Opening: 29. January, 2013, 19h
Exhibition Duration: 30. January – 28. February, 2013

The left wing is dedicated to the important early performance artist Terry Fox (1943-2008) who Ursula Krinzinger brought to Vienna at the end of the seventies. The exhibition brings together documents, manuscripts, montages of drawings and music instruments as well as a video documenting an important performance. Fox who worked primarily in California and also later with Joseph Beuys in Europe is one of the leading West-coast artists who has figured significantly in the Galerie’s program from the early days on. In 1968, Terry Fox made a radical decision, namely to give up painting. Art, as the artist stated, is less a production of objects than a process of generating ideas that contribute to expanding man’s consciousness – and this art is only bound to objects to a limited extent. The space in which he acts is a space to be experienced. Terry Fox, who was severely incapacitated by illness throughout his whole life and had to undergo a number of surgical procedures, experienced his body being opened up. He wanted to make public theater and worked with music – a very elementary type of music. In a later phase of his work, Fox dealt with the subject of labyrinth. Drawing on the labyrinth of Chartres, Terry Fox sees the labyrinth as a metaphor of life.

The right wing has been used by the young artist Zenita Komad (born 1980) who created an installation with a densely filled gallery of works on paper in the central room serving as a sort of chapel in which the red threads of the installation come together to create an allusive sign. Symbols, parables, visual metaphors are all important to Komad. As opposed to the more archaic artist, Fox, who also broaches elementary existential issues in his work, the existentialist Komad is certainly more narrative, more full of color and humor. The artist strikes a surprisingly unusual charismatic tone, which becomes particularly noticeable in her text collages and montages. Her texts invite the onlooker to interpret the artist’s world and life views. From the sign language used by the deaf and mute displayed in the form of cast hand poses to the language of cartography and that of symbolic signs (bundling the cords) all the way to a plethora of pictorial quotes and typographical, semantic-semiotic models, Zenita Komad, a “baroque talent”, can really live it up. She pulls her red threads from the different geographical points on a world trade map from the interwar period through a wall and ties them together to create an evocative sign. She opposes the Babylonian confusion of languages and the unjust distribution of rich and poor countries with a utopian vision of a harmonious co-existence.

On the ground floor, in the space of the Parterre-Galerie, Rosmarie Lukasser (geb. 1981), an East Tyrolean artist of almost the same age, has also set herself up here. Her approach, however, is very different from Zenita Komad’s. She uses the entrance hall as a lab: the onlooker activates the light, to which she accords eminent meaning. In the main room, she has placed a contemporary figure alluded to in a plaster and metal structure, in whose hands there is a light shining in the middle. The spatial limitations as well as the fact that the viewer is involved by turning on the light, i.e., providing the energy, which also thematically defines the piece, are all used in an exceptionally ingenious way. The figure, placed as if in an Egyptian grave, with the light that it is holding in its hands – as a sign of immateriality – is an expression of our changed stance vis-à-vis a volatizing, ephemeral world. Also in Lukasser’s work we find a map of the world. However, it is not a map of world for students from the 1920s but one that shows the energy consumption of countries in which Internet activities are taking place at a certain time. And it is no coincidence that the black continent is dark.

What all three presentations succeed in doing – perhaps completely unwittingly – is to inspire the onlooker to compare between two aesthetic strategies that are possible today and have their origin in the revolutionary 1960s.

Prof. Peter Weiermair