THURSDAY, FEB 04 2010 - WEDNESDAY, MAY 05 2010
This exhibition understands art in a very mundane sense as a source of solace. It is committed to the mildly intoxicating character of beauty and the inebriating quality of alcohol and embraces the baser genres of still life and decoration. The show comprises two perspectives. One addresses the topic of solace in a contemplative movement revolving around objects, video, and painting. The other focuses on the headier consolations of inebriation and intoxication. The exhibition at the Austrian Cultural Forum is supplemented by a series of performances and events taking place in different locations throughout the city, each bringing up a form of solace, be it meditative or delirious.
The complexities of solace are reflected by the diversity of works in the exhibition. Paintings by Ernst Caramelle, Alex Hubbard, Ruth Laskey, Gerwald Rockenschaub, and Rita Vitorelli reveal the consolatory aspects of the medium of painting itself. Sands Murray-Wassink’s video confronts identity and sexuality by way of an act of masturbation. Tom Marioni’s The Act of Drinking Beer with Friends Is the Highest Form of Art promises solace through conversations conducted in a serene atmosphere of communal inebriation. The Bruce High Quality Foundation’s homage to Beethoven and Ayn Rand, titled Ode to Joy (The Fountainhead), and Peter Coffin’s installation Untitled (Equilibrium Balloons) represent more philosophical forms of solace. The latter addresses existential issues like inner balance by means of a deceptively simple visual metaphor. Lastly, the DIY romanticism of the Viennese art collective Mahony in Schäbiger Mond, leuchte [Make-shift moon, lamp] takes a more aesthetically-minded approach, floating a hand-built moon in a Caspar David Friedrich-like setting installed in a bedroom dresser.
The solace sought in inebriation and intoxication is explored more directly in the projects and performances that will take place throughout the period of the exhibition, both at the Austrian Cultural Forum and at several off-site venues. Philosophical drinking songs, penned by the early twentieth-century Austrian philosopher and economist Felix Kaufmann, will be played during the opening reception. The Solace party, hosted by Austria-based art magazine spike, will further delve into the intricacies of inebriation. There will be an evening of theory (In Memory of Painting: Solace), action (a performance by the New York-based duo Rancourt/Yatsuk), and musical entertainment (a concert by the French electronica composer Koudlam). There will also be a poetry reading where actor Jeff Horn will read poems on solace selected by artists in the show. A film screening curated by Andreas Huber will bring together various consolatory film and video works.
In the first week of March, the members of the Palm d’Or Social Club (Lucas Ajemian, Julien Bismuth, Mike Bouchet, Henrik Capetillo, Sebastian Clough, Christian Jankowski, and Seth Williamson) will host an evening of entertainment. Last but not least, several artists will lead walks through New York City to the places where they find or found their own unique forms of solace.
Admission is free.
Artists: Julien BISMUTH, THE BRUCE HIGH QUALITY FOUNDATION, Ernst CARAMELLE, Peter COFFIN, Alex HUBBARD, KOUDLAM, Ruth LASKEY, Lorna MACINTYRE, MAHONY, Tom MARIONI, Sands MURRAY-WASSINK, RANCOURT/YATSUK, Gerwald ROCKENSCHAUB, Martha ROSLER, Misha STROJ, Piotr UKLANSKI, and Rita VITORELLI
Executive Producers and Curators: Severin DÜNSER, Christian KOBALD, Emanuel LAYR, Andreas STADLER, and Rita VITORELLI
Exhibition Coordinator: Natascha BOOJAR