Roads that we travel have no end.
Long-promised lands and prematurely lost.
Rainer Maria Rilke
How do we cope with reality in which every effort to think outside the prevalent socio-political paradigm, offered as best of all possible worlds, is disqualified as mere childish reverie? Where is the boundary between the attempts to leave the confines of the everyday and illusory utopia? In order to explore this boundary, Mark Požlep sets off on a journey, which acts both as a thematic and formal element: not only are his works literally constructed as travel journals, but they are intense processual explorations, based on long-term examination of his own artistic position. Like an anti-hero of the Beat Generation, Požlep responds to the existential social crisis with his artistic expeditions, which are not driven by an escapist reflex, but rather by a need to critically enunciate his opposition to the status quo. Therefore, travel journals are the first key element of Mark's dual paradigm of the journey, serving as a fundamental document of the initial concept, process and the conclusion of his adventures of non-conformity.
The most complex among them, Whatever happened to major Tom, simultaneously functions as a self-reflection of his art, combining explorations and elements from earlier projects, which now take the form of a more monumental epic narrative. In the undisguised manner of an idealist romantic artist, Mark Požlep sets sail on a utopian expedition on a boat recovered from decay, arriving on a tiny Adriatic island to plant a palm tree. The emphatic sublime of his act is in itself a moment of self-reflection. The epic quest and its romantic feature of Sisyphus’ labour as an antidote to commonly professed inalterability of social parameters emerges through unhindered self-irony; it is in fact an adventure of an antihero. It is by no means a naive rebellion stemming from the bourgeois Weltschmerz, but rather a manifest gesture of opposition to passionless positivism. Mark's statement about the necessity of transgressing paralyzing social lethargy with the power of imagination and ideals is nevertheless a lucid meta-narrative, a reflection of his own artistic position and real effects of his actions.
This concern is highlighted in Homelands, Požlep's project that took place in the Holon suburb of Tel Aviv. During his residency at the local Centre for digital arts, a sole element of gentrification in the otherwise neglected working class neighbourhood, Požlep teamed up with local youth to erect a four meter high hill in the museum back yard. The collaborative project brought together the creative potential of city's margins, without the theatrical promise of imminent cultural regeneration, an empty pledge typical of many of today's community projects. But it is in the very gesture of bringing people together through trivial, apparently futile building of a hill of sand, the action of simply transporting heaps of sand from one part of the yard to the other, that the community potential of the neighbourhood becomes clear. The project once more underlines that the true force of Požlep's works rests in the tension between the spontaneous dedication to an act of pure enthusiasm and the reflection of his own gesture through an ironic self-distance, traits emphatically present in Homelands. Human potential in Homelands emerges from an utterly futile action, which reminds us that the first prerequisite of social change is courage, even when it seems it will not get us far.
That is why Mark Požlep ventures on another journey, revisiting the lands of one of the last great utopias, that of brotherhood and unity. In the project Stranger than paradise we follow Požlep as he visits six republics of the former Yugoslavia in seven days, entertaining the elderly living in different retirement homes in a vintage role of a popular entertainer. By assuming this anachronous image, he construes himself as an anti-hero, replacing nostalgic implications with a gesture of perseverance malgré tout. The fact that a certain utopia experienced a downfall by no means implies that we have to replace it with apathy. Therefore, Stranger than Paradise looks for the remains, unpretentiously agitating through popular music, a binding agent of the past, not in order to give in to melancholy, but rather to reanimate the potential of the lost faith in the future.
All of Mark Požlep's explorations can essentially be expressed with the question: what is it that gives us power and motivation for action after the end of the great meta-narratives? The answer that lies in his works is never proscribed or even articulated. They instead absorb us with their contagious force of courage, thus reanimating our dormant need for the active creation of meaning.
Curated by "Prison Photography" editor Pete Brook for Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, "Prison Obscura" presents rarely seen vernacular, surveillance, evidentiary, and prisoner-made photographs, shedding light on the prison industrial complex. Why do tax-paying, prison-funding citizens rarely get the chance to see such images? And what roles do these pictures play for those within the system? With stark aesthetic detail and meticulous documentation, "Prison Obscura" builds the case that Americans must come face to face with these images and imaging technologies both to grasp the cancerous proliferation of the U.S. prison system and to connect with those it confines.
CHARIM EVENTS in the Offspace Schleifmühlgasse shows Markus Krottendorfer's installation "Pointing toward the Stars". GABRIELE SENN GALERIE presents works by Cäcilia Brown, Kerstin von Gabain, Kathi Hofer, Marko Lulic, Barbara Mungenast, Elfie Semotan and Hans Weigand. Adel Abdessemed shows large format drawings of "Soldiers" at CHRISTINE KÖNIG GALERIE. In the group show "WAS DIE WANGE RÖTHET, KANN NICHT ÜBEL SEYN" with Anna-Sophie Berger, Marita Fraser, Mariah Garnett, Manuel Gorkiewicz, Anna Hofbauer, Axel Koschier, Alex Lawler, Signe Rose, Anne Speier, Misha Stroj, Herwig Weiser and Astrid Wagner / Johannes Schweiger / Anna Haifisch can be seen at KERSTIN ENGHOLM GALLERY. Another goup show is held at UNTTLD CONTEMPORARY called REJECTION with Alfredo Barsuglia, Sofia Goscinski, Paul Leitner and Lucas Zallmann. A SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION is the name of the group show at GALERIE ANDREAS HUBER with Rosa Aiello, Uri Aran, Francisco Cordero-Oceguera, Gregory Edwards, Lucas Michael, K.r.m. Mooney, Sara Greenberger Rafferty, Bunny Rogers & Jasper Spicero, Edward Marshall Shenk and Amalia Ulman organized by Franklin Melendez.
CHARIM EVENTS im Offspace Schleifmühlgasse zeigt Markus Krottendorfer Installation "Pointing toward the Stars". GABRIELE SENN GALERIE präsentiert Arbeiten von Cäcilia Brown, Kerstin von Gabain, Kathi Hofer, Marko Lulic, Barbara Mungenast, Elfie Semotan und Hans Weigand. Adel Abdessemed zeigt großformatige Zeichnungen von "Soldaten" in der GALERIE CHRISTINE KÖNIG. Eine Gruppenausstellung "WAS DIE WANGE RÖTHET, KANN NICHT ÜBEL SEYN" mit Anna-Sophie Berger, Marita Fraser, Mariah Garnett, Manuel Gorkiewicz, Anna Hofbauer, Axel Koschier, Alex Lawler, Signe Rose, Anne Speier, Misha Stroj, Herwig Weiser und Astrid Wagner / Johannes Schweiger / Anna Haifisch kann man sich in der KERSTIN ENGHOLM GALLERY anschauen. Eine weitere Gruppenausstellung ist bei UNTTLD CONTEMPORARY zu sehen: REJECTION mit Alfredo Barsuglia, Sofia Goscinski, Paul Leitner und Lucas Zallmann. A SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION nennt sich die Schau in der GALERIE ANDREAS HUBER mit Rosa Aiello, Uri Aran, Francisco Cordero-Oceguera, Gregory Edwards, Lucas Michael, K.r.m. Mooney, Sara Greenberger Rafferty, Bunny Rogers & Jasper Spicero, Edward Marshall Shenk und Amalia Ulman zusammengestellt von Franklin Melendez.
The BELVEDERE shows Jasper Johns: Regrets, his most recent body of work, developed over the last year and a half, including paintings, drawings and prints, based on a photograph of the young artist Lucian Freud perched on a bed, taken around 1964 by the British photographer John Deakin and used by Francis Bacon as source material for his own paintings. Johns incorporated into his work not only the photograph of Freud (most often doubled by its mirrored image), but also the physical qualities of the original black-and-white print, which Bacon had extensively torn and creased in the course of his studio practice. The exhibition is based upon one originally organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Location: Upper Belvedere. Jan 13, 2015 until Apr 26, 2015
Mit Jasper Johns: Regrets zeigt das BELVEDERE neue Arbeiten des 1930 geborenen US-amerikanischen Künstlers. Die Ausstellung im Oberen Belvedere präsentiert neueste Arbeiten des Künstlers, die in den vergangenen eineinhalb Jahren entstanden sind, Gemälde, Zeichnungen und Drucke. Ausgangspunkt ist ein im Jahr 1964 aufgenommenes Foto von John Deakin, das den jungen Künstlers Lucian Freud auf einem Bett zeigt und von Francis Bacon als Vorlage für eines seiner Werke verwendet wurde. Johns bezieht dabei auch die materiellen Eigenschaften des originalen Schwarz-Weiß-Drucks ein, den Bacon im Zuge seiner Studioarbeit stark beschädigt hatte. Diese Ausstellung basiert auf einem Originalkonzept des Museum of Modern Art, New York. 13.01.2015 bis 26.04.2015.
Are our ever-present screens and videos luring us into an extended state of passive hypnosis, or perhaps more optimistically, do they allow a more expansive mode of learning, contemplation, and meditation? vimeo.com/113755046