Vienna

Gerwald Rockenschaub

Secession

Gerwald Rockenschaub’s recent installation in the Secession asked us to go beyond the art object to consider the institution in which it is placed. The Secession was founded as a temple to art, and only Gustav Klimt’s Beethoven frieze remains as a testament to that goal. Because of Klimt’s work, this building has become a tourist attraction, an aspect of the site that Rockenschaub views as a basic condition of any exhibition installed here.

As he did in his installations at the Venice Biennale and Zurich’s Galerie Walcheturm, Rockenschaub uses the particularities of the site as a point of departure. Upstairs he placed six chairs in a row, facing the window. Two walls had been erected in the main space to create a broad corridor, and the doors to the garden café had been left open as if to encourage passing tourists to enter. On these walls hung computer-manipulated photographs; the poor

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