The archeology of media and materials

On the exhibition “Material Traces”

Miryam Charim, Dorit Margreiter and Felicitas Thun-Hohenstein (f. l. t. r.) / photo: Marlene Rahmann

An exhibition curated by Felicitas Thun-Hohenstein for Charim Galerie examines networks, expansions, extensions and rapprochements between body and materiality. Hence the name and theme of the exhibition: “Material Traces.”

In the “Material Traces” exhibition, curated for Charim Galerie and featuring Lynda Benglis, Carola Dertnig, Roberta Lima, Dorit Margreiter and Ingrid Wiener, among others, Felicitas Thun-Hohenstein is concerned with “intermateriality.” “It means,” Thun-Hohenstein explains, “that material is treated as an element of the visual arts on a par with concept, form and body – in the ‘waywardness’ in which it acts and reacts in itself and in relation to mediality, technical transfer and physical gestures.” The works uncover “an archeology of media and materials,” identifying “artistic procedures and temporal processes in interaction with the materials used.”

“I gave the curator a completely free hand,” says Miryam Charim. “Not all the artists in the show are associated with my gallery. ‘Material Traces’ also incorporates contextual, conceptual and aesthetic experiences that I could not produce on my own.” Dertnig, for example, presents a multi-layered work in which she uses film strips with textile replications by Ernst Schmidt Jr to “create a dialog between materiality and mediality.” Lima is preparing an interactive space installation and a performance that will flow out into Schleifmühlgasse. And Margreiter says about her time exposures: “Objects, maybe props for a film or items left over from a performance, are placed on paper for at least two months. Technically a typical photographic process, but with sunlight as its ‘chemical.’ The objects become abstract because they cannot be mapped in two dimensions but take on a different materiality through light and shade.”

“The immaterial character of light,” adds Thun-Hohenstein, “becomes the producer or co-performer of the artist. Art now uses technology as an instrument, source and archive. The exhibition is about networks, expansions, extensions and rapprochements between body and materiality.” In a “Track Focus” designed by Julian Göthe, the curator refers to Donna Haraway and Karen Barad in pursuing a discourse that also determined the “Pro(s)thesis” exhibition curated by Thun-Hohenstein last March at the Academy of Fine Arts along with Berenice Pahl. “We approach one another not as blank entities, but always in an interaction between objects, human bodies, space, time and material.”

Text by Helmut Ploebst:

Helmut Ploebst, is a Vienna-based writer – e.g. “VERSEHEN. Tanz in allen Medien” (ed. with Nicole Haitzinger, Munich 2011) –, critic of contemporary choreography/performing arts for “Der Standard” etc., publicist (CORPUSWEB.NET etc.) as well as performance-, media- and communication theorist (mostly Anton Bruckner University Linz).

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