Press information by Roger Buergel
"Through her installation Set, Barbara Holub has layed the foundation for a kind of contemporary archaeology. In it she investigates the way individuals inhabit the world or are made to inhabit it, how dispositions (one spoke of mentalities earlier) become interlaced with class and find expression in certain architectural forms. She also probes the therapeutic forms that compulsive social normalcy engenders and the extent creative techniques are a part of this normalization.
As implied by the term ”set”, this investigation, too, is staged. The installation, that spans the three main rooms of the gallery and a narrow corridor, exposes the material resources of the investigations.
A frieze of photographs hanging across the windows of the first room shows Fontana, an estate in Oberwaltersdorf, with photos of construction workers edited in between them. Fontana, a private residential estate with a golf course at the banks of a small lake, is where Austria’s rich and mighty feel at home. No gated community in the American sense of the term, the estate is much rather based on an Austrian model of consensus in which the poor voluntarily remain outside. Holub permits the charms of a pseudo Biedermeier design, that neither conforms to the monarchist tradition nor to the cynicism of the present situation, to correlate, on the one hand, with photos of the (still existent) working class world and the visitors’ own inclination to project on the other.
An aesthetic quality resulting from active participation prevails in the second room. Small sandboxes, placed on a low table covered with a conspicuous tablecloth with the image of wooden slats as in a fence, invites the visitor to engage in a therapeutic structuring of the formless material sand. This part of the installation is an ironic reflection of the artistic models of participation in the 90s, whose false social appeal stands exposed today.
Finally, the third room shows the video 'between roles'. The artist created the set in her studio with a green patch of grass, a brown fence and various performers from her circle of friends. While they all talk about the garden fence, they bear out their identities and produce - or rather reproduce - discourses in this artificial setting. Here, too, the setting is a mere game. While it plays on the potential of people that unravels during the course of the conversation when they transcend the constraints of the self, it also plays on the attraction to death: to be acknowledged as the person that one is."
Hohenlohe & Kalb Gallery, Vienna, 2000
Room 1: frieze with inkjetprints on PVC; C-prints on aluminum;
Room 2: a wood table with table cloth /inkjetprint, 6 sandboxes à 30x40 cm, collection of toy figures
Room 3: video "zwischenrollen" (31'44"), mattress with inkjet print on PVC
"zwischenrollen" was also shown in Governmentality. Art in Conflict with the International Hyper-Bourgeoisie and the National Petty Bourgeoisie, Alte Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover (2000) (curated by Roger Buergel), Alte Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover, 2000
SET! was also discussed in the Interview by Maia Damianovic with Barbara Holub