Press release exhibition: We need more than one term for these big things

28.10.2019
Opening: Tuesday, 29 October 2019, 6pm
Universitätsgalerie der Angewandten at the Heiligenkreuzerhof, 1.,
Schönlaterngasse 5, 1st Floor
 
Duration: 30.10. 2019 - 25.01.2020
(Closed from 22.12.19 til 7.1.2020), Wed – Sat, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
 
Entrance free of charge
 
Artits: Lilli Thiessen, Louise Lawler, Trisha Donnelly, Ei Arakawa, Cinzia Ruggeri, Greg Parma Smith, Sophie Gogl, Yasmina Haddad, Andrea Fraser, Tonio Kröner, Bonnie Camplin, Nicole Wermers, Miranda July, Ernst Yohji Jaeger. Kuratorin: Melanie Ohnemus.
 
The exhibition We need more than one term for these big things presents artworks that show tendencies of an already emancipated feminism. This is an exploration of a kind of speculative feminism not derived from a place of lack but rather from the assertion of already emancipated positions standing in equitable communication with other disciplines.
This starting point also includes the question as to the representative functions bestowed on the word feminism, and, knowing of the historicity of the discourse, how it can be possible to posit a distinct feminism as an approach within a subjectively informed ethics of adequate behavior. This means not merely negotiating contexts in the light of their preconditions and in symbolic terms, but also including already existing arrangements within different systems and institutions in conceptual and formal decisions concerning the production of different formats, and editing these accordingly.
 
This conceptual context can thus be transferred to other systems too, which would mean that all knowledge, including knowledge of our own symbolically connoted projections, is included in the work at hand. Perception of the format chosen in each case would be subject to adjustment, given the presence of other formats operating within the same field. Representative proxyship and the arbitrary characteristics of conventional ascription would be eliminated. It is the specific advantage and achievement of art to resist such unambiguous or determinate orders and to engage critically with them. The problem here lies with the assumption as to the symbolic value of the exhibition format itself, and the conventional belief that an exhibition can truly represent or make a case for a certain context. This assertion is usually brought in correspondingly organized textual formats that propose contexts and ways of reading, often by drawing on a claim to a popular relevance that is not specifically named. Here too, it would be preferable to see the structure of exhibiting not exclusively as the result of linguistic orders of representation but rather to consider and create the exhibition entity in itself, such that it becomes its own structuring language and content.
 
I believe that this would be both possible and do justice to the field of exhibition making. Representation can and must be one of many aspects included in work on this kind of structure. Parallel processes of reflection on representation and on subjectivity, and the materialized decisions that emerge from these, seem to me to be an adequate method. Empathizing in this way with the structures of artistic production means deploying control by means of a selection of already self-empowered position and claims, making use of the specific quality of art, positing art’s speculative evidence in the service of meta-level statements, and guiding art to become its own text in its own format.
 
As a consequence, the question arises as to how contemporary art production may situate itself between historicity and self-assertion or between the negativity inscribed into it and the possibility of speculative positivity. In particular, it seems important to me in this context to ask how far and in what form artistic strategies make use of the popular and also operate increasingly within its contexts. Can a difference to other areas of social production still be maintained? How far is artistic production, and at the same time the representation system of its dissemination, a lackey of its own dialectic of innovation harnessed to market strategies? From this perspective, conceptual and dissemination systems are always positioned within the bounds of their own indirect reality and the reality they disseminate. It is precisely at this juncture that the inclusion and exclusion of power systems take place. I believe that awareness of all of this, and the conceptual deployment of this awareness under the premise of a decisive assessment of all the elements available, will lead to a qualitatively more interesting approach. The inevitably deviating concepts and formats that this engenders thus barely seem to be vulnerable to the claims made by conventional agreements.
 
The graphic concept of this exhibition follows this thinking, using three quotations on the invitation card, poster, and brochure. These are taken from a conversation between Donna Haraway, Ursula K Le Guin, and James Clifford,(1) and a lecture by Ursula K Le Guin.(2) One of these quotations provides the title of this exhibition, while the other two are presented as possible further titles in all the three formats, although the actual title is always present. The visual graphic concept itself is based on the design of an advertisement from the mid-1980s. The individual elements—title, image, footnote, and logo—are presented in various different ways in the three formats. In the brochure, the short texts on the exhibited works are idiosyncratic descriptions of what we see. In some cases, conceptual background information is withheld and in others it is provided. The style varies subtly from work to work, and the proposed format here plays with an allegedly objectifying convention of presentation and its habitual forms of expression.
 
Curated & Text by Melanie Ohnemus
Photos for Download: www.dieangewandte.at/presse
 
(1) Donna Haraway, “Innocence is not even dreamable” and “We need more than one term for these big things,” in Ursula K Le Guin debate con Donna Haraway, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59bLqzrM2r0&t=3714s. Panel discussion, Ursula K Le Guin, Donna Haraway, and James Clifford, conference Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet, AURA: Aarhus University Research on the Anthropocene, Aarhus, May 08, 2014.
(2) Ursula K Le Guin, “I am older than a hero ever gets,” in Ursula K Le Guin, Avenali Chair in the Humanities, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovZ6qgTy3SE. Avenali Chair in the Humanities Ursula K Le Guin in conversation with Professor Michael Lucey, Townsend Center for the Humanities, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, February 26, 2013.
 
Yasmina
                                       Haddad Quodlibet, 2016 Foto-Collage, gerahmt, Serie von 6, 39 x 26 cm Courtesy die Künstlerin Download
Ernst
                                       Yohji Jaeger 3 Stolen Apples, 2018 Acryl und Öl auf Leinwand, 45 x 70 cm Courtesy der Künstler Download
Tonio Kröner Dagny, 2018 Polyester, Schaumstoff, Faserplatte, Filz, Marabufedern,
                                       REIG Deluxe Saxophon, ca. 165 x 35 x 35 cm Courtesy der Künstler Download
Louise Lawler Not Cindy, 2002/2008
                                       Cibachrome mit Text auf Passepartout „WE HUMANS“, 15,7 x 13,2 cm (Foto) Ed. of 10 + 2 AP Von der SAMMLUNG VERBUND, Wien angekauft
                                       2009; Verkauft durch Metro Pictures, New York Download
Greg Parma Smith Poseurs, 2013 Öl und Gesso auf Leinwand, 162 x 110 cm
                                       Courtesy der Künstler; Galleria Federico Vavassori, Mailand. Foto:Alessandro Zambiani Download
 Nicole
                                       Wermers The Violet Revs 2016 Download
We need more than one term for these big
                                       things, kuratiert von Melanie Ohnemus, Ausstellungsansicht, Universitätsgalerie der Angewandten im Heiligenkreuzerhof, Wien,
                                       2019/2020. Download
We need more than one term for these big
                                       things, kuratiert von Melanie Ohnemus, Ausstellungsansicht, Universitätsgalerie der Angewandten im Heiligenkreuzerhof, Wien,
                                       2019/2020. Download
We need more than one term for these big
                                       things, kuratiert von Melanie Ohnemus, Ausstellungsansicht, Universitätsgalerie der Angewandten im Heiligenkreuzerhof, Wien,
                                       2019/2020. Download
We need more than one term for these big
                                       things, kuratiert von Melanie Ohnemus, Ausstellungsansicht, Universitätsgalerie der Angewandten im Heiligenkreuzerhof, Wien,
                                       2019/2020. Download
We need more than one term for these big
                                       things, kuratiert von Melanie Ohnemus, Ausstellungsansicht, Universitätsgalerie der Angewandten im Heiligenkreuzerhof, Wien,
                                       2019/2020. Download
We need more than one term for these big
                                       things, kuratiert von Melanie Ohnemus, Ausstellungsansicht, Universitätsgalerie der Angewandten im Heiligenkreuzerhof, Wien,
                                       2019/2020. Download