Reanimation by means of art
Contemporary photography at the former Anker bread factory and a gallery with an artist’s studio in the abandoned shop spaces of the Servitenviertel neighbourhood – recently quite a bit has been happening in Vienna’s gallery scene.
Peter Coeln is certainly a name that has been familiar to friends of photography for a long time. Eleven years ago the photography aficionado and camera collector opened the Galerie WestLicht in Vienna’s seventh district. Since then he has been filling a gap in the local exhibition scene with exciting exhibitions. In early June OstLicht followed – a gallery in the former Anker bread factory located in the tenth district.
As opposed to WestLicht – where the World Press Photo show also takes place every year – OstLicht will focus entirely on positions of contemporary artistic photography. This includes works by Jürgen Teller as well as Wim Wenders. As Coeln underscores, negotiations with the latter are already in the final stage. A group exhibition on the theme of industry is also being considered – a theme that, as can be expected, is related, considering the fact that the complex – which since 2009 has also housed the Galerie Hilger with the Brot Kunsthalle and the Designstudio lichterloh – was one of Europe’s largest bread factories. The theme of the opening exhibition could also be related to this theme, even if the idea of the show referred less to the night-time baking of bread than to the future director of the gallery, Verena Kaspar-Eisert, who as the mother of a newborn child has had her share of night shifts. Yet whatever ultimately motivated this opening exhibition, the result is certainly worth seeing.
Nocturnal impressions18 international artists have dealt with the dark side of day in different ways. While Tyrolean born artist Gregor Sailer used a camera obscura he built himself and fastened to his body to document his movements in the nocturnal urban space, Katrina Daschner who is from Hamburg and now lives in Vienna addressed the issue of sexual abuse in her mattress pictures.
Polish artist Borjana Ventzislavovbya also follows the tracks of sexual abuse when she combines her shots of dimmed spaces in nightclubs, bars and brothels with statements women who have been abducted have written on the wall. In Reiner Riederl’s pictures the viewer is presented with impressions of a St. Petersburg disco, while Michael Höpfner focused on his explorations on the rural periphery of the city.
The result is a successful exhibition which in spite – or perhaps because – of the fact that is taking place a bit off the beaten track is certainly worth visiting. For photography aficionados the gallery also offers a library with 20,000 books to which one could devote days and days instead of nights. And if one has become inseparably attached to one or the other pictures exhibited in the gallery, it is also possible to purchase a work.
Artistic foray through the Servitenviertel neighbourhoodThe owners of the newly opened gallery “Viertelneun” in the Servitenviertel neighbourhood are also hoping for buyers with full wallets. The gallery, initiated by entrepreneur Andreas Niedersüss and run by art expert Raimund Deininger, includes nine studios that are conceived as an expanded exhibition space. The work by the nine artists affiliated with the gallery – including Monika Piorkowska, Martin Grandits and Alex Kiessling – is still on view until 25 August but to visit the studios one has to call ahead to make an appointment.
The model for this gallery situation is the Parisian St. Germain arts district. Whether this strategy proves successful in Vienna remains to be seen.
OstLicht. Galerie für Fotografie
5 June to 29 September 2012
Opening hours of the gallery: Wed-Sat 12.00 to 18.00
Opening hours of the library: Wed-Fri 12.00 to18.00
Tel.: +43 1 996 20 66
Viertelneun. Gallery und Ateliers
Opening exhibition "Neun"
6 June to 25 August 2012
Opening hours: Tues-Fri 11:00 to 18:00, Thurs 11:00 to 20:00, Sat 11:00 to 16:00