APPROPRIATION, Part III: Socio-cultural Conditioning

Date:17. Dec 2012 – 31. Jan 2013
Fotogalerie Wien, Vienna, Austria

Because of the current noticeable affinity towards the use and recontextualization of found material in the work of many artists active in international art discourse the curatorial team of the FOTOGALERIE WIEN, together with art historian and curator Petra Noll, has developed APPROPRIATION as the special focus for this year.

The conceptual basis is provided by the Appropriation Art of the 1970s and 1980s in which artists conceptually appropriated pre-existing art works. The tripartite series of exhibitions takes the subject a little further and presents photo and video artists who are involved with found footage material from very different contexts or employ strategies of re-enactment in order to open up new perspectives and pictorial realities.  Over and above the central themes of Appropriation Art – authorship and originality – the concern here is with issues of representation and perception, with the politics of social and cultural confrontations as well as with history, memory and identity. In the context of APPROPRIATION the mediums of photography and film which, per se, point in the direction of the past, offer an additional level for reflection.
 In the third exhibition on the subject of APPROPRIATION, with the secondary title Socio-cultural Conditioning, five artists from Western and Eastern Europe will be presenting works  based on found footage material and concerned with questions of social and cultural politics. Their sources are to be found in archives and the media as well as in scientific and literary publications. They not only research and analyse the history of countries and the mechanisms of depiction, classification and representation, but also the closely related issues of their own origins and identities. The imaginative reworking of the basis material does not only allow a re-evaluation of history, but also opens up new aspects for understanding the present and oneself.

About Tanja Boukals works in the exhibition:
Tanja Boukal was born in 1976 in Vienna and lives there. The socially critical series Am seidenen Faden (Hanging by a thread), a work in progress since 2008, is based on newspaper pictures of refugees which have been hand embroidered, pixel-for-pixel. The title refers to both the technique employed and the fate of the migrants whose lives literally hang by a thread during a boat trip that leads to an alleged paradise. Boukal confronts our fleeting attention to images (even those with dramatic contents) with the slowness of embroidery – it is a struggle against time, forgetting and suppression as well as indifference. The large format pictures of the All that Glitter and Gold (2010) series, knitted images mounted in knitted golden frames, deal with the same subject. These too are based on photos – in this instance black and white ones – of migrants in the real context of their refuge. Titles, material and frames stand in contrast to the content which provides an impetus for more visual attentiveness.

Curated by Petra Noll, curatorial team of FOTOGALERIE WIEN
Artists: Tanja Boukal, Jens Klein, Svätopluk Mikyta, Paula Muhr, Ana Torfs