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Physically present, mentally not
„Most ideas that are successful are ludicrously simple. Successful ideas generally have the appearance of simplicity because they seem inevitable.” Sol Lewitt, Paragraphs on Conceptual Art Snaps of exit signs: deliberately affectless, depersonalized, repetitious. Ubiquitous snapshots, that became the most common type of photography, have developed in contemporary art into a coherent pictoral strategy featuring the sensory presence of everyday life. Florian Reinhardt has shot, over a period of almost 10 years, altogether 1024 exit signs from all over the world. He photographs with the iPhone camera: a spontaneous gesture, not planned and not staged, always emerging from a specific situation. He refuses to use any different camera than that of a smartphone, since for him the act of snapping a photo needs to be impulsive and at the spur of the moment. The majority of the signs are shown as close-ups, with no further references in the background – they deprive the viewer of any sense of scale or cultural reference to the environment, since exit signs have become global, regardless of a country’s language. In a world overwhelmed by signs, Reinhardt focuses and delivers the view of an inverted telescope on mundane and omnipresent signifiers of daily life. These signifiers, be they exit signs, words, arrows, circles, squares or pictograms, are universally understandable. In his present series, Reinhardt universalizes exit signs, framing their type as if they were specimens pinned onto a card. In this context, the Exit series is to be understood as a reception of both Ed Ruscha’s proto-conceptual approach to photography and of Duchamp’s appropriationism. All three artists apply the iconoclastic principle of Dada by displaying images of so called readymades: industrially-manufactured objects shown with no alteration. This form of transgression and appropriation of everyday objects was most prominently employed in pop art. Reinhardt’s collages of 25 images as a direct reflection on Warhol’s genre of multiplied and repeated portraits, which he referred to as the ‘assembly line effect’. However, Reinhardt takes the abstraction of Warhol’s critical reflection on uniqueness even further, by using identical images. Reinhardt’s exit signs, seemingly objectively accumulated without a conscious imposition of artistic selection or hierarchy, are unlike Ruscha’s series a narrative character, and are thus subjective and breaking the boundaries of documentary and dipping into conceptual art. The photographs are complex and layered: over the affectless, depersonalized, repetitious of never-ending industrial exit-signs comes the narrative layer of the contextual physical act of photographing the images. Each exit signs corresponds to an exit situation, narrating a particular moment in time, of instances of being physically present, but mentally not. As a consequence, Reinhardt’s photography are not only an archive of readymades in a Duchampian sense, but also an archive of subjectiveness as formulated by Theodor Adorno’s notion of mimesis. On this conceptual basis, Reinhardt decided – in cooperation with curator Anne Avramut – to design the exit series globally and participatory: in the course of the exhibition at the Rudolf Budja Gallery a platform will go online on his homepage (www.exit.art), where everyone is able to upload his/her own exit sign photographs and inherent story and where by these collective means an Encyclopedia of Exit will come into existence. Florian Reinhardt works all over the world and lives in Cologne. A. AvramutView exhibition
Echo, a mythical Oread nymph from the Mount Kithairon whose name in Greek means sound, is a personification of repetition. According to the Hellenistic legend, Echo engaged Hera in long-winded conversations to draw her attention away from Zeus’ philandering. Upon finding out this ploy, Hera punished Echo by depriving her of the ability to speak her own mind, instead of leaving her with the voice that can only repeat the last fragments of sentences spoken by others. Crushed and humiliated, Echo ran deep into the forest, where she met and fell in love with Narcissus. Since she could no longer express herself, Echo emitted contradictory, confusing phrases that ultimately brought Narcissus to his ruin. Unhappy and alone, the nymph faded away until only her voice remained. The story of the unhappy (although successful by the criteria of ancient Olympians) marriage of Zeus and Hera reflects many contemporary marriages where children often play the role of the advocate, seducing parents into “cooler” topics of conversation in which they forget their anger, in an attempt to reconcile them or to win them over for themselves. This complicated codependent relationship in which children metaphorically and literally lose their voice, repeat and copy what they hear and see, consent to the influence of the stronger adult and eventually lose themselves, is reflected in a certain sense in the paintings of Petar Mošić. By placing the observer in front of an image of silence – or rather, the quiet before the storm – one gets the impression that the artist always asks one and the same question, and receives the same answer. These images are an echo rather than a documentary representation of a concrete event, thus rendered less intimate and more imagined; their strength is multiplied by creating repetition and cool distance. Mosic’s works are problematically beautiful. Problematic because they are beautiful, and problematic for the way in which they pose their permanent mute question. Are we glimpsing at these scenes from the point of view of the victim, the perpetrator, or the silent observer? To which extent could such images be neutral or one-sided? How would we perceive these realist portraits if they were in fact photographs – as documents of different times, or as forbidden pornography? What sort of emotions would they raise (or fail to) if the young faces were rendered as decorative ornaments wearing ‘safe’ emotions such as happiness or neutral stillness (in the manner of children’s historic portraits)? Do Mosic’s formats and detail frame and focus the low viewpoint of a child, or point at something that cannot be escaped? The paintings and drawings of Petar Mošić mark a silence (as a given theme or an act) and its echo (as a mimicry, survival, but also as a rebellious declaration of selfhood). Which will resound for longer? Aleksandra Lazar, 2017 Founder and Director, AUGS; Curator, Wiener Städtische Collection
Visconti Fine Art - Collection
Valério Adami was born in Bologna, Italy on March 17th in 1935. He developed an interest in painting at an early age, and at the young age of 16, he gets accepted to the Accademia di Brera in Milan, where he pursues his studies until 1954. At the age of 20, he already has the chance to visit Paris where he meets both Roberto Matta and Wilfredo Lam. Both of the painters encourage him to develop his talents as an artist. Between the years of 1955 and 1965, Adami constantly travels between Italy, Paris and other, mainly European cities, interrupted by brief visits to New York, South America, and India. His first one-man exhibition is held in Milan in 1959, and since then Adami has held numerous exhibitions all around the world. One of the most prominent of these was his full-scale retrospective held at the Musee National d’Art Moderne at the Pompidou Centre in Paris in 1985. Adami also realized the feature film “Holidays in the desert” together with his brother Giancarlo. In 1978/79 he creates paintings with primarily mythological themes. As of 1984, his paintings are not dated anymore. Adami has managed to evolve his own iconography, an ingenious pictorial language that embraces both past and present, and within whose frontiers strange creatures keep company with famous faces from history: the author James Joyce, the French Revolutionary politician Robespierre, and the composer Gustav Mahler. Adami’s art also teems with figures from the great works of literature such as the knight Don Quixote with his faithful companion, Sancho Panza and the young Prince Hamlet preoccupied with gloomy thoughts of suicide outside Kronborg Castle in Elsinore. Visconti Fine Art has collaborated with Adami on various occasions, both through Editions and at various art fairs, where Adami was exhibited, around the world. One of these Editions is the SPORT AND ART, which was initiated in 1991 between Fascination “The Gallery of Modern Art” in Switzerland and Visconti Fine Art. Five internationally renowned artists, one of them being Valerio Adami (Italy) have created a limited edition of artworks, especially for SPORT AND ART.