As much as will fit in

Blickle Raum on Spiegelgasse, Vienna

Claudia Slanar, Carola Dertnig and Ursula Blickle (f. l. t. r.) / photo: Marlene Rahmann

The Ursula Blickle Foundation turned 25 last year. Its initiator, Ursula Blickle, has supported contemporary artists and curators since 1991. The foundation is located in a renovated oil mill in Kraichtal in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, where 95 exhibitions, numerous art books and catalogs have been realized. The Ursula Blickle Video Archive, founded in 2007 at Vienna’s Belvedere, is one of the most important archives for video art in the German-speaking area. The founder decided that the Blickle Raum Spiegelgasse should place a focus on performative artistic formats as of spring 2017. Ursula Blickle, Carola Dertnig, Claudia Slanar and Claudia Bauer spoke about their plans for the Blickle Raum.

Between 2014 and 2016, artist Roman Pfeffer and Gabriele Rothemann, artist and professor of photography at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, were both given the opportunity to use the Blickle Raum on the top floor of Otto Wagner’s Anker building for over a year. They designed and realized numerous exhibitions and projects in dialogue with works of other artists, establishing an open space for discourse and exhibitions in an environment suited to experimentation.

Claudia Bauer reckons that the size and location of the space allow for a certain openness. Ursula Blickle couldn’t agree more: “The space is more suitable for performances than for conventional exhibitions. Gabriele Rothemann’s last salon with carpets and music worked very well here. I wanted to see more of this type of thing, where different art forms overlap.”
In 2017, Ursula opened Blickle Raum Spiegelgasse to others, in particular to three women: Claudia Slanar manages the Ursula Blickle Video Archive in the Belvedere and has curated exhibitions such as “Dance It” at the Blickle Foundation in Germany; Carola Dertnig, artist and professor of performance art at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna; and Claudia Bauer, who has been associated with the foundation’s organization and communication since the Ursula Blickle Video Archive opened at Kunsthalle Wien in 2007.

In 2017, the Blickle Raum provides a home for performative investigations integrating dance, architecture and sound. Claudia Slanar on the idea behind this focus: “It’s about examining the triggers of everyday actions, conditioned behavior and distinctive movements, and about exploring them in their interdependency with spatial components. The space is provided to artists and the public as an essential element and is then returned as it was taken over: a white box with several openings.”
Six events and cooperative ventures are planned for 2017. The series started in April with the performance “Never Name the Shelf,” in which Sööt/Zeyringer examined the idea of work that resists the urge to deliver concrete results. In June, Seth Weiner focused on a singing technique that relies on particular spatial conditions: yodeling. This performance, “CHESTHEAD,” was developed especially for the Blickle Raum, with the space and visitors becoming musical instruments. In August, the space housed an event in the context of the VISUAL ARTS X DANCE series by ImPulsTanz, and in September the video installation “Richard Hoeck / Heimo Zobernig, 2017,” whose protagonists have both featured at the Ursula Blickle Foundation on several occasions. In October, visual artist Alfredo Barsuglia presented a participatory performance. As part of VIENNA ART WEEK, visitors will be able to see a performative arrangement by Lisa Kortschak on Friday, 17 November. Her performances and concerts, often strictly choreographed, are complemented with video and audio recordings, which always form an integral part of the setting.

Carola Dertnig is planning a “performance film shooting” with the working title “MY MOTHER MYSELF,” “a cinematic and historical portrayal of a piece of contemporary history based on a photo from the era of Hundertwasser’s studio on Spiegelgasse and the Café Vanilla scene in 1970s Vienna.” This is where the biographies of the artist and the Vienna-born founder Ursula Blickle collide.

“We noticed that both the public and artists need a small space where they can observe and listen mindfully, and where the setting encourages people to get involved,” say Carola Dertnig and Claudia Slanar.
“And of course we hope that this format will continue to exist in the future!”

Text by Claudia Bauer:

Claudia Bauer has, for the past 20 years, been responsible for the art and culture communication at Kunsthalle Wien, Belvedere / 21er Haus and, lately, at the Academy of Fine Arts’ collections. She joined the Ursula Blickle Foundation in 2007.

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