May 10, 2009 “Seven positions”
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10th of May – 31st of August 2009
Carbon 12 is proud to present the top notch emerging artists of today’s vibrant post-globalized avant-garde scene. Carefully selected by the people behind Carbon 12 during the last two years, Florian Hafele, Mathias Garnitschnig, Farzan Sadjadi, Omid Massoumi, Philip Mueller, Alessa Esteban and Bernhard Garnicnig, are beyond convincing with their vision and talent.
In order to understand the currents of art, it is important to understand its stimulus, the roots for unleashed creative energy: Therefore the mission of this show is nothing less than to give an insight into the complex body of work and the intentions and ideas of these young artists, to feel the dynamics of their creations driven by idealistic energy and unlimited enthusiasm, to understand their artistic positions and personal statements. “Seven Positions” presents vibrant, young and courageous artists and their works, demanding to eye and mind alike: an exciting mix of attitudes and styles that crosses borders and genres.
The turn of the millennium, the end of the 20th century, marked a turning point not only in the threadbare discourse of modernism/postmodernism, but also as a new start, a tabula rasa for a generation of artists that grew up with the immediacy of a society structured by media technology. With the subtle experience of the paradigms of modernity, slowly but surely, fading out, influencing their hearts and minds alike. In the age of sampling and détournement, cultural activism and hacktivism, the self-chosen boundaries and limitations of a canvas or a socket present a big challenge. The sisyphean task of maintaining the dialogue between medium and artist is summarized in the fragility of an oeuvre. The mission of this exhibition and its accompanying text is to provide an insight into the body of work and the artistic intentions of these young artists; to feel the vibrancy of their work driven by idealistic energy and unlimited enthusiasm. “Seven Positions” presents vibrant, young and courageous artists that are demanding to the eye and mind alike. It is an exciting mix of attitudes and styles.
In the field of sculpture we have Mathias Garnitschnig and Florian Hafelet. At first glance the are diametrically opposed in terms of material and form, but upon a closer look meet exactly again at the point where sculptures work as objects creating a genuine feeling of materiality and elude from our predetermined ideas of perception. In the case of Garnitschnig, his perfectionist approach to shape and the skillful handling of texture gives us the chance to witness an artistic process that redefines the dialectics of creative impetus and artistic idea. With the inseparable qualities of a craftsman and artist, Mathias Garnitschnig makes the sculpture itself the very reason for its own aesthetic vibrancy. Ideas and concepts clearly stem from a genuine attraction to the qualities of material and form resulting in a bold statement about the functionality of sculpture in general.
Florian Hafele’s central topic is the observation of the body and its social environment. His sculptural language focuses on the aspect of performance which, when changing perspective, leads to a multitude of alternative views, interpretations and concluding questions. Consequently this enables the observer to continuously re-discover the qualities of sculpture, opening divergent ways of reading its context.
The field of painting can be divided into two distinct parts: One on side there is Omid Massoumi and Farzan Sadjadi, two painters of the young generation living in Tehran. Although very different in style and tone, their subjects share a common interest in the fundamental topics of life and its manifestations in various forms. Massoumi’s interest in psychology becomes visible in his figurative style with attention to detail and gesture, as well as his choice of colour and a healthy dose of humour and irony. The surreal qualities of his paintings and the bright, optimistic view on humanity itself is relieving and elevating at the same time. Sadjadi’s approach on the other hand is totally different: vast, dark, virtually no signs of civilization – an apocalyptic vision of a deserted landscape, small traces of human life scattered across the canvas. Their diametrically opposed approaches in terms of style and technique show the great tension and creative talent as well as the multiple arrays of possibilities embracing this young generation.
On the other side there is Alessa Esteban and Phillip Mueller, both currently living and working in Vienna, Austria. Their subjects of concern are clearly located in the human psyche, a sometimes disturbing but necessary venture into the back-alleys of the soul and mind, a complex task of semantic deconstruction and metaphorical envision. The paintings of the Mexican-born Esteban accomplish a translation from a pathological state into a graphic language. At the same time they are nothing less than a very personal way of introspective self-reflection. Her scenarios look sweet and beautiful at first glance, but they unravel damaged and crooked meanings upon closer inspection. A stark contrast unfolds between the sweetness of the line and the perversion of innocence. Phillip Mueller’s modus operandi on the other hand bridges the distance between the archaic and the visionary. His subjects are sprinkled with a fair share of irony and a hint of sarcasm, a playful but serious look inward: the collision of contradiction and concession, resulting in shockingly direct revelations.
It’s not a coincidence that Bernhard Garnicnig is the last one mentioned: his post-conceptual approach to the paradigms of digital media art redefine the role of the artist on a meta-level. His conceptual objects and abstract photography reflect a deep understanding of the various modes and functionalities of art: Timeless remarks on the aesthetics of perception or keen comments on today’s art-society? If art can be seen as a momentary subject-object relationship, Garnicnig’s artworks clearly have the function of initiating such a moment. Situated right on the borderline between perceived object and perceiving subject, they do not aim for a synthesis of different ideas into a single representation, but the articulation of the difference, therefore making a difference. His work doesn’t give answers, but asks questions, revealing the inherent beauty of the aesthetic discourse.
The aim of these small introductory texts was not the presentation of an already finished, analytical interpretation. This wouldn’t do justice to the unleashed creativity of these young talents, this wouldn’t do justice to the underlying concept of “Seven Positions”. The artist with their works and the accompanying texts should give the viewer an impetus to venture further, preparing for the immersion into the narrations of excitement and wonder of the seven artistic positions presented in this exhibition. The selection of Garnitschnig and Hafele’s distinct positions in sculpture, the four intertwined scopes on the nature of painting of Massoumi, Sadjadi, Esteban and Mueller, and last but not least the conceptual direction of Garnicnig wants to mark a juncture, a turning point: a conscious neglect of paths well-known, an admittance to this last adventure called avant-guard.
Text by Albert Allgaier