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In Awe

By Jennifer Gelardo

The remarkably un-connotated and long-established space of the Kunsthalle Exnergasse in Vienna was host to the the “in awe” exhibition which ran from October until November of this year. The exhibition spread throughout the space with slacking shapes and lying limbs, hung from walls and in shelve systems. With excerpts from their current productions, some artists would let curator Melanie Ohnemus select the protagonists for her interrelational formations, others decided to make paintings or objects especially for this occasion, or intervened in performative ways.

Laura Hinrichsmeyer “Alitoto Solemini,” 2016, metal resin fiberglass,pigment.

In a general pull to one corner of the space, the assembly of the artworks disclosed an antagonistic development of figuration and posed questions towards ideas of refinement. Joining two important influences of her career, namely the art scenes of Frankfurt am Main, Germany and Vienna, Austria, the curator opted for being highly subjective in her approach. In terms of installation though the contributions were managed poignantly. The show offered a carelessness in spite of stylish or programmatic exhibition-making that might overwrite exhibits themselves by their thematic overburdening.

Lisa Holzer, The Dissidents, 2016, pigment print on cotton paper, Crystal Clear 202/1, polyurethane on glass, framed, 92 x 72 cm.

The Dissidents, a graphic piece on shrill yellow cotton paper by Lisa Holzer, the only item placed on the wall to the right seen from the entrance, set an intuitional tone with its abstract movement. Being a blown-up photographic image depicting the inside of a chips bag, it is accompanied by one of her quotes, this time around power and puke. Lena Henke’s black fiberglass figure, which was placed in a manner of welcoming the viewer into the left drift, introduced an almost undefinable drapery balancing precariously on three kinds of male deodorants. This horseless saddle turned it’s back on Josefin Granqvist’s crudely made tiny ceramic shelve holding a stone she had retrieved from a lake nearby her Swedish home. Being one of two shrines mounted to each short side of a wall-module in the middle of the room, they were inducing a kind of enchanted moment into the situation. Describing these three assemblages may outline a reluctance towards definition and an impulse against a binary mode of thought that was inherently felt in this balancing act of an art exhibition.


Nicole Wermers, Lena Henke,2017, exhibition view, Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna.(ALL PHOTOS Photos: Markus Krottendorfer

“in awe”
curated by Melanie Ohnemus
Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna, Austria
Währinger Str. 59, 1090 Wien, Austria

In Galerie Emanuel Layr’s current exhibition, Fieber, Lena Henke, Lisa Holzer, and Margaret Raspé revel the creative process as a kind of sickness, something akin to an incurable fever! The exhibition, curated by Kari Rittenbach, works to recontextualize womanhood, domesticity, and creative production.


Fieber, Lena Henke, Lisa Holzer, Margaret Raspé, Curated by Kari Rittenbach, Installation view, Galerie Emanuel Layr, Vienna.

The exhibition features new sculptures from Henke’s Female Fatigue series. In My Piece of Cake and His Piece of Cake, sand, ceramic, and metal structures are tethered by classic pink rubber bands and accompanied by the corresponding molds. In these works, Henke pays homage to the innovation of Austrian architect Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky best known for her reinvention of the household kitchen, now commonly know as the Frankfurt Kitchen, whose streamlined design helped liberate the 1920s woman from the drudgery of housework.

Lisa Holzer’s photographs, enter the exhibition with a droopy, earth-toned, guttural smear. Puréed lentils and pure white sugar icing are reductive, sexy, and take center stage, like something between excrement and an abstract expressionist brush stroke executed with a spatula. These corporal photographs sweat beads of acrylic paint, their stillness challenging an appearance of exhalation.

Margaret Raspé’s super 8 films from the 1970s play throughout the gallery on a continuous loop. Raspé’s films were recorded point of view style by strapping the camera to a workman’s helmet, a technique that allowed Raspé to turn her everyday movements into performance. The impetus for this use of the camera spawned from a desire to expand on the political issues of the 1970s surrounding reproductive labor. The imagery in her films oscillates between scenes of domestic work and artistic production.