Franz Thalmair

  • Michael Kienzer, Weiß auf Weiß (Zeichnung Vol 6) (White on  White [Drawing Vol. 6]), 2018, zinc sheet, lacquer,  14' × 10' × 1' 7 1⁄4".

    Michael Kienzer

    Poised between lightness and presence, between impromptu conception and deliberate creative choice, between the construction of sculpture in the moment and its perpetual disintegration, Michael Kienzer’s practice typically performs a balancing act. In his exhibition “grau und farbig” (gray and colorful), the Vienna-based artist gave another bravura demonstration of his mastery of sculptural precision.

    Entering the gallery, the visitor was welcomed by a fourteen-foot-tall wall object bearing the programmatic title Weiß auf Weiß (Zeichnung Vol 6) (White on White [Drawing Vol. 6]) (all works cited,

  • View of “Panta Rhei,” 2018.
    picks October 15, 2018

    Sheila Hicks and Judit Reigl

    Sheila Hicks and Judit Reigl both believe that change is the only constant that shapes our world. Accordingly, their exhibition here is characterized by a pulsation that can also be described as life—and which, in turn, is marked by change. Hicks and Reigl live in Paris and have been active as artists for more than half a century (Hicks was born in Nebraska in 1934, Reigl in Hungary in 1923), and they are now brought together by curator Julia Garimorth for “Panta Rhei,” a show that correlates form, material, and wisdom.  

    The image of a changeable river suggests itself especially in Reigl’s series

  • View of “John Cornu and Peter Downsbrough,” 2018. Photo: Gilles Ribero.

    John Cornu and Peter Downsbrough

    If many alternative art venues are tucked away in backyards or basements, attic, as the name suggests, sits at the other end of the spectrum—it occupies the top floor of a building that used to be home to a publishing company. The floor has recently been taken over by several galleries and transformed into one of the Belgian capital’s contemporary art hubs. After entering the imposing edifice and climbing the stairs, the visitor found herself not in a refined white cube but in a kind of garret room, where it quickly became clear that this dual presentation of works by John Cornu and Peter

  • Anna Artaker, untitled, 2018, death masks, dimensions variable.
    picks August 28, 2018

    Anna Artaker and Tatiana Lecomte

    This museum’s well-known collection of anatomical wax models from the Medical University of Vienna is brought into the present in this exhibition. Anna Artaker explores the legibility of the human face by exhibiting death masks from the Josephinum’s holdings as readymades. Without labels or commentary, faces from the late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries mingle in this untitled installation, demonstrating the impossibility of visually differentiating Aryan and Jewish peoples, despite ideas propagated by racist Nazi pseudoscience. Meanwhile, Artaker’s frottage Freud’s Tomb in London, 2018,

  • Haim Steinbach, Untitled  (cookie  jar,  Jamaican  head,  Stormtrooper,  dog  chew),  2016, mixed media, 26 1/2 x 55 7/10 x 13 1/2".
    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

  • Sophie Thun, While holding (passage closed) (Y110,8M17,4D+59F8m18,142CA3T69,2b100l240), 2018, analogue color photography, photogram, metal and magnets, approx. 138 x 197”.
    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

  • View of “Quote / Unquote. Between Appropriation and Dialogue,” 2017–2018.
    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

  • Toni Schmale, ach ach ach, 2017, concrete and steel, each 47 x 24 x 44".
    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

  • View of “rumors and murmurs,” 2017.
    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

  • Sonia Leimer, Ohne Titel (Asphalt) (Untitled [Asphalt]), 2015, asphalt, dimensions variable.
    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

  • View of “LIFE (complex system),” 2017.
    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

  • View of “Agatha Gothe-Snape,” 2017.
    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