Franz Thalmair

  • picks May 07, 2018

    Haim Steinbach

    Mojave, vitamin kick, tree frog 1, garden gnome, sunflower. For eswürdesoaussehen (itwouldlooklikethis), 2018—which consists of fictive names and thirteen color swatches painted on the wall—Haim Steinbach portrays not only the hues of everyday objects but also the ideas and representations connected to them.

    This exhibition hosts plenty of actual objects, too—they’re motley and freighted with cultural significance, and Steinbach has been amassing them for a good three decades. That they exist not to sate the artist’s pack-rat passions but rather to serve the analysis of their own implications in

  • picks April 12, 2018

    Sophie Thun

    As one approaches the gallery, it is not immediately clear that the life-size analog color photograph Rain on pane (all works cited, 2018) is not actually Sophie Thun. She stands, so it appears, behind the closed door, holding a remote shutter release while perhaps taking stock of passersby in the historic city center. Her surroundings duplicate what is behind the photographic paper: the gallery space. The construction and representation of the female self is as much a theme in Thun’s work as the illusionistic methods of mimesis in mise en abyme and trompe l'oeil, or the technological preconditions

  • picks December 04, 2017

    “Quote / Unquote. Between Appropriation and Dialogue”

    In these times of discussing renewable energy, where better to house an exhibition on citation as artistic strategy—the recycling and recuperation of content, in other words—than a former power plant? As part of Lisbon’s Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology, the Tejo Power Station ranks among modernity’s most striking monuments, and if it has long been an ideal site to consider the appropriation and reclamation of images, texts, and ideas, such investigations have taken on even more urgency as of late.

    Noé Sendas looks at echoes in art-historical contexts when he brings self-portraits

  • picks October 12, 2017

    Toni Schmale

    At the end of a corridor, the work dipstation (all works 2017) provides the prelude to an exhibition in which today’s rituals around self-improvement take center stage. A slab of dark-gray concrete, mounted to the wall and sized to human scale, is juxtaposed with a black metal bar. No chin-ups are possible here, fat burning isn’t allowed, muscles can’t be trained—the equipment has been reduced to pure form.

    The main section of the installation by Toni Schmale is further equipped with supposed tools of optimization: first there is ach ach ach, featuring stanchions on the left and right of each of

  • picks June 29, 2017

    Martin Beck

    What makes an exhibition? How do the individual elements come together, and how does new meaning unfold as a result? What praxis must a curator follow in order to deploy the “gestures of showing,” as described by Mieke Bal, so that they can be experienced and construed by the public? Martin Beck’s art moves within this constellation of questions and complicates them. His latest show of sculptures, videos, drawings, artists’ books, and installations also includes works he selected by Eadweard Muybridge and Julie Ault, which appear as references to Beck’s own output. Beck has additionally curated

  • picks May 18, 2017

    Sonia Leimer

    When visitors step onto the white performance floor that Sonia Leimer has installed in “Autoterritorium”—a piece that extends via slender pathways right up to the walls, adding a second floor to the exhibition space—not only is their own tread softened (the material gives way under the pressure of bodies), but they also inevitably become a component of the show. Indeed, they complete the exhibition. One could characterize the other objects on view also as performative sculptures. Eroberung des Nutzlosen (Conquest of the Useless), 2016, is made up of movable stainless-steel parts based on objects

  • picks April 03, 2017

    Tatsuo Miyajima

    A permanent becoming—as opposed to an ultimate being—is a central theme in Tatsuo Miyajima’s latest exhibition, as high-flying as the topic may be. Throughout, Miyajima’s work elegantly conjures the river of time as the only constant. “LIFE (complex system)” presents three pieces sharing the same title in the main gallery: Life (complex system) no. 1, no. 7, and no. 10, all 2017. Together, they offer digital LED counters on circuit boards that are held in sterile steel casings and ordered into grids. Connected via a microcomputer and vein-like cables, these units react to one another; they are

  • picks March 24, 2017

    Agatha Gothe-Snape

    On the fifty-third floor of Mori Tower—the tallest building in the Roppongi district—to be unable to look out over Tokyo is agonizing. Agatha Gothe-Snape must have felt similarly when she conceived her exhibition for the almost windowless space of the Mori Art Museum. She explores the notion of the window as a metaphor for that which both joins and separates, an element which contributes to the site-specificity of her installation. The spectrum of works on view, which grew from her research in Tokyo, includes videos, digital prints, and sound recordings, as well as sculptures and other spatial

  • picks March 03, 2017

    Juergen Teller

    What do Charlotte Rampling and William Eggleston have in common? Both can be found in this show of Juergen Teller’s large-format prints. Teller is also seen posing naked on the back of a donkey. In another image, Eggleston, with a cigarette in one hand and a camera around his neck, stands before a pink gorilla, whose gaze he attempts to reciprocate. In a third work, Rampling holds a fox in her hands while sitting barefoot in front of a wall of fair-faced concrete; a pair of shoes lie on a large ashtray beside her. These photographs seem simultaneously casual and staged—and this is classic Teller,

  • picks February 20, 2017

    Andreas Fogarasi

    Just how many exhibitions there are in this show, with the promising title “Exhibition/s,” is open to debate. On the other hand, that Andreas Fogarasi always addresses the functionality and logic of exhibiting in his own artistic practice, or makes them the main object of investigation, is clearly staked out. Focusing on works from the past five years, the show considers the intersection of architecture, design, and visual arts. Questions as to how cities and the events generated in and by them are transformed into images, which then inscribe themselves in the collective memory, run like a red

  • picks February 12, 2017

    Hans Weigand

    Like living creatures, the waves scurry over the surface of the sea—a viewer can hardly escape their delicacy. Like living creatures, these fleeting apparitions in Hans Weigand’s latest exhibition move through the gallery. Here, the artist exhibits large-format watercolors with india ink on wood with surprising subjects, in the style of Katsushika Hokusai. It is, however, not the actual graphics that are to be seen but rather the wooden blocks with backgrounds and surfaces that shimmer in mauve and ocher tones. The image brought forth from the wood—wave riders and their boards, for instance—are

  • picks August 30, 2016

    Sterling Ruby

    Gold leaf meets synthetic fiber, wood marquetry meets Formica, and steel meets oil paint: In the Winter Palace of the Belvedere, Sterling Ruby collides with the Late Baroque opulence marking the residence of Prince Eugene, field commander and diplomat for the Habsburgs. With works ranging from mobiles to sculptures to wall hangings, the artist not only contrasts the historic masonry on a material level with the everyday of the twenty-first century but also carries that past thematically into the now.

    In the antechamber are two CANDLES,—both 2015, elongated fabric sculptures—one standing on end,

  • picks August 29, 2016

    Pakui Hardware

    Neringa Černiauskaitė and Ugnius Gelguda are interested in putting concepts, temporal horizons, technologies, and other disparate and apparently unaffiliated elements into relation, as is demonstrated by their collective moniker, Pakui Hardware, under which the artists from Lithuania have been operating since 2014. Pakui is, according to the artists, the speedy attendant of a Hawaiian goddess; is one of the myths of our postdigital condition.

    With Vanilla Eyes, 2016, the young duo presents an extensive installation accessible to visitors in the lower level of the museum. It is fascinatingly slick

  • picks June 30, 2016

    Tobias Pils

    How multifaceted, rich in variants, and rhythmic can a concentration on black, white, and shades of gray be? For a demonstration, see Tobias Pils’s exhibition here. The artist, who lives in Vienna, draws the beholder of his work into a cosmos of painterly and graphic forms—structures and gestures that, the moment they are applied to canvas or paper, seem to vanish. The most distinct quality in Pils’s works is his play with ambivalence: The towering image Untitled (Yes&no) (all works cited, 2016), for instance, initially presents itself through illustrations of varying perspectives but is flattened

  • picks March 11, 2016

    Maria Anwander

    With a white neon sign, Maria Anwander stages the central question of her exhibition. Untitled (Why art now), 2014, hangs over the entrance to the space and receives visitors with the titular phrase, a sentiment that at first appears innocent enough but becomes ever more dominant and pointed as the exhibition progresses. The second neon work a visitor encounters, Untitled (and what for?), 2014, finishes the question of the first and is no less critical. Between them is a whole series of works that deal with the art market, institutions, and the process of understanding aesthetic practice.

    In the

  • picks February 22, 2016

    Anita Witek

    Layer by layer, Anita Witek’s image-worlds are built up; layer by layer, visitors work through the diverse formats in this exhibition: photomontage, slide projection, installation, and small detailed sculpture in display cases. The unifying element in “About Life” are found photographs that Witek cuts from posters and fashion and lifestyle magazines, which she reworks to develop, from the remaining backgrounds, abstract and surreal architectures that unsettle the gaze.

    For the two-channel slide projection Retour en forme (Back in Shape), 2008, which cites a Constructivist vocabulary, sheet after

  • picks December 25, 2015

    Nick Oberthaler

    Soft, red light bathes Galerie Emanuel Layr’s anterior, and only farther in does the exhibition space return to a gallery’s traditional white-cube presentation—a mode so accepted that it almost never prompts comment. Nick Oberthaler installed the red neon bulbs in the entryway of the gallery not only to underscore the two-part architecture of the space but also to manipulate the colors of the images on view, all Untitled, 2015.

    With the exhibition title, “Distinct Features of Fast Oscillations in Phasic and Tonic Rapid Eye Movement,” the artist is referring to the field of neurology, in which

  • picks December 03, 2015

    Birgit Knoechl and Simona Koch

    Organic forms, recurring patterns and processes, all of which yield connections both thematic and formal: Birgit Knoechl’s and Simona Koch’s exhibition shows current bodies of work that couldn’t complement one another better. In the interplay between the two artists a network emerges out of drawings, silhouettes, videos and animation, and even collections of objects presented on tables. At their best, these are two installations that both impress and threaten the observer, in equal measure.

    Birgit Knoechl’s RissWachstum0IIII, 2015, consists of more than sixty modules that hang from the ceiling

  • picks September 30, 2015

    Ernesto Neto and the Huni Kuin

    Lavender, basil, cloves, turmeric, and chamomile: This blend gives off a delicate fragrance that wafts through this well-orchestrated exhibition and beyond the museum’s walls into Vienna’s Augarten. Ernesto Neto’s collaboration with the Huni Kuin, or Kaxinawá, people of Brazil and Peru announces itself with small woven objects hanging from the ceiling and lying on the floor. The artist has transformed the central gallery of the exhibition into a place of contemplation with NixiForestKupiXawa, 2015, a tent of bright knotted cotton ribbons that serves as a gathering place. In the room’s center

  • picks August 20, 2015

    Duane Hanson

    Duane Hanson’s sculptural renditions of working-class Americans have been placed throughout the white colonnade of this gallery in a presentation that spatially emphasizes this artist's signature hyperrealism. Early sculptures such as Children Playing Game, 1979, which includes two young towheads playing Connect Four on a soft blue carpet, are set beside more recent works, such as Baby in Stroller, 1995. At the entrance a corpulent woman with pinky-white skin (qualities shared by many of Hanson’s figures) sits an aluminum lawn chair; around her are stacks of books and framed paintings that look