Pakui Hardware is presenting Vanilla Eyes at Vienna’s MUMOK, opening June 3 and running to November 6.
Curated by Rainer Fuchs, this will be the first Austrian exhibition from the Lithuanian duo where, inspired by science fiction film The Andromeda Strain, they transform the space into an incubator for “still unknown (hybrid) beings of the future”. The aforementioned 1971 techno-thriller, directed by Robert Wise, was inspired by the 1969 Michael Crichton novel of the same name about a deadly alien outbreak begun in Arizona. Pakui Hardware thereby explore the potential of synthetic biology in creating artificial organisms, “leading to a scenario of possible new lifeforms and lifestyles”.
The collective comprising Neringa Černiauskaitė and Ugnius Gelguda has more recently presented Transactions at Oslo’s Podium in February this year, and is a part of the still ongoing Deep Skin group exhibition organised by Grégoire Blunt and Emmy Skensved and taking place 2100 metres underground.
Marina Sula is presenting solo exhibition, What is it Like to be Alive in That Room Right Now at Vienna’s Kevin Space,opening May 25 and running June 19.
Gathered from the accompanying exhibition text is a feeling that Sula will embellish the project space and the room somehow, working with surfaces and touch to negotiate the subject that is looking from the perspective of “increasingly complex layered networks of technologically mediated and physical realities.”
Previous shows have included the Albanian-born artist printing images of dimly-lit ceilings on to plexiglass and made in to benches that are also partially filled with sand.
Sula has recently shown in another of Vienna’s up-and-coming project spaces, Malzgasse12a alongside artist Olivia Coeln in a show called Low Frequencies, as well as at Emozionale, a one-day exhibition in a large warehouse in Milan.
London-based artist and writer Caspar Heinemann had a solo show at Vienna’s Kevin Space that ran from February 23 to March 20 titled nothing is the end of the world they made. Heinemann was the new curatorial collective’s first artist in residence at the space and they made a show by summoning and foraging the traces of material and semiotic references in the found objects that occupied the garage building at the former butchers, and all the invisible things produced in between.
A dragon is drawn on a plastic tarpaulin, which is held on a wall like a flag outside a child’s den by a piece of blue rope strung between a high corner and a large wooden stick. The stick is maybe what a child would find in a clearing and deem a big stick, similar enough to a tree but light enough to carry and bring back to base for building with. Accompanying the dragon are pretend flames, spray painted on in a way that might go a little like: ‘how do I make this fire in my mind exist on this flat surface’. And so in one wavy action, like a flame that waves in the air, fire is applied.
The drawing is a scene of things, seen from above or across a timeline, rather than as a single encounter or moment. It is as though Heinemann has tried to show something that exists in their head that isn’t and won’t ever be in one physical space, a little bit like a magic trick. In a text written by the artist about the show sent to aqnb by the curators, they declare: “I can’t draw (a dragon a utopia) and the infrastructure that enables them.”
Opposite is a similar work, on more tarpaulin decorated with the same range of materials and mediums, this time showing at its core —or theme, as was the dragon in the dragon piece —a stone house whose stone chimney transforms the drawing tentatively but also clearly and intentionally into a tree house. The ‘tree house’ is the main item and it is bigger than its smaller surrounding illustrations, which act like flickering pieces of attention or memory that have been brought about by Heinemann thinking about a tree house.
The tree house and dragon (and its wave of fire to an extent, too) become objects in the show, but not necessarily in the room. They are indecipherably [but maybe tied down to]: thing, theme, trope, totem, illustration, figure-head and symbol —without the offer of actual meaning with which to read the show as a whole in. As a list, this feels somehow akin to Heinemann’s way of introducing statements in the aforementioned text: “Anyway, elsewhere, just, and because.”
The tree house piece is also held by a friendly wooden stick, and presumably then, in the space, the two paintings and their significant others (rope, sticks) create an inclusive arc space where the sticks act like a pair of arms outstretched, mirroring each other and forming a semi-circle. Heinemann has made it so you can’t feel clearly whether this is a pleasant semi-circle of safely chained memories or whether it is being held together, un-happily.
In the middle of the room is a wooden pallet, on its side. It is held tightly in the eye of its beholder because of an additional layer of thinner scarlet red wood added over its centre part. Equally bashful and vivid Heinemann has given nothing is the end of the world they madea middle, or a fire, or a bright memory in the centre of an exhibition view that gathers all that is foraged into one scene.**
“The unstable identity of the present begs for the return of power of the mask from ancient times, when it was used as a form of protection, disguise, performance, or just plain entertainment”, states curator and artist Bogomir Doringer in the catalogue for his newly opened exhibition Faceless II at the Freiraum Quartier21 International of MuseumsQuartier Wien.
The first of the exhibition series, Faceless I, was held with success last summer, working with the theme of ‘facelessness’ in a survey of the emergence of hiding, veiling or masking the face in art and fashion following 9/11. Faceless II continues with this theme in a more interactive way, where issues of the ubiquity of the internet, fame and identity are explored through lectures, performances and workshops in a group context featuring 45 artists.
Dividing the space across “digital masks”, “mirrors”, “icons” and “invisible people” the exhibition design is the first thing to arrest your attention. The wooden construction walls, which run through the exhibition, deliberately resemble a market hall or fair, with works displayed on both sides to include the large number of artworks. There’s one downside of what is otherwise an impressive design, an uneven dispersal of visibility to all artworks, some featured more prominently than others by virtue of said wooden construction.
From the outset, ‘masks’ are the most prominent. “Famous new media artist” Jeremy Bailey, generates digital masks for video chatting, while a workshop to follow, led by the artist himself, explores online survival with out “losing face”, at the same time as using it as a tool for resistance. On the opposite is a screen showing a fashion collection aimed to protect ones privacy. Adam Harvey’s ‘Stealth Wear’ (2013), made by the artist in collaboration with fashion designer Johanna Bloomfield, consists of burqa-like thermal image protective head wear made from a metallic fabric, and the ‘OFF Pocket’ phone container that blocks all outgoing and incoming phone signals. The poignant sound scape of William Basinski‘s video work, ‘Disintegration Loop 1.1’, shot on the evening of September 11, 2001, adds a more serious and dramatic outlook to the whole exhibition.
In the ‘invisible people’ category are works like Andrew Norman Wilson‘s installation ‘Workers Leaving the Googleplex’ (2010) tracking a personal account of discovering a fourth class of yellow-badge employees in the Google HQ hierarchy, who scan books for its digital library, when he himself worked for the major tech corporation. While Jill Magid‘s ‘Article 12/The Spy Project’ (2008), follows the commission and ultimate censorship of a work for the Netherlands secret service (AIVD). She was charged with “provid[ing] the AIVD with a human face” but after meeting agents and portraying them in her way, some of the final work was censored, even confiscated . That text-based work, both blocked and otherwise, are here to view, along with a red neon light threatening, “I Can Burn Your Face” -a reference to the phrase “to burn a face”, in terms of revealing a source’s identity.
An ongoing project by Ari Versluis and Ellie Uyttenbroek exposes the invisible people of Paris with ‘Exactitudes’ (1994-), an ongoing project which collates photos of individuals from across social strata and presenting similarities in appearance and character. In this case it’s a series on the macho; men dressed in hoodies of varying shades of black to white -perhaps a reference to the recent Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida -with the implication being that everyone could find their ‘type’ in these images. That need to find one self is literally reflected in Mirko Lazovic‘s mirror-based work, fulfilling that desire and then demolishing it as the viewer bends over his sculptural work ‘Narciss’(2013). Here, they can see themselves but disfigured, becoming as invisible as the rest of the creatures of the Faceless II space. **