Urgent Perspectives takes place at changing exhibition venues in Vienna as part of the AIR Mentoring Program of the Federal Chancellery / KulturKontakt Austria and uses existing networks and resources. After Urgent Perspectives #1 (2017) in the project space Viktor Bucher, Urgent Perspectives #2 (2018) at the alternative art fair PARALLEL VIENNA, Urgent Perspectives #3 2019 will be held in Aa collections in
the 15th district. The artist run gallery is located in a former venue of a social housing, which opens a new context for "Urgent Perspectives".
The ambivalence of "urgent", i.e. what we perceive as short-term needs, and "perspectives" that are usually long-term, point to the contradiction with which we are confronted in our day-to-day actions. In Urgent Perspectives, the temporary status of AIR artists meets with the durational status of artists based in Vienna. The moment of the meeting is fluid and temporary. However, there is the possibility of a culmination of exchange, which extends beyond the brief encounter of an exhibition, stimulating a polylog between artists-in-residence of KulturKontakt Austria and Austrian artists in the future.
The different working methods and projects of the artists serve as a dispositive to reflect "urgent perspectives" from their respective backgrounds. Thus, the exhibition series becomes a cumulative process on issues of "urgency" and "perspectives" that reflect the spectrum of personal artistic
concerns to far-reaching societal, economic and environmental issues of society.
The work of Elena Anosova, Carla Cabanas and Jianan Qu, in particular, discusses the role that the media play in our time in various ways. Elena Anosova refers to Marshall McLuhan, who in 1964 coined in "Understanding Media" the distinction between "hot media" (which do not actively involve the viewer, e.g. radio and film) and "cool media" (in which the viewer can intervene). More than half a century later, the "cool
media" via social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have become a compulsion to permanent communication and self-expression, on the basis of which the "status" is measured by the “friends”' community and in society. With short and often demagogic messages, social media now have a greater impact than conventional media, which feel obliged to a differentiated reporting and substantiated information content due to research.
How the individual interacts with the intricate web of informational content, and what responsibility the individual assumes for the community, is reflected in the works in the ever-renewed tension between privacy and intimacy (Carla Cabanas), the exposure of self (Jianan Qu) and self-reflection (Elena Anosova). Urgent Perspectives #3 also refers to the original function of the exhibition space on a parallel level, which was an
important infrastructure for the social housing it belongs to and is now being given a new role by being used as a gallery.
Carla Cabana's "Ecplise" hides private photos found at a flea market in a non-visible light box. Through the mysterious and poetic installation, the photos interrogate the meaning of harmless situations, the background of which we know nothing about. The Greek word "Eclipse" means "to leave", "to darken", "to cease to exist". In a figurative sense, "Eclipse" refers to the act of making something disappear. However, this phenomenon of disappearance - at least in its astronomical appearance - is a temporary one. In "Eclipse" Carla Cabanas has the trace appear instead of a picture.
Elena Anosova builds on her complex project "Beyond the Boundaries" (Yekaterinburg, 2017). For Urgent Perspectives #3 Elena Anosova develops a sculpture that refers to the historical context and the original function of a well, which also served as the public meeting place of the villagers in their native Siberia. The rectangular shape of the fountain, with a mirror on the bottom, is taken up by Elena Anosova as reference to Instagram and the exponentially growing amount of information, in which viewers are mirrored as a contemporary "Narcissus", being exposed on the border between the macrocosm and the microcosm. The artist questions our treatment of information, technologies and "extensions" as prostheses, as extensions of our body in space, and thus anthropocentrism, which serves as as an essential point of reference for defining spheres of knowledge.
Jianan Qu exposes his own body in "feed up time" as a pizza base, which is ready as "fast food", to be occupied by quick information, which we are fed every day, among others, by free magazines in Vienna subways. As a Chinese artist who has been living in Austria since 2003, the issue of dissemination of information (also with regard to restrictive regimes such as those currently in China) is a controversial topic. His naked body becomes the container and deliverer of "fast media", as serving body, who can not even see, let alone receive, the information that is being presented to him. "Voices are just manipulated toys. Our views are hardly our own. Gathering information is so interesting that we could find or lose our identity at the same time. No one escapes." (Jianan Qu)
URGENT PERSPECTIVES #3
Opening: April 25, 2019, 7 pm
Exhibition: April 26 – May 04, 2019
Finissage: May 04, 6 pm:
with a performance by Jianan Qu and Viltė Švarplytė
Elena Anosova* (RUS), Carla Cabanas* (PT),
Jianan Qu (China/ A)
Curated by: Barbara Holub
* The Austrian Federal Chancellery, in cooperation with KulturKontakt Austria, offers residence grants in Vienna. The grant recipients are funded by the Austrian Federal Chancellery within the framework of the artists-in-residence program and supported by KKA in an advisory and organizational capacity.