O-L!

Instead, now in close-up, a girl’s face appears who has managed to climb to the top of the sculpture and proudly smiles at the camera. At how many by now?

If I mull over this for too long, my fingers remain idle, the backlight switches off, the glass turns black; the space behind dies away and presents another in which I recognise my own reflection. Almost black-in-black, only the white of the eye stands out.

But precisely because of this analogy with black glass, I’m more interested in the black of the eye. If you move close enough to your bathroom mirror and try to look into it, you will also notice that your eye is a mirror in the mirror, and in it you see your own face. Possibly one of the few expressions this is capable of.

For even if the well-known phrase of ‘the eye as the window to the soul’ suggests something else, taken by itself it is deeply expressionless. What can it disclose apart from a couple of clues regarding a person’s health, if it is clouded or reddened? Indeed, the colouring around the black may carry some culture-bound connotations, nevertheless it essentially remains the same except from its scale when the pupil is widened or narrowed. What can this tell us? Bright or dark surroundings. High, or not.

The houses’ windows in Ghost Stories cannot reflect. They remain without glass panes. Also their other functions, of letting in light and allowing a view, will probably never take effect because the houses they are part of only had another storey built atop in order to increase compensation payments when the settlement in southern China, where they stand, is knocked down.

The exploration of a location, however, follows a principle that we have already dismissed. Photographed slides projected onto a matt screen, a mirror in between, and finally then glass again that the camera zooms in to or zooms out of in order to select its section. The narrative of succession is the result of the order of shots on the film roll; the cuts are to allow for more negatives to fit on the paper for exposure. With the contact sheet, in fact also touch is called into play, in this case that of two smooth surfaces. The light treats all equally, particularly equally long, even if some could have done with more, some with less time. At this point, the feature of the houses’ empty orbital cavities to let in light does play a role, after all. For only due to this do they receive their gloom on the exposed paper.

For the fingers it would be more interesting to actually be able to touch the reliefs they find behind the glass. But I assume that even if I stood in front of them they would remain untouched. Although the form and visual impression are due to irregularities and rises on the surface, it is ultimately and above all a view, a relief. Because with this word I think too strongly of geology and, strained by blackness, imagine looking onto the mountain landscape of Monte Negro and picture how erosion has caused this, I make a serious mistake. For unlike the rock from which the mountains are scratched out of, clay is soft when it is formed. If the surface of Cherries and Bananas evoked a different impression, Anna Hofbauer’s voice explains to me pouring out from a silvery metal crack in the glass whilst I place my ear on it, then this were due to chamotte in the clay. Fired, ground clay that is added to the rest of the clay-and-water mixture, which stays hard and sticks onto the tools when they cut through the soft material, and leaves marks like scratches. In the motif, we encounter another form of looking through the glass. Behind it, three reels divided into sections with coloured symbols are rotating, set off by a pull of the lever. When three of the same stop next to each other, the machine is fired up, spilling a strumming gush of coins.

Both Volcano reliefs show this segmentation, too. They consist of multiple tiles on which smooth parts appear slightly tilted, also partly contrasted by different types of clay that extend the tilt across the grid and together create an abstract depiction of the eponymous motif. Whilst still running my finger over the surface, I discover a possible formal inspiration in the logo of an online casino of the same name, which appears as advertisement in shots of a Southeast European city, and I slowly realise that the pattern’s smoothness has not called any geological associations. And yet, the idea that volcanoes are mountains formed not through erosion but rather through eruption, respectively through first very hot and malleable masses that solidify when they cool down could be quite revealing.

I ignored the aspect of great heat being able to transform matter as banality, although I could see how fire(ing) had at least changed the colours of the clay slabs and I had been told that pieces chip if air is knead in when moulding.

Equally crucial is the scorching heat for forming glass, the material I had so close contact to, which once got glowing can be blown up like a balloon. Allegedly, it always remains to be a fluid, however, even if a hypothermic one. One can notice this in old windows, which thicken towards their bottom as the glass has slowly flowed downwards over the years. The panes that I look at and touch may well have a different composition, having lost this quality. If I remain still however and let the large glass showing a white sheet turn black, and then steadily stare into this blackness for several moments, the spheres of light begin to blow up and flow across it, among others in the colours of cherries and bananas. Without a single sound, and no volcano eruption against the nocturnal sky, it nevertheless blends its own light into the room’s darkness.



Clemens Roesch

[transl. Jeanette Pacher]
                                                            Fotos: Stefan Lux





Öffnungszeiten: Während der laufenden Ausstellung!
Sa 15 bis 21 Uhr 
und nach tel. Vereinbarung!

Kontakt: 
Marxergasse 16
A-1030 Wien
0043680 21 63 551
email: offspace@chello.at

Mit der freundlichen Unterstützung von:




Axel Huber

26.11. - 17.12.2016



BMPT 

 









 Fotos: Stefan Lux



Öffnungszeiten: Während der laufenden Ausstellung!
Sa 15 bis 21 Uhr 
und nach tel. Vereinbarung!

Kontakt: 
Marxergasse 16
A-1030 Wien
0043680 21 63 551
email: offspace@chello.at

Mit der freundlichen Unterstützung von:














 Michael Weidhofer
 17.09. - 08.10.2016

 OFF THE SHELF 







 
 




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Other spaces. Michael Weidhofer’s objects and their reference potential

The artistic practice of Michael Weidhofer, who was born in Vienna in 1981, where he still lives and works, can be roughly divided into three categories: (post-) conceptualism, working with space(s), and an object discourse. In his exhibition “Off the Shelf” at the alternative space Fox in Vienna, the artist will mainly present objects. The following text is about these objects and the relation to the rooms / spaces they refer to. It should be pointed out that the (post-)conceptual field in Weidhofer’s work ranges between two poles: There are works for which conceptualism is only one aspect of the work, and others which are more strictly speaking post-conceptual and that focus on working out and operating with concepts. For instance, there’s a parcel in the exhibition that the artist received from his uncle for his first birthday in 1982. It is closed with nine seals and remains unopened to this day. This is always the artist’s most recent work – not because he does something with it, but precisely because he does nothing, leaving the parcel unopened and its contents obscured.
The objects on show at Fox can be summarised under the term of the functional, where functionality varies in terms of structure and quality from object to another. To different degrees, both a sphere made of vacuum formed packaging that is suspended from the ceiling and an object on the floor made of stretcher frames, which are stuck together and painted with oil paint are reminiscent of modernist lamps. Furthermore, the sphere refers to the piece “Medusa’s Head”, and is also faintly evocative of the “Five Moonettes” of US-American artist Chris Burden, who died in 2015 and for numerous reasons is a significant reference for Weidhofer. Besides a fundamentally conceptual approach, both art works are linked, for instance, by a strong interest in practical issues of manufacturing coupled with outstanding technical skills and in steadily opening institutional spaces up to private and public ones. For example the artist cut out his self-portrait in halftone stencil-style  from the bottom of a white plastic bucket and used this stencil in public space later. The bucket no longer functioned as container for fluids and paint, while at the same time it gained an artistic function.
Beside these three works, Weidhofer has built and installed a wooden shelf in the space in which by means of selected, designed objects he virtually presents a small retrospective of his artistic practice. This small-scale retrospective is reminiscent, not coincidentally, of Marcel Duchamp’s portable exhibition piece “Boîte-en-valise” [box in a suitcase]. But furthermore, it refers also to the storage as organisational and institutional necessity, whereby Weidhofer does not distinguish between storing works which have been rejected by the art scene and storing, free of reserve, ennobled objects in a museum context. The presentation of tools and material residues in the shelf in turn refers to another space, which in the case of Weidhofer’s working space is not the outpost of a white cube gallery but is reminiscent of the workshop of a small business where (purely) functional objects are frequently carried out as commissioned work. The fact that the shelf will be used again in the artist’s workshop, demonstrates - as well as the two distorted shelves on show -  the shelves’ hybrid nature between object, display and pure functionality. 
Other objects in the shelf are references to some of the artist’s past projects and the spaces these are linked with. For a project on the grounds of Vienna’s Arsenal, he scanned this and adjacent areas and with the bits and pieces of blue plastics he had found there he copied the mating places (“bowers”) of bowerbirds, which are characteristically often decorated with monochrome litter. The plastic litter is presented in a glass placed in the shelf. From the artist’s flat a toilet window’s casement, which Weidhofer has restored, is exhibited. The majority of objects, however, refer to the premises of the art space mo.ë that is located in a former factory for metal goods in Vienna’s seventeenth district. In 2015, the artist dedicated the large-scale, on site exhibition project “frank” to these premises and their history. A paper model of the building, a chunk of wax from the company’s goldsmiths and a bottle of water from a well in mo.ë’s yard reflect Weidenhofer’s distinct context awareness. He furthermore produced a 85 metre long frottage of the way leading from an apartment in the building to his workshop, which at Fox will be presented in its shipping crate. Finally, his exhibition “Ways in – Ways out”, which allowed visitors to enter and exit mo.ë only through a basement window, is represented in a preview photo.

Weidhofer’s objects not only refer to spaces and projects or, as ready-mades, to the beginnings of real object art and neo-avant-garde appropriations of this concept, however; they also carry great socio-political reference potential. The sphere made of used plastic wrappings refers to the issue of plastic residue and can be considered as an artistic form of recycling. Weidhofer has a strong ecological awareness that is not expressed in actionism or rhetoric, and which can be traced not only this creative gesture but has direct impact on his own lifestyle. Other references relate to the vast and controversially discussed field of social media and their socio-political implications. His stencil self-portrait in a bucket can be regarded as commentary on a present rampant “selfie-mania”. The working warning light that Weidhofer consciously made without a manual as a kind of anti-post-Internet piece refers to the increasingly prevalent alarmist attitude in the media discourse. The object made out of stretcher frames that decrease in size is something of a formal equivalent of the echo chambers and feedback loops of social media, which increasingly present their users only their own preferences (“likes”), concepts and prejudices and set the restriction of one’s own perspective against the initial hopes for an opening up towards the other thanks to social media. These analogies are not imposed on Weidhofer’s work from outside, but indeed correspond with the artist’s intentions.

Christoph Bruckner

Translation: Jeanette Pacher

Fotos: Stefan Lux









 

 


Öffnungszeiten:
Während der laufenden Ausstellung!

Sa 15 bis 21 Uhr 
und nach tel. Vereinbarung!

Kontakt: 
Marxergasse 16
A-1030 Wien
0043680 21 63 551
email: offspace@chello.at

 


 Mit der freundlichen Unterstützung von:





Claudia Märzendorfer
20.05. - 11.06.2016
 
#Reisegruppe schöner Männer



What do you do, stranded in the midst of nowhere? In the midst of anywhere.
Standing next to seven US-paletts, Wotruba is thinking aloud. He makes a sketch with motor oil. At least there’s enough paper, and the petrol station even has a photocopier. Those from the beginnings are still the best! His plan is bold: Thirty of the records put on ice, among them hits like Rasberry Fields Forever and Wotrubas Erben, will be melted and formed anew. Sure: All water under the bridge. Still: Should the plan work,  one could make progress with the new, improvised screen. It‘s a run against time. Somehow, everything is connected and interdependent …
Reisegruppe schöner Männer [Travel Group of Handsome Men] is an experimental set-up – or gesture – in which, just like a composition, Claudia Märzendorfer playfully combines elements that could be the main components of larger groups of works:


Wotruba‘s Agave (Thanks, Werner!)


Windscreen, 2016


Sketches of a Windscreen on Two US-paletts, 2016


Copy of a Copier That Copied Itself, 1991 


One may best describe Claudia Märzendorfer‘s artistic practice as an attempt to portray a moment that seems to be out of control, at once impossible and somehow „wrong“. Rather than making works for eternity (and products for the art market), the artist is interested in the processual, the transformation, as well as in a work‘s complete dissolution or disappearance. Thus, „time“ is a subject in all her works, both in ephemeral sculptural installations and in objects, which were produced with a monumental amount of time. For the artist, time is the „only neutral currency“ – an entity that, regardless of background and social status is and remains the exact same measure.
Since the end of the 1990s, Märzendorfer has been developing and working with a technique and material that  meets her interest in the volatile and uncontrollable: she produces objects with frozen water (sometimes also frozen ink) – ephemeral, unstable sculptures, whose disintegration begins at the moment of their presentation. These generate unique, magic situations that, like musical live performances always bear an instant of surprise. To go against the grain, take a point of view that is free from being functional or useful is a motor for the artist‘s creativity. Besides the already mentioned ice casts – of, a.o. drying, or rather: dripping laundry (Kaltwäsche, 1997 ff.), records made of ice (Frozen Records, since 2005) or a prototype assembly kit (Als er das Messer in die Sonne warf, 2009) – her oeuvre also includes works that explore spaces by means of photography and drawing. For instance, works from recent years like the wall drawing Wandabwicklung (2014) that spans over 200 m in the BIG headquarters in Vienna, or Entered from the elevator, everything is located on the ground floor (2015). For this, the artist made photographic copies of the working and studio spaces of a complete floor of the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and presented the photos in a poster-size pad: a concentration, or even collapse, of space and time.
Then again, to make the objects from the group of works Ersatzteile [spare parts], it took an absurd amount of time and effort: over the course of eight years, the manufactured truck tyres, engine block and various other parts of a lorry slowly took shape stitch by stitch. The engine block‘s organic tangle of knitted cords, tubes and chambers is reminiscent of viscera that have developed an independent existence. „In principle, my vision is that of an deviation or shift from the „standard situation“: to create a world next or parallel to the world because in most cases I find social guidelines and conventions too restrictive. I‘m often surprised about conformism and believe this is one of our society‘s fundamental problems. I often miss people‘s courage to change or improve situations or the general framework independently.“
(CM in an interview on sustainability, 2014)






Text: Rsbrry Club




Öffnungszeiten:
Während der laufenden Ausstellung!

Sa 15 bis 21 Uhr 
und nach tel. Vereinbarung!

Kontakt: 
Marxergasse 16
A-1030 Wien
0043680 21 63 551
email: offspace@chello.at

 


 Mit der freundlichen Unterstützung von: