Outside, one can see Act Number II. Entitled Releasing Euro Banknotes into the Danube River and Looking for them as Lost Items in the Countries Downstream (Billboard, 168 x 238 cm).
Yoshinori Niwa, a Vienna-based artist, is its author. The installation is located at the small snowy garden on the sidewalk. The title is related to a true story; In 2015, a large amount of cash was floating around the Danube river, Niwa relates these headlines with other economic philosophies. The inspiration for this work has been the Green Book by Muammar Gaddafi.
Gaddafi wanted this book to be read by everyone. To spread his vision, he broadcasted parts of the book on television and radio, slogans from it were written on billboards. Niwa takes such a reference. I am curious how passers-by will interpret this work. He has definitely lots of humor and a fondness for political and economic commentaries.
Act number one was removed from the stage of the large windows. The works will be displayed on the gallery walls (left and right of it). The wide vitrine stays empty. Passers-by can now see the finalized bullock mural painting of the multi-disciplinary Moroccan artist Soukaina Joual, with a powerful name: The Arab world as Pieces of Meat (mural painting, 200 cm x 121 cm).
As the artist was not able to come due to the current restrictions, the painting has been realized amazingly by Thaer Maarouf, Syrian artist living in Vienna. Soukaina Joual has shown this work already at Le Cube, Rabat in 2016. The way how the Arab world was divided seems not to have changed.
*Soukaina Joual’s art has been shown among others in South Korea, Japan, Egypt, Austria, Germany. Lots of her works emerge in situ. Meat is a theme that she examines consistently, sometimes cow, sometimes pork! Works including meat are called: Halal, Aggression of the simulacrum, Kim Jung-un & The Pig Head, I’m not so innocent anymore. MEAT is entirely political. The artist works very performative. Chucklesome are also video works of her such as: „How to remove writing from bills using nail polish remover“ & „Uchb Nica“. In the spring session, Joual will be an artist in residence at philomena+.
The artworks continue to perform, change positions, conduct perhaps a new dialogue. We are now on act no.4. Iron steam circulates in the room, dark red theater curtains are smoothly flattened.
On the 9th of December, when it gets inky dark, the video Dolls of Kosta Tonev starts to be displayed. We see, in a doll form, the now-dead leaders‘ Mao and Gaddafi. Two forearms set them in movement. The chairman and the colonel reflect on their past rule, American imperialism, but also about Andy Warhol, American sunglasses. A fragment of CNN detaches us for a few moments from their conversation. The dialogue makes you feel concentrated, nevertheless, sometimes the theme is so complex that you would wish to have a script in front of your eyes, but for this you can re-direct yourself to Vimeo.
Some dialogue sentences remain in my mind: Afterlife is made of plastic. Why do I have to fly like Superman? I’ve become the person I’ve always hated. Look where we are! Why are we even talking in English? It’s obvious—we ended up on the wrong side of history.
In the end, both dolls hope that Tonev or history will give them a sequel. They would like one day to be perceived as action figures. They are tired of being only dolls.
*In a way, Tonev’s continues to develop his started narratives. Before realizing his new work Dolls (one-channel video, 15’), he dealt with related matters of Political Ideologies in the post-Cold War period. Some of his research themes are property, economic cycles, political ideologies, and aftermaths. His work has been shown among others in Germany, Netherland, Taiwan, Italy, Romania, Bulgaria.
Exhibition: 03/12/2020 – 08/01/2021
Address and Contact:
philomena+ Kunst- und Architekturplattform
Heinestraße 40, 1020 Wien
Note: As noticed in my preview articles, the sound of a place has become an essential part of them (like to bring the reader closer to the occurrence). In the exhibition BIG IDEAS. Political Ideologies and their aftermath, Cornelius Wildner, austrian sound artist, collects hearable and subliminal noises. One can hear the sound of a day start at philomena+ , movements that take place in and outside the space, words, meat grinder noises (from Soukaina Joual past performance „I’m not so innocent anymore“), and fragments from the video „Dolls“. In the end, an archive of sounds of this exhibition is gained.