Waiting for the Ice Age --
Christian Flamm, Sergej Jensen, Katarzyna Jozefowicz, Helen Mirra, Florian Morlat, Elisabeth Penker, Markus Schinwald, Katja Strunz, Gabi Trinkaus, Torbjörn Vejvi, Barbara Visse
Georg Kargl has been regularly inviting external curators to organize exhibitions on controversial and current discourses in contemporary art. Waiting for the Ice Age, conceived by curator and gallerist Michael Hall, was a concise and articulate estimation of the expectations and disappointments ensuing from the promise of global capitalism.(1)
A new Ice Age is forming and what we are currently experiencing is only a long and extended waiting period for something new to happen, a cultural and historical deep-freeze. This chill in the political/cultural atmosphere is in part due to the fact that no real progress or direction is happening in the western world. Since the promise of the early 1990’s, global capitalism has lost its luster and now democracy and social critique has been abandoned for profit share. Presently, we are located in-between transition and stagnation, where history gives rise to complex connections in-between the present which is fluid, and the past which is forever frozen in time.
By addressing this current cycle of art production, which is not stylistically definable and which falls outside the more familiar discourses of post-conceptualism and/or post-feminism, the selected artists have chosen to re-investigate handwork and intuitive craftsmanship, by reworking their own relationship to history, and through the construction of micro-narratives which create more personal and poignant stories. Through the cutting, sewing and gluing together and the set-up and display of various mundane objects and materials, the artists successfully resist being classified by their gender, nationality and/or class.
Waiting for the Ice Age attempts to locate this current feeling of malaise and the potential of adapting historical strategies of art-making, by linking these disparate works together. The selected works along with the curatorial approach operate in this form of complex passivity to history. Neither the artists (nor the curator) are nostalgic for the past, but are interested in a time when materials and formal procedures were still potentially radical and when being modern was truly modern. By echoing a particular time or place, the work is not simply functioning as sentimentality within the work, but functioning as the feeling and quality of the work, which is developed through their acute interest and fascination in the tactile.
(1) Editor’s note
Michael Hall, Waiting for the Ice Age, Vienna 2002