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03 Oct 2014

What Remains. Death ] [ Proof. The Entire Sky Has Been Reworked.

Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, red parapet area with patina, ground floor (detail). Photo: Christian Fröhlich

Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
08.10. - 09.11.2014


Claudia Kaiser

]a[ xhibit
Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
Schillerplatz 3
1010 Vienna, Austria

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Opening: Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 7:00 p.m.
Welcome address: Eva Blimlinger, Rector of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
Introduction DEATH ] [ PROOF: Christian Fröhlich, video artist
Introduction THE ENTIRE SKY HAS BEEN REWORKED: Gerda Kaltenbruner, Institute for Conservation and Restoration, and Martin Beck, Institute for Education in the Arts
Exhibition dates: 08.10. - 09.11.2014


Two different lines of sight intersect in the exhibition WHAT REMAINS: while documenting how use and aging processes inscribe themselves into a building on the one hand, the show also shifts the focus from the restored object to the conservation process as such. WHAT REMAINS maps an uncertain terrain and secures traces in the pivot of what is going on.


Refurbishment. Conversion. Destroy. Renovate to death.
During your visit of this exhibition the entire building of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna finds itself in a kind of limbo before its pending refurbishment. Though preservation is a primary objective, there is always the risk of destroying or renovating something to death. The idiom 'death-proof' describes the technical design of a machine protecting its users from losing their lives. Concerning architecture, the question that arises is how to refurbish a building without renovating it to death in terms of the culture of building becoming manifest in it? The experts' answer is not an unequivocal one. The range of suggested solutions spans from restoring the patinated original state by 'exposure' to simulating the past by applying new layers.

The project DEATH ] [ PROOF serves as a corrective and snapshot of the actual state here. The video portraits of the rooms of the Academy on Schillerplatz offer the unique opportunity to pause and observe how the house presents itself before its renovation starts. Camera and video medium help us to have a closer look. Details, surfaces, materials, ruinous parts, patina … valuable and cherished things, the feasible and the strange, which the human eye usually just glides across, are made visible by the camera eye in capturing them. One thing is already clear, without wanting to make a judgment: Hansen's building will never be seen again as it is presented in the exhibition DEATH ] [ PROOF.


The preservation of artworks and cultural property is primarily concerned with 'the object' to be conserved. These objects are measured and documented, studied, mapped, and investigated in manifold ways before measures are taken. At the end of the process, the work leaves the scene as a 'conserved / restored object.'

The entire sky has been reworked deals with the consequences ensuing from moving ['the object'], the artwork, which all these activities are aimed at, out of focus. Do we enter a zone characterized by lack of concentration, as the term 'out of focus' suggests, or may we even experience a stimulating state of blurriness, of uncertainty? What remains when the protagonist leaves the stage? Does shifting the action from the focus to secondary arenas give rise to new narratives?

Intermediate, secondary and by-products are detached from their work contexts and appreciated as artefacts. Moments of the working process are highlighted; seemingly random traces are scanned; things rejected are brought to mind; what has been abandoned or tried out, regarded as fragmentary, inconclusive, or a failure constructively interferes with the coherence and conclusiveness of traditional documentations. The hesitations and coincidences, imponderabilities and surprises, as well as the restrictions and trivialities of the conservation process unfold a language of their own. That this implies disturbances, brings about puzzles, and provokes misunderstandings is absolutely intended.

The entire sky has been reworked has been developed and realized in collaboration with the Institute for Education in the Arts. Students from the Design and Context Department have conceived a presentation system that allows to grasp the exhibits in their complex function and aesthetic and invites an unprejudiced view. This dialogue offers an approach for examining the concepts the exhibition is based on in regard to their communication potential, for fine-tuning thematic contexts, and establishing new connections.


Thur, October 16, 2014, 4:00 p.m., xhibit

Fri, October 24, 2014, 4:00 p.m., xhibit

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