Critics’ Picks

View of “Cinematic Scope,” 2013.

Vienna

“Cinematic Scope”

Gesellschaft für projektive Ästhetik, Georg Kargl
Schleifmühlgasse 5
January 18 - March 9

Mixing black and white yields a spectrum of colors that fall under the shade of gray, of course, and this group exhibition likewise pursues a blend between the black box of the movie theater and the white cube of the gallery, a long-standing couple that is here reconsidered. The exhibition comprises works by six emerging artists who reflect on the potential of manipulating cinematographic content, form, and material through a variety of approaches that draw upon the legacy of the Expanded Cinema movement via a digital, twenty-first-century perspective.

The interplay between projector, screen, and image is examined in Manuel Knapp’s black-and-white untitled computer animation from 2013, which is projected on a shiny black screen that is split down the middle. The slit multiplies the impact of the geometric moving images in the piece by building a metaphoric bridge between the spaces created with the visuals and the actual architectural gallery space. In contrast to the sobriety of these digital images, the 16-mm film projectors in Wolfgang Plöger’s Texas Loud, Texas Proud, 2013, clatter away in the main space of the gallery. Strung freely in the space—instead of being confined to a wheel—the strips of film in this work bear texts (the last words of prisoners executed in Texas) that Plöger silk-screened directly onto the film stock.

With the installation Pre-Projection, 2008/2013, in which a camera obscura becomes a sculpture—and vice versa—Tobias Putrih sums up the exhibition. Here, an oversize, menacing black pyramid made out of wood is attached to the ceiling and points downward toward a silver spoon. A tiny image emerges on the spoon’s concave bowl that reflects the ventilation system on the ceiling sheathed by the pyramid. The connections in this piece among monumental gesture, site-specific placement, and minimal effect throw into question not only the medium of film in a postmedia era but also the potential of the visual arts.

Translated from German by Diana Reese.