Critics’ Picks

View of “Adrien Tirtiaux.” Background:  Ronquières, 2002/2007. Foreground:  Auprès de mon arbre (Near My Tree), 2007.

View of “Adrien Tirtiaux.” Background: Ronquières, 2002/2007. Foreground: Auprès de mon arbre (Near My Tree), 2007.

Vienna

Adrien Tirtiaux

Galerie Martin Janda
Eschenbachgasse 11
June 20–August 18, 2007

The project space at Galerie Martin Janda is not an ideal exhibition venue: The large base of an elevator protrudes into the room, and the window looks out onto an enormous ventilator shaft in the dark rear courtyard. The young Belgian artist Adrien Tirtiaux, who is still studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, has magically transformed this environment with only a few props. Thanks to brown and green paint, the elevator base looks like a tree, while a bizarre mirrored construction conceals the technological infrastructure in the courtyard and fills it instead with sky and sunlight. A small photograph of a forest of concrete columns underneath a bridge hangs nearby. In this pairing of artworks, the interior space becomes exterior, technology meets the white cube meets (artificial) nature—and only the subtle force of association and illusion drives it all. Could there be a more suitable, concise statement about exhibition-making? Unlike Documenta 12, for example, where painted walls and curtains attempt to reinvent the traditional exhibition model, Tirtiaux’s examination is subtle and poetic. It’s an intrinsic part of the installation, assembled as a contextual framework and then visually disassembled.