25th of September 2018, Vienna (Austria)
Parallel Vienna is back! For general information please head over to my fair report from 2016. This year, Parallel Vienna, taking place for the sixth time in Vienna, is staying true to its concept of using temporarily vacant property (this year is a former office building) as an experimental space for artist presentations and also production.
The aim of Parallel Vienna is to present young and emerging artists, side by side, bringing together artistic initiatives of all kind. Furthermore, Parallel wishes to give equal space to both Austrian and international artists / galleries, fostering a platform of exchange.
During my preview visit, I have had the chance to engage and talk with the artists, curators and gallery owners of this year’s fair edition. The whole project is divided into three themes: Gallery statements, Project statements, and last but not least, Artist statements. Moreover, Parallel Masters is showcasing some established Austrian artists such as Valie Export, Birgit Jürgenssen, Alfred Hrdlicka, Franz Werst, Erwin Wurm, and Heimo Zobernig, just to name a few.
Dürst Britt & Mayhew gallery statement features works by Paul Beumer, David Roth and Kristan Kennedy. The presentation can be seen as a compressed version of their international group show ‘Stretch Release’ that was on show in the gallery in 2017. The artists on show do not limit their painterly practice to the well trodden path of oil on a stretched rectangular canvas.
They regularly prefer to take the canvas off of the stretcher and let painted fabrics behave of their own accord. Some produce their own fabrics and dye or paint on them, others expose their painted textiles to the natural elements. Entering this room will certainly feel like entering an artist studio.
Mario Mauroner Contemporary Art gallery statement includes works by Philip Mentzingen, Anneliese Schrenk and Anastasiya Yarovenko. The latter is actively engaging with issues of urban politics, realising those themes in sculptural works. In her work ’60 gallons’, Yarovenko has been engaging with homeless people in LA.
Each of the gallons has the size of a garbage bag and is showing what homeless people are carrying around, which puts the work in a sociocritical light.
Kultur Kontakt Austria‘s project statement is entitled ‘Urgent Perspectives’. The title itself is a contradiction itself – urgent being a short-termed definition and perspectives usually being long-termed ideas regarding the future.
The whole booth is dedicated to the issue of time and transiency. Maurits Boettger, one of the represented artists, for instance offers ‘time as the most valuable commodity’ for collectors.
Valerie Wolf Gang, on the other hand, relates to various time troubles as an artist, in her work called ‘Sorry I Can’t Make It Today’. She tells a story of how artists are traveling around the world, not having time for personal or intimate relationships any longer. Manaf Halbouni’s work ‘Nowhere is Home 2.0’ follows a similar path by showcasing a car with personal goods, narrating the difficulties of affordable living in Malta and creating a metaphor of both loss and hope.
The fourth artist, Marlene Hausegger, shows a sculpture associated with issues of environmental pollution. Her work ‘exhaust sunset’ also refers to colours of a smog sky in global urban areas.
Maaijke Middelbeek‘s artist statement is presented in a laboratory setting including anatomical imprints from her Skin Lab. Surfaces and structures are forming up “skinmaps”, which according to the artist can be seen as new skins.
Middelbeek studied Fashion and Textile at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute (AMFI). After graduating she has worked in various fields of the fashion industry. In 2015 she started making art herself.
Jakob Kolb‘s artist statement reflects on personal memories of a summer in Cadaqués. He composes sculptures and paintings, which are distributed throughout the room, having memories of loss in his mind. Kolb is using various materials and colour tones to narrate themes of both love and sorrow.
Furthermore the artist creates a dialogue between two major materials: the synthetic and the organic, symbolising transience and infinity.
Birgit Zinner and Karin Pliem‘s artist statement is building a relationship between structures as frontiers, presenting colours and materials as separation and symbols of nature and the environment on the other side. Pliem is actively engaging with the intertwining of emotions and the rational construction of a painting.
Denise Rudolf Frank‘s artist statement may, at first sight, remind you of Basquiat’s New York studio but after getting to know the artist you may see it from a different angle.
Her works are mainly dealing with powerful emotions and to give you an all-round insight, she covered her whole booth in paint, from the floor to the ceiling.