Here and Now. Vienna Sculpture 2022
An accompanying booklet is being published for the exhibition, which, according to the numbering in the room, offers short texts on the works presented. The digital texts on this website also follow this sequence.
01 Peter Sandbichler, born 1964 in Kufstein, Austria
Peter Sandbichler’s Schlagbaum is a balanced tension of large poles reminiscent of turnpikes or border beams. It seems to take the theme of the border ad absurdum. Is it a boundary, an inclusion or exclusion, territorial or spiritual? The border beams hold each other, thus thwarting their actual function. An ironic reference to our historical heritage with frightening topicality.
02 Angelika Loderer, born 1984 in Feldbach, Austria
"Poems to Gadgets (Icicles)" (2018)
Angelika Loderer’s works in the series Poems to Gadgets (Icicles) are brass casts of creatures made of ice. Like creatures from another world, they stand as a small group in the exhibition space as if frozen and disoriented in their movement and materiality. The icicles remain static, the seams of the moulds visible, the material unpolished with a dull surface, artificial-abstract and yet organic. The fragile balance is created not only by the steel struts on which they stand, but also by the transformation of the mobile into the immobile, by the contrast of temporary and permanent – of ice into metal.
03 Rudolf Polanszky, born 1951 in Vienna, Austria
"Fragmentic objects" (2020/2022)
Rudolf Polanszky’s material aesthetic is fed by readily available materials. His works, such as here fragmentic objects, are created from old industrial materials such as acrylic glass, resin, silicone, wire or mirror foil. Polanszky transforms them into purely formal, abstract compositions of surprising energy and beauty, beyond their original material use. From the very beginning of her artistic career, the material combinations have been created as assemblages not only in three-dimensional space but also in painting and film. The combination of conscious artistic strategies with intuitive processes guided by chance determines Polanszky’s theoretical and visual work. The interaction in the creative process is form-giving, what the artist calls “ad hoc synthesis”. The works are developed as models that pursue this artistic approach of the “in-between”.
04 Peter Sandbichler, born 1964 in Kufstein, Austria
"Alte Schachtel #8/2020" (2020)
For his work Alte Schachtel #8/2020, Peter Sandbichler deforms a commercially available, industrially produced cardboard box, a very large “box”, and has the mould cast in UHPC, Ultra High Performance Concrete. This high-performance material is characterised by particularly high strength and density and is preferentially used in, for example, the renovation and reinforcement of bridges. Cardboard is a fascinating material because, in the right folding and construction, it creates an impressive service portfolio – for example, for the transport of goods and merchandise. At the same time, a simple box is a disposable object in our current consumer culture. Sandbichler makes the cardboard unusable and at the same time eternally durable – a contrast that makes visible the systematic transfer of the everyday object into art.
05 Toni Schmale, born 1980 in Hamburg, Germany.
"schlauch #1" and "schlauch #2" (2022)
Two more-than-head-high galvanised metal sheets lean wearily against the wall, stabilised by steel tubes that spring seamlessly from their surfaces and flow to the floor, supporting them. Toni Schmale’s schlauch #1 and schlauch #2 clearly pose the question of function and usability. Somehow static, yet at the same time inviting – to what, however, is unclear. What is clearly perceptible, however, is that the invitation is to something physical, a physical challenge. Even if considerably abstracted, it is plain that these clear, forged structures are not installed here in the spirit of l’art pour l’art. Are we faced here with two congealed “battle ropes” which, when used, promise nothing less than the optimisation of the entire body, if not of our entire being? The bodily reference to the immobility of the “ropes” or “tubes” and the projection of our self-value-determining ideal measurements – bound up, of course, with social position and social evaluation – are functional and, as it were, in the same breath thwarted by the steely immobility of the material.
06 Birke Gorm, born 1986 in Hamburg, Germany
"capacity and composure" (2021)
In her installation works capacity and composure, Birke Gorm uses materials that are foreign to art: she gives the easily accessible and inexpensive material of jute a determining, formative presence. In its characteristic brown tone, the almost cosy-looking “beanbags” seem to imitate agricultural feed sacks. But they are tied up, strewn with old can lids and combined with low stools. The arrangement creates a space that is obviously intended for a specific use. Exactly what that is, however, remains disconcertingly open. Materials are always bound to certain contexts of use and thus evoke associations that are socially handed down and can vary depending on cultural context, socialisation and education. Gorm uses this level of meaning in the materials of her sculptures and thus at the same time leaves the interpretation moot.
07 Constantin Luser, born 1976 in Graz, Austria
Constantin Luser’s works are fundamentally based on drawing: the transfer into the three-dimensional space takes place in a consistent development of linear structures. Luser combines the disciplines of painting, graphics, sculpture and music. This poetic interweaving also gave rise to the brass wire object Schallmaurerei. The wires join together like systematically arranged layers and yield a delicate overall picture that presents itself in ever new facets as the viewer walks around it. It tells of the spatial component of sound – a thematic as well as a formal act of abstraction.
08 Fritz Panzer, born 1945 in Judenburg, Austria
Fritz Panzer recreates commonly known situations of our everyday life. He does not imitate them in a photorealistic way, but in the form of an abstraction that is very much his own, oriented towards the outlines of rooms, objects and furniture. The translation of these borders into a drawn line is brought into three-dimensional space through the use of wire. Panzer hangs his work Volkswagen from the ceiling: a VW Golf 1 on a scale of 1:1, sketchily traced, unfinished towards the back, the completion of the iconic form left to the viewer. It is a spatial drawing that is not only immediately identifiable but also incorporates the surrounding space as a formative element, appearing different and new in every place by virtue of its “transparency”.
09 Kerstin von Gabain, born 1979 in Palo Alto, USA
Kerstin von Gabain’s Stove is disconcerting in several respects. The appearance of the obvious, albeit disproportionate and very small remake of a stove in the exhibition space immediately poses the question of functionality, raises expectations of what might happen or be possible – and then straightaway disappoints them. Made of cardboard, wood, wax, glue and oil paint, the form remains the only realistic reference to the utilitarian object. An object of use of existential value in the history of mankind, which, in the current threatening situation of energy shortages, assumes a socio-political topicality. The play with ambivalence, between real and fake, exemplified in Stove, is inscribed in Gabains’s artistic practice. On the basis of these formally and medially differently elaborated opposites emerge confusions, simplifications and ironic references that address, for example, current states of social dissonance and institutional rites of the art market.
10 Sasha Auerbakh, born 1985 in Moscow, Russia
"Sebastian S. 2" (2020)
Two large white balls hang from the ceiling on a black chain fitted with small black padlocks of the kind that have always been attached to bridges as patents of eternal love, immortalised by the lovers’ initials. Stickers of male nudes adorn the balls as if at random. Sasha Auerbakh calls her work Sebastian S. 2, referring to the first names of her photographed models, but also conjuring up associations of Saint Sebastian – the suffering, wounded male body that has been the epitome of iconic, Adonis-like beauty since the Renaissance. The work is one of a series of sculptural works that transpose, put up for discussion, dissect and abstract the male nude in different media and formats. In proverbs, the formal language of fetishes and their social classification, the artist plays with clichés, not only those of traditional nude painting and the role of women in it, but also contemporary narratives on the patriarchal dominance of the male nude body. Auerbakh’s formal and material arrangement deploys the stylistic devices of irony and wit to contemplate and name the present.
11 Sonia Leimer, born 1977 in Merano, Italy
"Schwarzes Loch" (2014)
In her series Schwarzes Loch, Sonia Leimer deals with the period of the Economic Miracle in a citational manner. The viewer recognises this only at second glance, because the “Space Age” vases from the 1960s and 70s mounted on rebar are no longer immediately identifiable as such – and not only because they are mounted at a height of approximately 2.5 metres. The surfaces have also been partially covered by a fused glaze, thus changing their original appearance. Stripped of their function, the vases display their undefined, because dark and unlimited, interior.
12 Siggi Hofer, born 1970 in Bruneck, Italy
New York / Chicago (2016/2022)
In New York / Chicago Siggi Hofer fashions island-like high-rise buildings. An arrangement of fantastical structures, reminiscent of the skyscrapers of American cities and made of antiquarian Playmobil modules, is placed in the exhibition space on pedestals and trolleys. It seems like a utopian scenario of urban play, raising the fundamental question of what our life-world is and can be, how we use it and what we need. The game of composition and combination illustrates Hofer’s reflexive approach to our present. It poses questions about individual and social identity and community through the use of existing toy modules that immediately bring to mind our own childhood.
13 Michael Kienzer, born 1962 in Steyr, Austria
Graues Verhältnis (2019)
Michael Kienzer produces his wall piece Graues Verhältnis from various metals. The folds seem to be draped in a painterly manner, quite in contrast to the actual nature of the material used. The different grey colouring of the iron and zinc sheets and the mesh-like, permeable steel fabric create shades through the deformation and combinations. The materials stand in a tense relationship to each other, generated by the use of force in the shaping. The sheets and meshes are divested of their actual function and combined here in an image, brought into a new form and a different context that defines them as an artistic object.
All photos by Günter Richard Wett / Peter Sandbichler „Schlagbaum“ (2011) and “Alte Schachtel #08/2020“ (2020), Courtesy of Galerie Elisabeth & Klaus Thoman Innsbruck/Vienna / Angelika Loderer “Poems to Gadgets (Icicles)” (2018), Courtesy of the artist and Sophie Tappeiner Vienna / Rudolf Polanszky „Fragmentic objects” (2020/2022), Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Konzett / Toni Schmale „schlauch #1“ and „schlauch #2“ (2022), Courtesy of the artist and Galerie König / Birke Gorm “capacity and composure” (2021), Courtesy of the artist and Croy Nielsen / Constantin Luser “Schallmaurerei” (2021), Courtesy of the artist / Fritz Panzer „Volkswagen“ (2012/2022), Courtesy of Galerie Krobath Vienna / Kerstin von Gabain, „Stove“ (2021), Courtesy of the artist and Exile Gallery / Sasha Auerbakh “Sebastian S. 2” (2020), Courtesy of the artist / Sonia Leimer „Schwarzes Loch“ (2014), Courtesy of the artist and Galerie nächst St. Stephan / Siggi Hofer “New York / Chicago” (2016/2022), Courtesy of the artist / Michael Kienzer „Graues Verhältnis“ (2019), Courtesy of Galerie Elisabeth & Klaus Thoman Innsbruck/Vienna