Alex Klein, Robert Staudinger, Irene Wölfl
opening: April 23, 2015, 7.30 pm
introductory words: Barbara Baum
exhibition: April 24 – June 3rd, 2015
A photographer, a junk artist and a painter: three artists working in Vienna profess their love for their city in their series of artworks. All of them do so in their own way, with their own individual approach formed out of the circumstances of their own lives, the character of their own personality.
As its history documents, the geopolitical situation of the Viennese metropolis has made it a “melting pot” of nationalities, a converging point in the middle of Europe – between east and west, north and south. The typical Viennese thus proves to be a healthy mixture of highly diverse ethnicities, as can be seen among typical Viennese surnames, for example.
Robert Staudinger takes up a distinctive and specifically Viennese characteristic in his series of real Viennese men and women, in which he condenses Viennese characters of both sexes into a typical Viennese. To do so, Robert Staudinger creates portraits of 9 to 225 Viennese men and women for each work and combines the original ethnicities of the sitters (of 22 different nationalities) into a common plurality by photographing and superimposing them within a framework of corresponding proportions under identical lighting conditions. The face created in this way presents a cross section of the living diversity of Vienna. Regardless of how many portraits are superimposed upon one another, the result is fascinatingly congruent and identifies THE Vienna original of today.
A city’s eventful history can also be read in its architecture. Precisely in this respect, Vienna offers a wild juxtaposition of architectural delicacies, mediocrities and horrors. Far from the demonstrative pomp of its historicist buildings, Vienna shines on account of its abundance of social housing from the interwar period.
Inspired by the play of colour and shadow on these Viennese “living monuments” from the ’30s, Alex Klein has elevated the environment in which he lives into a finely sensitive colour-field painting. It is finely sensitive in its nuanced use of colour and its application of paint in the endless layers that he repeatedly and meticulously sands away in order to unite small traces from every layer in the painting. Alex Klein, the passionate Viennese – who carries out his expeditions almost exclusively on foot, in order to be certain not to oversee any inspiring impression – works through these impressions back in his modest attic studio within one of his beloved Viennese social housing buildings.
However, Vienna also has other distinctive qualities, for example, its hospitable mixture of urbanity and green space. Forests, pastures, vineyard slopes, fields, parks and the meadows along the Danube enrich life in this city which is home to millions.
Irene Wölfl has explored district after district on her bicycle for her series “Found in Vienna”. Here she is particularly interested in areas that were unfamiliar to her: uncharted territory.?She gathers impressions, experiences and artefacts that she then condenses into pictorial compositions in her studio. She has dedicated an image to each district. Their formats are based on the proportion of cycle paths relative to the total area of the given districts. Her most important painterly medium is plastic waste, packaging material discarded after it was no longer needed; through the advertising printed on it, these also form historical documents of the cultural life of the region. ?Irene Wölfl weaves historical documents together into new visual and verbal expressions that signify their part of the city.
This exhibition ist part of Destination Wien 2015 EXTENDED.