The As Rights Go By – On the Erosion and Denial of Rights group show is on at Vienna’s freiraum quartier21 space in the MuseumsQuartier, opening April 13 and running to June 5.
Organised by curator Sabine Winkler and featuring the likes of Yuri Pattison, James Bridle and Nikita Kadan,the artworks in the large exhibition explore the impact of globalisation, financialisation, and mass surveillance on civil rights and human rights, as well as the social and judicial inequality they entail.
The issue of the distribution of rights is also topical now in an art context, the press release notes, and in this respect the show, which is held in on the ground floor of a building that gathers ‘creatives’ and people working in the cultural industry, will extend its exploration of social or societal asymmetries inside aesthetics and what is visible of the conditions of an individual’s art production.
Other works featured in As Rights Go By will be a board game version of everyday reality in crisis-ridden Greece by Lina Theodorou, a legal contract written backwards byCarey Young and works by George Drivas, Silvia Beck, Özlem Günyol/Mustafa Kunt, Kollektiv Migrafona (Belinda Kazeem, Petja Dimitrova, Radostina Patulova, Vlatka Frketić, Vina Yun), Vladimir Miladinović, Lorenzo Pezzani und Charles Heller (Forensic Architecture), Julien Prévieux, Andrea Ressi, and Judith Siegmund.
How do we understand Malevich’s ‘Black Square’ today? How do we focus on its empty void that in the 1915 exhibition, 0.10 in Petrograd, reduced art to a promise of zero: where art had no icon, no image, no imagined state in its gaze and where, hopefully, art could start again and zero could be moved on from.
How does the ‘Black Square’ haunt art now? The artists in the exhibition The Absent Image, curated by Elene Abashidze in Tbilisi’s Gallery Nectar reflect upon this exactly 100 years since 0.10.
Imran Perretta’s work ‘FSWAD’ (2015) is two sheets of foil blankets on whose surface skin whitening cream mixed with white emulsion paint leaves two silver parts distanced from each other. The silver feels torn apart, and more visible now, perhaps despite being so. They sit above a plastic mosque that is placed on top of a plastic bag with an alarm clock nearby. It looks like it’s on top of a cloud, difficult to place.
Tbilisi born and New York-based Anna K.E.’s video from 2011 is projected on the wall. ‘Enough Sugar’ shows the artist pulling herself across a studio floor on a rectangle shape made of white tiles. She sits on the tiles as though there’s something terrible on the ground that she can’t touch and moves things out of the way with sticks as she makes her way painfully and slowly across. The camera is always behind her, filming her back, which is working hard. Somehow it is difficult to call the rectangle of white tiles ‘a boat’ and it is too simple to say she is ‘rowing’.
Gio Sumbadze, who was recently interviewed by Tbilisi-based Abashidze about the deep connection between Western-centric ideas of acceleration, and more historical understandings of utopia shows ‘Map of Nowhere’ (2015). It is a series of pencil drawings, torn from a sketch book and nailed to the wall, all in a row. The maps are not directive. They are flat, like photographs of roses taken from above, caught just as they are -imaged and not signifying. They do not lead anywhere and somehow there is a correlation between looking at them and looking at ‘Enough Sugar’, which holds a view also from slightly above and behind.
Presented in a wooden vitrine as an archive is Nikita Kadan’s work ‘Yesterday, Today, Today’ (2012). Small and portrait marble and granite blocks are lined up together, some with fronts coated in coloured tape while Sophie Jung’s piece is two paired-back and silently installed iPod minis. The title of Jung’s piece is ‘COS of the Grand Change, and dada: art is to be explored: it is not to discover just one way to paint, a painter must always try neeeew ways to paint’ (2015). Perhaps it’s a small request to focus-in on the present tense. Jung’s pitch of “Art is to be explored” against “it is not to discover just one way to paint” might pose a disconnection in the one-way flow or current route that art often takes to define an imagined and imaged future. **