On January 15th the group show, “A Sentimental Education”, curated by Franklin Melendez, opened at Andreas Huber Gallery in Vienna. The opening was crowded and the atmosphere electric, but I came back the next day anyway to get a clearer impression of the exhibition.
I enter the gallery, and I’m confronted with a video by Lucas Michael titled Parallel Lives 2015. The effect of the video looks somewhat crystallized which occurs through expansion, decomposition and overlap. The slow motion images are like ebullient lava. I keep on watching the video and wait for something to happen. Is something going to happen? While watching the video, I look to my left and experience a pink color that is invading the room. The color is quite reassuring, and it makes me feel good. What I can’t understand, though, is where the pink is coming from.
A wooden box (the kind that are typically used for the transportation of artworks) props up a damaged bronze artwork. It’s a cup. This artwork too, surprisingly, is by Lucas Michael. Poede Poena Claudo (Punishment Comes Limping) 2011. Its theme touches on the interaction between the “before and after” period of setting up an exhibition. So, as a result of this before and after situation, I ask myself what is the “now” period. The result might be likened to a Roman ruin. The work is, thus, a dialogue between two levels: the bureaucratic (i.e. the wooden box) and the poetic – or the attempt at sculpture – in the form of the damaged cup.
Now I realize that the surprise in all of this lies behind the box and is actually a curatorial gesture: it’s a pink neon. The critical impulse, the inquiry, the interaction, are diluted by the pink neon’s presence.
I keep moving and pass through a corridor – on my left is a work titled Untitled (Potpourri) 2014 by K.r.m. Mooney, which shows me its back or maybe not. Actually what I’m seeing is a veil. Its lightness makes it a successful insertion into the exhibition as a whole, and I decide that I like it a lot. A small bag made of veil is going to disappear completely into the white table that holds it. And I got here just in time to see it an instant before it vanished, all of which was underlined by its very content – lavender – a light colored stain with a warning.
The next work I encounter is called Insane Cancer (cell 1 and 2) 2013, by Bunny Rogers & Jasper Spicero. It’s playful, cool and paranoid. I see small trees which are actually 3d prints. It’s a mixed media installation with a child’s raincoat, a safe and a bridge made of crystal. The installation in its entirety is interesting, and the use of media is very intelligent and chromatically balanced. Overall this piece has a very tense vibe to it.
“Protein 4”, 2015 and “extra soft”, 2015 by Gregory Edwards, are probably the most classical works in the exhibition. Both are oil on canvas, but despite this fact I still see the first as a digital work, the second appears as “pure painting”. I enjoy the contrast between the two as well as the contrast they generate in the room. It’s an excellent curatorial choice.
A video catches my eye, and so I explore this piece by Uri Aran titled Untitled 2006. It is both alienating and sensual, but is also very poetic. The video shows a man crying while he is hugging his dog. It’s like crying after a crime. In reality the crying might actually be fake.
A video by Rosa Aiello titled Shame Baby, Baby Shame 2014 also makes me think of ideas of paranoia, trouble and hysteria. During its running time occasionally the images are interrupted, which makes sense because they are so powerful that one doesn’t actually need to see them all the time to understand their point. The slow fall of a chain is accompanied by a wonderful wistful song, which has a melancholic 1950’s feel to it. Emotions. Poetry interrupted by a question. Poetry negated. The play of sounds and interruption create a tension that invades the whole room. It’s the most direct work in the entire show.
Though, it is Sara Greenberger Rafferty’s Untitled 2014 with its overlapping of prints, painting, layers of images and media that creates the more enigmatic artwork of the exhibition.
And Edward Marshall Shenk’s pop simulacrum Slenderman Canopic Jar 2014, is another small interesting jewel. Despite the fact that they are fake, the candles in this work generate a charming moment of poetry. This is definitely a post-internet artwork.
Then there is the coal by Francisco Codero – Oceguera, in Reduced Moments (with contents) 2015, still moving and abandoned by an oblong cardboard box, it effectively allows the viewer to imagine how the gesture took place. The external intervention, the “other” in art, looking at this work the questions come back: what comes before an artwork? What is behind it? And what comes after it?
At the end of the show, Amalia Ulman, with her wall installation Mother 2015, takes vinyl decals of typical refrigerator magnet sentences and shows us messages dedicated to her mother. It’s a protest.
Vincenzo Della Corte
© Vincenzo Della Corte, Fisk Frisk magazine, Galerie Andreas Huber
Artists: Rosa Aiello, Uri Aran, Francisco Cordero-Oceguera, Gregory Edwards, Lucas Michael, K.r.m. Mooney, Sara Greenberger Rafferty, Bunny Rogers & Jasper Spicero, Edward Marshall Shenk, Amalia Ulman
Curated by Franklin Melendez