Group exhibition, Vienna/Austria:
Well, Being In The Loop Gets You Ahead. (Iteration III, Progress)

Well, the loop gets you ahead.  (Iteration III, Progress)

Progressive thinking and the human striving for something better, truer and more beautiful are directly coupled with the newness and uniqueness of products, services and ideas. Against this is the recognition of previous decades of unredeemed social utopias. These contradictory tendencies inevitably lead in all areas of life to pausing, adjustment and reorientation—in short, to a destabilising standstill that interrupts the chain of perception in favour of new perspectives, finally to start from the beginning again.

Starting from the idea of a loop of communicative, media and social connections, the exhibition Well, Being In The Loop Gets You Ahead. (Iteration III, Progress) presents seven artistic positions with which the idea of progressive and linear development is raised for discussion by iterative means. From within closed cycles, artists extract individual sequences of the artistic materials they use in order to problematise the perception of opposing pairs such as original and copy, high art and popular culture, art and commerce as value systems, within which art today is both produced and appreciated. The identity- and meaning-forming function of repeated sequences of action that are always the same is suspended in favour of an irritation that makes it possible to experience new forms of appreciation and—despite or precisely because of the constant re-starting—to take a step forward.

As in Lisa Rastl’s video performance Zen for Doing, iteration as a central method of cultural and artistic production serves the artists involved as a starting point to aim at the perception of performative art in the historical context. In Too Close to Duchamp’s Bicycle, the artist duo Les Liens Invisibles take up the chronologically dominated system of fine art by approaching a milestone of conceptual art literally as well as metaphorically. The reiteration of curatorial practices in the context of alternative art venues as well as the resulting artistic modes of presentation is at the centre of Michael Kargl’s space intervention with drawings re:space /settings.

Both Wolfgang Lehrner with the video Up&Down as well as Les Liens Invisibles with Fragile take up the theme less of the art system than the general economic conditions within which art is produced and appreciated today—the first humorously deconstructs the absurdity of the economic cycle, the second transfers the idea of the readymade as an art-historical authority into a contemporary “purchased ready-media”. Annja Krautgasser’s music video Rewind is an attempt to convey looped sound material at the visible level and to bring the underlying sound structures into images and to the surface. With out of control_growth IV Birgit Knoechl approaches the idea of progress produced out of repetition by focusing on natural life forms’ processes of adaptation.

Lisa Rastl, Zen for Doing (2009)

Lisa Rastl
Zen for Doing (2009) | Video, colour, 8:30 min, looped

Zen for Doing is a documentary video that shows Lisa Rastl in her work as a commercial photographer for the exhibition Nam June Paik: Music for all Senses at Vienna’s Museum of Modern Art in spring 2009. Her schematic work consists of reproducing documentary pictures of one of Nam June Paik’s early performances called Zen for Head (1963): colour balance, lighting, grey scale and white gloves. The work flow and the reproduction loop in which the photographer is inevitably embedded are only broken by the clicking and flashing when the camera shutter opens and then shuts again. Precisely in these arbitrary and unconnected moments a new artwork develops, what is being portrayed and the portrayal seem to have a non-causal relationship to one another and the medium of photography opens itself “by doing”—in a performative act and through the interpretation by its observers.

Lisa Rastl (*1974, Mödling) lives and works in Vienna.

Wolfgang Lehrner, Up&Down (2009)

Wolfgang Lehrner
Up & Down (2008) | Video, colour, 0:10 min, looped

A thoroughly unspectacular and common setting: the entrance area of an office building with a discreet tiled floor, a glass lift, a large green plant next to a vanishingly small group of seats and a parallel escalator which on the right leads to the upper floors of the building and on the left goes downwards. Wolfgang Lehrner’s video loop Up & Down is set in the premises of Statistik Austria, the Austrian government institution responsible for recording, collecting, analysing and publishing official statistics. The contrary movement of the two escalators, which at first glance is hardly perceptible, takes the scene to a reductio ad absurdum. Statistics as a method of converting quantitative into qualitative information starts to waver in the sober but no less humours commentary by the artist. Standstill of the data flow by the synchronous upwards and downwards movement or obstructed progress by simultaneous retrogression?

Wolfgang Lehrner (*1980, Vienna) lives and works in the world.

Annja Krautgasser, Rewind (2000)

Annja Krautgasser
Rewind (2000) | Video, colour, 5 min, looped, music by Shabotinski

The starting material for Annja Krautgasser’s video Rewind is a piece of music called Rückenwind [Tail Wind] by the Shabotinski formation. In comparison to usual music videos, in which the pictorial level is presented as a visual component of the music by technical methods such as cutting or synchronisation, in Rewind there is a continuing (re-)interpretation of the picture by the music. Krautgasser’s aim is to create an indissoluble symbiosis between sound and image material through the visual duplication of musical structures. Thus the construction and structure of the song are portrayed as linear movement, and acoustic distortions are reproduced in the form of visual impurities, finally to break through the time line given by the piece of music. The semantic shift of the original German title Rückenwind into the English Rewind once again abstracts the impression of the music-picture piece being tied to time and direction.

Annja Krautgasser (*1971, Hall in Tyrol) lives and works in Vienna.

Birgit Knoechl, out of control_growth IV (2011)

Birgit Knoechl
out of control_growth IV (2011) | Space installation, approx. 25 modules, paper, ink, nylon

Forms of plant life and the liveliness of paper as a material couple in Birgit Knoechl’s works of art and become modular structures grasping at space. Starting from neophytes, types of plant that are permanently travelling, the artist works with these parasitic plants and the unpredictable characteristics of these invasive organisms. As soon as they have reached a new area, they settle in these alien territories and drive out resident species. out of control_growth IV presents excerpts from Knoechl’s archive of leave and flower forms, sequenced, manipulated and abstracted samples that are repeatedly mounted in new forms and structures. The idea of growth is visible in Knoechl’s work on multiple levels: on the one hand as a process of natural multiplication, on the other as the formal aesthetic procedure of the replication of identical set pieces.

Birgit Knoechl (*1974, Vienna) lives and works in Vienna.

Les Liens Invisibles, Too Close to Duchamp’s Bicycle (2008)

Les Liens Invisibles
Too Close to Duchamp’s Bicycle (2008) | Video, colour, 2:14 min, looped

The spokes of a bicycle wheel turn from left to right, then back in the other direction, faster and then slower. The video image is accompanied by the unchanging, constantly clattering noise of a bicycle in motion. In addition, the sound of a bell can be heard, again and again interrupting the monotone riding noise more accidentally than systematically. The video Too Close to Duchamp’s Bicycle by Les Liens Invisibles shows a supposed close-up of Roue de Bicyclette (1913), Marcel Duchamp’s first readymade, with which the artist coined a key concept of 20th century art. The aim of their work is on the one hand to “allude to the closeness to poetry of Duchamp’s conceptual approach”, but on the other “to draw attention to the need to find a way out of precisely this self-satisfied mannerism that is attached to much of contemporary art praxis.”

Les Liens Invisibles is an imaginary artist duo consisting of Clemente Pestelli and Gionatan Quintini.

Michael Kargl, re:space/settings (2011)

Michael Kargl
re:space/settings (2011) | Space intervention, pencil on wall, size variable

As an individual piece in the room or arranged in groups, in dialogue with one or more counterparts, as an untidy middle or a linear sequence—the hanging, setting and positioning of art in the exhibition room is a customary method to produce a narrative with a particular selection of art works and at the same time to underline curatorial authorship. re:space/settings refers to the historical practices of art that is critical of institutions and transfers it to the current art occurring in “off spaces”. By re-staging and setting earlier exhibitions in the self-organised art venue of Glockengasse No. 9 in the form of overlapping place holders, however, he does not just repeat the different exhibition architectures. Beyond this, he shows the modes of presentation that are often designated as experimental in this alternative exhibition context, ultimately to identify them as a carbon copy of conventional methods.

Michael Kargl (*1975, Hall in Tyrol) lives and works in Vienna.

Les Liens Invisibles, Fragile (2010)

Les Liens Invisibles
Fragile (2010) | Video, colour, 2 min, looped

Les Liens Invisibles describe the video Fragile as “purchased ready-media”. What can be seen is a conveyor belt used in industrial manufacturing to transfer products from one stage of the production cycle to another. On the digitally animated conveyor belt there are likewise animated cardboard boxes with red markings, which travel past the observers in an endless loop. “With the description ‘purchased ready-media’ we want to emphasise that this video is not just a pure found footage from the Net, but image material that we purchased.” The video comes from iStockphoto, an agency for licence-free photos, graphics, videos and audio files, on whose Internet presence numerous other versions of the video by Les Liens Invisibles can be found: more or fewer cardboard boxes, varying markings, different speeds of transport—all available films with the inherent potential of a readymade.

Les Liens Invisibles is an imaginary artist duo consisting of Clemente Pestelli and Gionatan Quintini.

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