Franz Thalmair

  • View of “Pakui Hardware,” 2016.
    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

  • View of “Tobias Pils,” 2016.
    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

  • Maria Anwander, Untitled (Why art now), 2014, neon, 12 x 43".
    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

  • View of “Anita Witek: About Life,” 2016.
    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

  • View of “Nick Oberthaler,” 2015–16.
    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

  • View of “Birgit Knoechl and Simona Koch,” 2015.
    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

  • View of “Ernesto Neto and the Huni Kuin: Aru Kuxipa / Sacred Secret / Sagrado Segredo,” 2015.
    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

  • Duane Hanson, Man on Mower, 1995, bronze, polychromed in oil with lawn mower, 64 x 38 x 26".
    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

  • View of “Jun Yang: Gallery Show,” 2015.
    picks June 24, 2015

    Jun Yang

    For “The Gallery Show,” Jun Yang presents works from the past fourteen years. Born in China, raised in Austria, and currently residing in Vienna, Taipei, and Yokohama, Yang spent more than a decade between cultures—metaphorically and literally between schnitzel and chop suey. One might describe this condition as being lost in translation, if Yang did not so fruitfully mine the in-between and make it a central theme of his practice.

    Exemplary in this regard here are framed posters (Eat Drink Art Business) and a wallpaper piece (Goldenes Zimmer [Golden Room], both 2015). In combination, the two

  • Andrea Fraser, Collected: The Lady Wallace’s Inventory, 1997, twenty-five texts, dimensions variable.
    picks April 24, 2015

    Andrea Fraser

    Andrea Fraser’s current survey demonstrates just how light-footed and witty institutional critique can be, without forfeiting its edge. Fraser’s multifaceted works from the past thirty years are presented in a richly varied installation. In her videos, one sees the artist as a gifted actress in the most diverse roles—all of which cut to her proverbial body. In Little Frank and His Carp, 2001, for instance, we see her rub up against the architecture of the Guggenheim Bilbao, as directed by the bizarre text of an audio guide, astonishing the other visitors. In May I Help You?, 1991, she takes the

  • Ryan Gander, Ftt, Ft, Ftt, Ftt, Ffttt, Ftt, or . . ., 2010, mixed media, dimensions variable.
    picks April 10, 2015

    Ryan Gander

    Humorous, but not a one-liner; childlike, but not naive; indebted to the everyday, but not at random—Ryan Gander’s output unites the qualities necessary to being light-footed and conceptual in equal measure. “Make Every Show Like It’s Your Last,” a survey exhibition covering approximately the past ten years of Gander’s work, displays how the Brit handles divergent themes with masterful ease and how, in the process, he has developed a formal language that couldn’t be more contemporary.

    This becomes clear in his works that make art-historical references: The photograph It’s Got Such Good Heart in

  • View of “Krüger&Pardeller: Homo Faber,” 2014.
    picks February 23, 2015

    Krüger&Pardeller

    On a communicative collision course, the duo of Krüger&Pardeller—artists Doris Krüger and Walter Pardeller—allow not only different artistic fields of action but also different times and biographies as well as formal and material languages to crash into one another in their solo exhibition. In their installation titled Homo Faber, 2014, they juxtapose their own practice with the work of one of the most important Austrian sculptors of the twentieth century, Fritz Wotruba. The concept of “homo faber,” articulated by Hannah Arendt in The Human Condition as a question of that being who actively