Tomma Abts, Soko, 2004, Acrylic and oil on canvas, 48 x 38 cm


Formalism: Modern Art, Today

Salzburger Kunstverein
Hellbrunner Strasse 3 Künstlerhaus
October 9, 2004–January 9, 2005

“After all, is it so bad? What is it anyway? Nobody knows.” One suspects that Matthew Collings’s bafflement at the power of formalism might be resolved by this survey of the territory currently shared by aesthetes and conceptualists. Tracing the legacy of modernism through the work of young artists—Tomma Abts, Carol Bove, David Lieske, and Cathy Wilkes, among others—“Formalism” follows up the Kunstverein’s 2002 foray into institutional critique. A comparatively subdued evocation of theoretical-historical bugbears, this show argues for a chummier relationship between style and content. The catalogue boasts a discussion between curator Yilmaz Dziewior, Michael Krebber, Benjamin Buchloh, Alexander Garcia Düttmann, and Juliane Rebentisch.