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).
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 next to philomena+. The title is related to a true story: 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, written 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. I like the fact that Niwa’s 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. P.S.: When registering for his newsletter, a fun moment happens to the website visitor – the photo of a man on his knees (maybe the artist himself) asking: „Menschlichkeit bestätigen“.
Act number one 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). Again the artist was not able to come due to the current restrictions… The painting was realized amazingly by Thaer Maarouf, a Syrian artist living in Vienna (Soukaina Joual has shown this work at Le Cube, Rabat, 2016). The way how the Arab world was divided seems not to have changed. Joual is happy that a college artist was offering to do this painting for her. It seems like a performative painting, giving messages through these visible divisions and the work’s title. Joual’s art has been shown all over the world: among others in South Korea, Japan, Egypt, Germany. Lots of her works emerge in situ. Meat is a theme that she examines consistently. Sometimes cow meat, 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.
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. I find it chucklesome her video works „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+. She will dialogue artistically with the Austrian artist Lisa Großkopf. Curious about what will emerge.
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 (Bulgarian-born artist, living in Vienna) starts to be displayed. We see on 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 (I think why the artists have chosen this channel precisely… maybe to remind us of their reporting involvements in the region). The dialogue makes you concentrate. There is lots of humor (also for politically engaged people with kids is a must go. The Kiddies would love it too).
Nevertheless, sometimes the theme is so complex that you would wish to have a script in front of your eyes. The artist has uploaded this video at Vimeo, and for the more interested ones, there is also a possibility of reseeing it. Some dialogue sentences have remained 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 of the 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, „Political Ideologies in the post cold war Period“. Some of his research themes are property, economic cycles, political ideologies, aftermaths. His work has been shown among others in Germany, Netherland, Taiwan, Italy, Romania, Bulgaria. At the same time, he has works that are having a real easiness, such as researching the difference behind writing Kosta with K or C.
„At the same time, he has works that are having a real easiness, such as researching the difference behind writing Kosta with K or C“
Thoughts on these acts: Are there more to come? Maybe not yet the time for ending the article, but it can not last to infinity, or maybe yes? Will the disassemble of the exhibition also be similar to the assemble? Will some works go earlier than others? What will we remember from the show? How does it feel to take off those layers of temporality from the wall drawing „Arab World as Pieces of Meat“? Where will the collages hang once back in Libya? How will the garden feel without the installation? Will the Dolls have a sequel one day?
Exhibition: 03/12/2020 – 08/01/2021
Address and Contact:
philomena+ Kunst- und Architekturplattform
Heinestraße 40, 1020 Wien
Le Cube – independent art room
2, rue Benzerte, Rabat, Maroc
About the Interviewer: Erka Shalari (*1988, Tirana) is a Vienna-based art author. She focuses on discovering independent young and emerging artists, unconventional exhibition spaces, and galleries that have deliberately broken new ground in their working methods. In this regard, she relies on unorthodox publishing practices, coupling these with a nonchalant manner of writing. The work oscillates between articles for magazines, exhibition texts and press releases.