It's about artistic expansion
Game art in the gallery context
HOLLEREI Galerie is showing video games in an exhibition for the second time – breaking new ground in the process.
“Video games are one of the few entirely new creative media of the 21st century,” says Christian Bazant-Hegemark, curator at HOLLEREI Galerie. “What’s interesting is that there is still no language for how they can best be presented in the art context.” The most financially successful entertainment medium on the planet – the gaming industry surpassed Hollywood years ago – has already found its way into institutions like the MoMA in New York, but there is still a lot of pioneering work to do. “We as a gallery are interested in the passion of creative minds,” Bazant-Hegemark says. “The challenge is finding a way to present an artistic vision in the gallery context beyond the concrete product of the video game.”
Of course, not all games are equally well-suited for that. “It’s difficult to speak of an artistic vision in the case of high-gloss productions that are created as mere entertainment products, with a multi-million budget and often hundreds of employees behind them. It’s different in the case of games by smaller teams or individuals who work independently of the commercial mass market,” says Josef Who. The Vienna-based game developer is one of the exhibited artists selected on account of geographic proximity and, above all, artistic quality. Images and installations by Broken Rules, Lost in the Garden, Stephan Hövelbrinks, Georg Hobmeier and Amanita Design aim to illustrate the aesthetic vision of games apart from pure product or merchandising.
“We want to break the rules and expand the conversation,” says gallery owner André Stolzlechner, who co-runs HOLLEREI Galerie with his wife Margit and Bazant-Hegemark. “The goal is to present high-quality work and also to surprise a gallery audience, to say: Look at this! It’s an investment in the future that also has to do with sustainable positioning for us as a gallery.” The trick is to “smuggle” the new medium in from time to time for an art public to look at, and then let the work speak for itself. “Technology and art have always gone hand in hand,” says Bazant-Hegemark. “It’s about artistic expansion. After all, photography and film have also been acknowledged as independent art forms in the mean time.”