2014. Zrenjanin, Serbia 

Austrian-Serbian artists exchange, part 1


Producer: Danube dialogues: Cooperation extended

Place: Gallery of contemporary art, Zrenjanin

Exhibition title: “235 kms / 100 years – Serbian and Austrian art today”, part one

Curated by Cornelia König & Gerlinde Thuma

Group exhibition of Austrian artists: Kirsten Borchert, Ruth Brauner, Andreas Dworak, Georg Lebzelter, Robert Svoboda, Gerlinde Thuma, Petra Buchegger, Martina Funder, Cornelia Koenig, Rosa Roedelius, Kurt Spitaler and Michael Wegerer.



235 kms / 100 years – Serbian and Austrian Art Today

The cooperation between Austrian and Serbian artists is an initiative of Kunstraumarcade and was developed from a suggestion of Fritz Ruprechter who attended the Danube Dialogues one year before. According to the intention of Dialogues to bring together a larger group of artists for a cooperation, not only the gallery Kunstraumarcade in Mödling could be won to participate but also the Kunstverein Baden and their artists and moreover the Haus der Kunst Baden as additional exhibition space. The title of the exhibition refers to the historic occasion of the years 1914—2014. Hundred years of joint contemporary history are imprinted into the collective memory; thus it is an amazing challenge to show the 100-year period through the eyes of artists. Derived from the subtext Serbian and Austrian Artists Now, the emphasis was laid on the here and today; to the timespan of 100 Years in the exhibition title there was also added the hint to the physical distance, which is at its shortest merely 235 km, i.e. between the current external borders of the two countries. T o overcome this distance The exhibition of the “Austrian Artists” took place at the opening of Danube Dialogues in August 2014 in the Savremena Galerija Zrenjanin; whereas the exhibition of the “Serbian Artists” in September / October 2014 in Austria sets the final point to the joint event of Danube Dialogues 2014.

Each of the two art societies – Kunstraumarcade and Kunstverein Baden – was represented by six artists at the exhibition in Zrenjanin. Some of their works on the subject was shown for the first time on this occasion.

The object New Order of Kirsten Borchert is based on the flags of the former K.u.K. Nations, German-Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia, as well as the flag of the H absburgs. The flags are folded in a way that makes it difficult to identify their origin. The fold itself serves as an allegory of the universal transformation of nations, states, systems and identities and their symbols over time.

Under the Level by Gerlinde Thuma consists of 4 parts with floating and flowing elements; the work extends the exhibition‘s reference to the spacial and temporal relation between Austria and Serbia by playing with numbers when adding the following lines: “Under regular conditions within 100 years a middle value of 53,611,200,000,000 m3 water flows down the Danube from Vienna to Serbia – without considering any accelerating pulse impacts, whereas during the same timespan the human heart beats 3,786,831,120 times under regular strain.”

Ruth Brauner’s er-inner-ung luftleer (Memory Void of Air) is part of a serial concept – the first item of the series constitutes also the artist‘s basic idea that undergoes a change in the following shown works; “possibility pictures” emerge, blurring the boundaries between inside and outside. The memory of outwardly unspectacular events of everyday life is focused in this works.

The shown sheets of Andreas Dworak were created in the technique of multiple gumbichromate print on watercolour paper. In the context of the work there are nostalgia, transformation, history and their changing connotations.

Georg Lebzelter shows under the title systema 7 sheets of a series of serigraphy and digital prints. The collage material is taken from various textbooks for biology classes from the 50s and 60s of the 20th century. “System” (gr. Σύστημα = a composite of parts of a whole) means a set of elements that are related to and interact with each other in a way that they can be viewed as a task or meaning or purpose unit respectively.

Schicksalslied (Song of Destiny) – the miniature installations by Robert Svoboda are basically humorous observations on (deadly) serious issues. Problems and catastrophes are reduced to cigar box size and built like a stage set model – with black humour or even in a shocking and touching way as in the mise-enscene of “World Destruction” or “Abyss” with real photos of natural disasters. Those art work positions have all in common that they put into context their view of the past and present as well as the society and individuality.

In the spatial sculpture of Rosa Roedelius a something like Großmütters Träume (Grandmother‘s Dreams) hangs down like cocoons, symbolising curtains of memories and dreams, denying the sight inwards and outwards, where only a limited peeping onto the subject is possible – but then, who knows, there is a move, they might hatch, indeed. T he sheet Höhlenperle (Cave Pearl) at the wall has changed, staged like an underwater world, becoming a treasure, a find of the cave.

“In her work modeling I and modeling II from the year 2012 Petra Buchegger models in clothes of apron fabric. Modeling II spans the range from business suit to a Gothic outfit and further to a Dirndl dress. In this self-portrait series the artist changes not only the clothes but according to the different social roles also her postures and gestures. Though not always her body language and facial expression meet the expectations of the viewer.” — Katja Mittendorfer-Oppolzer (MdM Salzburg).

The light-boxes titled Looking For by Cornelia König deal with relationship and encounter. “Looking For shows two persons face-to-face who seek to grasp each-other and thus build a body language communication. Only their shapes are visible, their hands stretching out, groping their way, seeking each other – but they miss, and no connection is made. At this point they give away any further chance to meet ever again. An invisible wall stands between them.” — Dagmar Travner (writer).

Kurt Spitaler is represented in the exhibition with two spatial objects. T he stitched cardboard tube titled 24 Hours appears as a unit leaning casually in a corner – in the ground sculpture Nature Remixed – 2/2014, sometimes it still hurts, while everything seems naturally connected in the middle of the room. Individual parts result in a new whole entity, charged with new content and the idea of a new order of things.

Martina Funders three objects Lazón 1—3 / Steinzeug (Stoneware) is about death which the artist characterises as the only reliable truth. A truth not easy to sell, though. Death appears randomly and gives the lie to all illusions. It sits on watch – always.

Michael Wegerer shows scan prints of the series 24 Hours – Northern Light. “Michael Wegerer‘s approach to painting deals with the phenomenon of light as a basic principle. T he exhibited “scan paintings”, manually created four-colour serigraphy, are built up from a starting material which was digitally captured, respectively scanned. In this case the artist has been scanning the colours of the sky light in northern Europe during 24 hours at the summer solstice. T hose art works claim their own scenic space through reproduction and handicraft implementation on transparent Japanese paper.” — Hartwig Knack (art historian).


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