Transfer and Translation

opening: Montag, 31. August um 19.00 Uhr
from 01.09.2009 to 30.09.2009

Roberta Lima, Clarina Bezzola, Katharina Gruzei, Richard Kriesche, Jan Machacek, Benjamin Tomasi, Zsolt Vasarhelyi

Opening: 31th august 2009, 7pm
Opening speech: Astrid Peterle

FOTOGALERIE WIEN’s theme of focus for the year is dedicated to PERFORMANCE IN IMAGE AND IN MEDIA TRANSFER. 
The title of this exhibition series refers to the complex relationship between performance and image: The ephemeral quality of performance in its form as a sequence of actions intersects with the fixation of performance through representational media, such as photography and video. In contrast to traditional perspectives that define performance as the simultaneous presence of both artist and viewer in one space and time, the three exhibitions present primarily performances that were produced for the camera or performative installations. As a result, the opportunity for alternative receptions of performance is made possible.

The second exhibition – PERFORMANCE II: Transfer and Translation – focuses on the possibilities and forms for the transfer of performance to various artistic media. The play of live elements and the conditions of their recording, documentation, and reproduction through photography and video influences these translations of performance. With the alteration of the courses of action through technical means and the manipulation of image material, conventional perspectives are avoided: The seven artists in this exhibition develop new forms of performance using interactive sound and image installations, the staging of objects, technical video experiments, and RNA laboratory images.

The exhibition spans a time frame of over three decades: from an early video installation of the 1970s right up to contemporary performances that employ the newest technology for the reproduction and transformation of originating material using digital image production and laboratory techniques.

Clarina Bezzola’s photo series Wearable Sculptures and Lamentation show the artist in clothing sculptures that turn things inside out. Thereby, in contrast to serving as a protective shell, the sculptures do not conceal the enclosed human beings; rather they expose and materialize the world within. While the wearable sculptures reference the vulnerability of the individual, the video Judgement Day thematizes the urge to constantly proclaim one’s own opinion. The artist strolls through New York City, with a gigantic index finger in the place of her own hands, loudly expressing her own opinion concerning everything she encounters. Eventually, declaring these judgmental remarks leads to exhaustion and the isolation of the individual among the anonymous masses of the big city.

Katharina Gruzei’s video installation Dialoge I-IV focuses on the faces of two women sitting across from one another, who communicate exclusively through gestures and facial expressions. What initially appears to be a still image turns out, after closer observation, to be a slow motion recording of a non-verbal conflict. The aggressively connoted, interpersonal pattern of action becomes unfamiliar due to the time lapse; the boundaries between photography and video become blurred. The sound accompanying the videos adds a further eerie level of perception.

The installation Zwillinge was first presented by Richard Kriesche at the documenta 6 in 1977. A spatial, visual, and time-related irritation of the audience draws attention to the reproduction and manipulation of “reality” through media, for example through television coverage. With two identical spaces, identical twins reading Walter Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”, and the real-time video of the twins reading each projected into the other room, the concurrent reality, the past reality, and the medialized reality become interwoven. The accompanying video Malerei deckt zu, Kunst deckt auf is dedicated to exploring the constellation of views of both the moderator and the viewer, visibility and non-visibility and thereby the peculiarity of the medium of television.

Until now, the invasion of one’s own body – as an action intended to counter social regulation of bodies – has been central to Roberta Lima’s performances. With her new project RNA Chips and Butterflies, a further exploration of the rules of bio-politics, the artist explores the inside of her body: With the help of molecular biologists and modern laboratory technology, cells from her blood were mutated and images of the resulting chaos were captured in the form of RNA Chips. Photographs and videos offer an insight into the process of the mutation, where the laboratory is conquered as a new performative space.

Jan Machacek, with the help of cameras and video technology, looks into perspectives of his own body in his live video performances. At the same time, the audience becomes witness to the confrontation and communication between the “real” performer and the transformed version of his own counterpart on the video projection surface. While the live performance is shaped by the constant translation between the real image and video image, the installation me and video vis-ŕ-vis transfers the live performance, in the form of photographs and videos as objects and documents, to the exhibition space. A vacuum cleaner with a built-in camera and a monitor allow visitors unusual perspectives of their own bodies.
With Droom, Benjamin Tomasi has developed a site-specific sound and object installation specifically for this exhibition. As a result of the interplay between space, recipient, and technical devices, a performance is developed that creates sound situations where the existing, yet not conventionally perceived sounds, are recorded and transformed into generative musical patterns. Magnetic fields, copper wires, pipes running through the walls, and the computer also play an important role in the installation. The visitors are equally critical to the installation since they are able to participate in creating the poetic sound atmosphere with their presence within the space and by their adjustment of the volume controls.
The title of Zsolt Vásárhelyi’s video Yamakasi refers to the urban phenomenon, originating in the 1990’s, of maneuvering from point A to point B by overcoming all obstacles. Symbolic of the individual’s struggle in his or her urban environment, the artist moves slowly, apparently clambering arduously through the city. The video 35 minutes Rome facilitates, for the observer, a view through a camera that the artist held in his hands during a run along the river Tiber in Rome. The viewers are not only confronted with the shaky image, but especially with the contrast between poverty and tourism along the way and with the physical boundaries of the runner.