Brigitte Huck

  • Manfred Pernice

    Today when you ride the U5, once East Berlin’s most important subway line, it takes you from the TV-tower-adorned Alexanderplatz by way of Frankfurter Allee and Friedrichsfelde to the northeast limit of the city, at Hellersdorf. This is where Le Corbusier’s “machine for living,” the Unité d’Habitation Typ Berlin, meets the condensed urban fabric of cheap, concrete-slab apartment buildings that made architectural history in the ’60s as a symbol of social progress but in the ’80s became the very image of aesthetic resignation. Societal gaps and cultural imbalances such as those between modernist

  • Leo Schatzl

    Leo Schatzl became the popular favorite at the 2004 Bienal de São Paulo with his rotating VW Beetle. As an interdisciplinary conceptual artist, this Austrian Tatlin undermines social systems and suggests, not least by engaging in collective practices, alternatives to the career paths commonly found in the art world. The artist’s first large solo show presents playful, subversive investigations that combine technical setups, everyday objects, and experimental parameters involving time, movement, and speed—a car shot off a ramp into wet concrete, for example. Including

  • Ene-Liis Semper

    Ene-Liis Semper likes to cast herself in the leading role. Whether the Estonian artist is testing out different methods for suicide (as in FF/REW, 1998) or living out hygienic obsessions in a white-tiled space (Licked Room, 2000), her concrete physical presence as an engaged body is the basis for videos that take their measure from reality. All the more confusing, then, the laconic text in her most recent video, Untitled, 2004: “You’ll not see me in this video,” it reads, “because I am inside the rabbit.” What follows is a three-minute-twenty-second excursus on the interdependence of relationships.

  • Markus Schinwald

    A gray-black horizon. Twilight reveals horses grazing. Dark silhouettes of riders on a gently arched bridge, among stirring leaves. Monolithic shards of stone. Lonesome cowboys. A woman. And a guy who might be a philosopher, or at least an accountant. A bizarre building appears—half fort, half temple. Birds against the sky, sun behind trees. Sitting on the temple stairs, the philosopher bows his head. Clouds. The stereotypes of an American western against a background of Austrian Expressionism, in the form of Clemens Holzmeister’s crematorium in Vienna’s central cemetery and Fritz Wotruba’s

  • “Francis Bacon and the Tradition of Art”

    Francis Bacon, the crown jewel of British painting, lived through most of the twentieth century, from 1909 to 1992, earning in a good fifty years of activity a reputation as an existentialist on account of his often horrifying diagnoses of reality. Though the artist feared his work would one day end up in storage, it recently appeared in the hallowed halls of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. One might think this pairing rather surprising for this superrefined museal shrine, where artworks tend to carry an expiration date of around 1800. But with the privatization of the formerly state-run

  • Matthew Buckingham

    Once upon a time the fine arts were shown in museums, and movies were shown in the cinema. But now museums have mutated into movie theaters and function under conditions of darkness. The artist Matthew Buckingham, who lives in New York and Berlin, is an interface expert, and, with his most recent work, the subtle, sophisticated film installation A Man of the Crowd, 2003, he has brought the light of the projector into the deepest subbasement of the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig.

    The script for Buckingham’s work is based on Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Man of the Crowd,” from 1840. The

  • Erwin Bohatsch

    It is not exactly easy to renounce “content” in this age of restive realism, when every image is its own screenplay. Doing without political, social, or economic symbolism, foreclosing any reference to an object, means dependence on only the most primal code of painting: on the materiality and texture of the pigment and its support. “The image itself says nothing,” says Erwin Bohatsch, a purist through and through. “It is a flat object.”

    In the early ’80s, Bohatsch was considered one of the Neue Wilde (new savages), the “impassioned” painters especially celebrated in Austria, Germany, and Italy.

  • Trauer

    Through the centuries, the theme of pathos has become rarer in art. Today it is almost taboo. At the Österreichische Galerie in the baroque Belvedere Palace, one sees how in classical painting and sculpture death and loss leads to transfiguration and victory. But mourning in contemporary art? In “Trauer” (Mourning) their manifold contradictions have been productively addressed by the gallery’s curator of modern and contemporary art, Thomas Trummer, who in his catalogue essay measures the representability of mourning and tragedy by way of such texts as Freud’s “Mourning and Melancholia,” Barthes’s

  • Marcus Geiger and Peter Kogler

    Both Marcus Geiger and Peter Kogler have made their mark through their approach to surfaces—whether by valuing them (Kogler, “Le Grand Récit,” Documenta 10, 1997) or devaluing them (Geiger, “100 Years of Secession,” Vienna Secession, 1998). Their joint exhibition “HALLO BAWAG” was a sensation, evoking sharp cries of excitement and happy sighs, like those of Sarah Jessica Parker at the sight of the latest Manolos. Indeed, the ethos of Sex and the City is not far removed: The Bawag Foundation is sited in the most fashionable part of Vienna, surrounded by trendy restaurants and designer boutiques.

  • Valie Export

    The pack of Smart Export cigarettes, an Austrian brand, looks a bit worse for the wear—but it is an icon. Accordingly, it is displayed in the foyer in the celebratory manner reserved for relics. The initiated will experience a mild thrill: This is the one, the legendary pack that Valie Export immortalized in the photograph that marked the feminist big bang in the patriarchal-clerical old Vienna of 1967 and which has since made it into practically every publication on the artist.

    “Export—always and everywhere,” she once remarked, “that is to say, exporting myself.” And it was meant as a reference

  • Koo Jeong-A

    On the day before her opening at the Secession, Koo Jeong-A locked herself in the basement in order to work on its difficult series of spaces. When she came out twenty-four hours later, the work was done: Between an emergency exit, an office, and a storage room spread a poetic dream landscape, a compellingly carefree exhibition—subtle and meditative, yet anchored in the material bluntness that characterizes sculpture. In the relation between order and disorder there emerges a pattern, and these textures of chaos are what interest Koo.

    A large table—nearly twenty feet long—at the beginning of the

  • Untitled,2002
    picks May 27, 2003

    Herbert Brandl

    According to Eastern mythology, Mount Kalish—a holy site for Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists—is the origin and center of the world, a pillar reaching from hell to heaven. Herbert Brandl’s reading is more profane: Somehow, says the artist, the mountain reminds him of a cake. Brandl is less interested in legends than he is in visual structure. He paints from images he finds in geography textbooks and travel brochures: What fascinates him is not reality but its representation, mediated images that suggest grandiosity and uniqueness. For the last two years (since concluding his series of near-abstract