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06 Mar 2017

]a[ academy of fine arts vienna: Pro(s)thesis & Posthuman Complicities

Left: Pro(s)thesis: Mari Katayama, bystander #016, 2016, Lambda Print. Courtesy of the artist
Right: Posthuman Complicities: Stefanie Schwarzwimmer, (Un-)Mapped (with cat paw detail), 2017, Mixed Media. Courtesy of the artist.

Exhibition dates | 10.03.-14.05.2017
Opening | 09.03.2017, 7.00 p.m.


Claudia Kaiser

Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, xhibit
Schillerplatz 3
A-1010 Vienna

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Opening | 09.03.2017, 7.00 p.m., xhibit
Welcome address | Eva Blimlinger, Rector of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
Introduction | Berenice Pahl and Felicitas Thun-Hohenstein, Andrea Popelka and Lisa Stuckey, curators
Exhibition dates | 10.03.2017 - 14.05.2017
Venue | Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Main Building, Schillerplatz 3, 1010 Vienna, xhibit + Picture Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

xhibit and Picture Gallery

Curators: Berenice Pahl, Felicitas Thun-Hohenstein
Architecture: Dorit Margreiter
Artists: Renate Bertlmann (AUT), Lisa Bufano (USA), Virginia Chihota (ZIM), Chitka (Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová) (CZE/SVK), Erika Fransson (SWE), Kerstin von Gabain (USA/AUT), Judith Hopf (GER), Rebecca Horn (GER), Anne Imhoff (GER), Birgit Jürgenssen (AUT), Mari Katayama (JPN), Brigitte Lang (AUT), Roberta Lima (BRA/AUT), Kumi Machida (JPN), Iris L. Moore (CAN), Nadine Rennert (GER), Barbis Ruder (AUT), Toni Schmale (AUT), Anne Schneider (AUT), Evelin Stermitz (AUT), Angela Su (HKG), Viktoria Tremmel (AUT), Anna Vasof (GRC/AUT)

The exhibition 'Pro(s)thesis' explores the technological penetration of the human body, which has been culturally accepted in the meantime on a large scale. The field of problems opening up with this development reveals the human physique as the central medium of the access to man, its vulnerability providing the anthropological premise for the machinations of power structures.

Though the upgrade culture doubtlessly implies increasing possibilities of living one's life in accordance with one's wishes, it also entails the risk to assist the functionalization and reification of the human body. Considering this sufficiently postulated crisis of the human body as an opportunity offers the perspective of a room for maneuver, as suggested in posthumanist and postfeminist discourse, not least thanks to the transformative possibilities offered by biology and technology. The body is lent a self-empowering potential if regarded as a constructive component.

Relating to the collection of the Paintings Gallery, the course of contemporary art practice developing out of xhibit modulates the poetic-metaphorical potential of the prosthesis and invites to oscillate between past and present images of the body. The views of artistic practices opening up to visitors draw out and reinterpret the participation in power-structural orders, revealing the potentials behind the appearance of technical perfection.

The show focuses on feminist artworks that, with irony and humor, run counter to normative claims. Thus, the souped-up prosthesis, as an art artifact, turns into an effective sign of self-invention and self-empowerment.


Curators: Andrea Popelka, Lisa Stuckey
Artists: Viltė Bražiūnaitė (LTU/AUT) & Tomas Sinkevičius (LTU/SWE), Joey Holder (GBR), Paul Maheke (FRA/GBR), Jennifer Mattes (AUT), The Otolith Group (GBR), M. NourbeSe Philip (CAN), Stefanie Schwarzwimmer (AUT/DEU) , Wolfgang Tillmans (DEU)

'Posthuman Complicities' presents artworks concerned with the Atlantic, the deep sea, and concepts of fluidity. The ocean features as a place of violence and resistance. Colonial archives are fragmented and dislocated in terms of both language and image in order to visualize blank spaces created by historiography.
The filmic and poetic exploration of the Zong massacre constitutes the core of the exhibition. In 1781, the British slaver Zong sailed from Accra to Black River in Jamaica. 150 slaves were thrown overboard into the sea to drown because of economic interests. This incident can only be reconstructed on the basis of the documents surviving from the lawsuit between the slaver's owner and the insurers. Both the poet M. NourbeSe Philip and The Otolith Group deal with the massacre and its aftermath.

Paul Maheke treats the body as an archive and means for reimagining subjectivity. His work raises such questions as whether violent history can be turned against itself and made productive, or how a body may live a desire beyond the norm.
Stefanie Schwarzwimmer examines the artificial creation of unnatural-natural realities. Her playful treatment of cartographic materials highlights the constructive feat behind measuring the world.
Joey Holder, oscillating between art spaces and online milieus, reflects on digital culture. For many of her current installations, she collaborates with marine biologists to critically map the way DNA data of deep sea organisms are skimmed off.
Jennifer Mattes, using found footage, looks into Jean-Antoine Watteau's paintings. The idea of the courtly-aristocratic society withdrawing to Cythera, the island of love, which we find represented in her pictures, is deconstructed as a utopia.
Wolfgang Tillmans published a poster campaign before Great Britain's impending withdrawal from the EU. The title of one of its pictures was 'No man is an island. No country by itself.' Global islandization and the destruction of bridges make the possibility of new communities vanish behind the horizon.
Viltė Bražiūnaitė & Tomas Sinkevičius' rotating pistol self-reflectively mirrors the violence of the white cube. The site-related work interweaves a metadiscussion with the concrete and physical position of the exhibition space's here and now.

Queer feminists and people of color have radically challenged the prevailing category of the human. Their anti-discriminatory approaches have paved the way for posthumanism. They thematize the accompliceship with the help of stories of othering that haunt our present. These stories' and joyful resistance is the subject highlighted in this exhibition.

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