CRITIC’S PICKS FOR VIENNA ART WEEK:
Group exhibition “Propeller II“
Floating or to become flotsam for a short while: This form of movement involves the exploratory roaming through an exhibition space. With reference to the Latin word “propellere” (“to propel, to drive, to move”), Fotogalerie Wien is showing a well-curated selection of current artistic works by students from Austrian art universities for the second time. The emphasis lies on positions from the fields of new media and photography. It is therefore not surprising that each of the works shown anchors itself in these areas in the broadest sense.
A 16mm projector whirs and acoustically occupies the room. Blurred analog moving images of the moon from the installation “12/13, 08/26/2018, 22:11 Uhr” by the duo diallostruempf flicker on two pillars, The mechanics of these apparatuses dominate the space. The soundtrack to Evi Jägle’s “Multimedia Installation” gets the short end of the stick here, so that it primarily makes a visual-immersive appearance: three screens surrounded by transparent smocks with bulging pockets. In the videos, Jägle condenses pop culture with mythical creatures, 3-D objects and comic figures into cryptic massive entities. They don’t feel alien, but overwhelming. Next to them, nine pin-hole photographs (“PLUS/MINUS”) by the constellation Vincent Forstenlechner and Ira Grünberger who are based in The Hague, Vienna and Salzburg, hang in orderly formation. In a form of self-archaeology, the two use a self-made pinhole camera to document its place of origin, which suggests an excavation site or a workshop rather than the duos own four walls. The image as tool, the tool as image, and the tool with the image. This train of thought unfolds when viewing the photographs.
Vitória Monteiro’s film work “a história comença a partir de nós” and Kelly Ann Gardener’s three-channel video installation “ariel in counterpoint” are situated in the rooms flanking the sides. They form focused calm poles within the swirling current of exhibition contributions. Monteiro’s film interweaves narratives of Brazilian women about experiences of violence, displacement, and their years in exile into a collective voice. Airplane shots, train rides and car journeys form the visual underpinnings constantly on the move; the narrative voice creates an oppressive confinement. Entirely different, tentative and poetic, Gardener takes us to Saddleworth Moor near Manchester. For a moment, one thinks of the images of stone formations from Charlotte Prodger’s film “BRIDGIT.” But Gardener’s landscape images initiate a stronger level of abstraction, opening up both as micro and macro. The voiceover, spread across three individual soundtracks, washes around the large-scale projections and the wind, which Gardener describes, carries one’s thoughts. Drifting, one intentionally circles this group exhibition before moving on again. The discrete side arms to the main room do not seem very exciting at first. But if you get tangled up within them, you might stay longer.