Künstlerhaus, Halle für Kunst & Medien

Flora Neuwirth

12 Dec 2015 - 21 Jan 2016

Flora Neuwirth
archive "clubblumen", 2009
photo: Flora Neuwirth
12 December 2015 — 21 January 2016

The multifaceted artistic practice of the artist Flora Neuwirth (born 1971 in Graz, lives in Vienna) is composed of investigations, citations, and adaptions of structures and phenomena from the spheres of design, architecture, art, and everyday culture. The artist takes a context-oriented approach, starting with appropriations of what are usually already existing components and objects. Neuwirth found inspiration for her reflections and interventions in the solo exhibition “clubblumen” in the displays and interior decoration of the eponymous space for contemporary art, music, food, drink, and communication, which the artist ran in Vienna from 2008 to 2011. Borrowing from Gordon Matta-Clark’s reality-transformative art and restaurant project “Food” of 1971 in New York’s Soho district, Neuwirth made her mark with a former flower shop, dubbed “clubblumen – eine Utopie im öffentlichen Raum,” which garnered attention as an expanded sculpture, a social site and meeting place in the 5th District of Vienna.

While the on-site objects found at Wiener Johannagasse 42 previously had clearly designated functions—ensuring the cooking, informational, and discussion activity in the ideational space and supporting this model—the artist is now showing, at the Künstlerhaus, Halle für Kunst & Medien, these objects liberated from precisely their original capacities. She thus transfers into the analytical realm the achievements of a project that was situatively designed to depart from the classic exhibition space. The vital question remains as to what extent it is even possible to expressly navigate a historicisation of the project at a different site through spatial restaging in a room explicitly dedicated to exhibitions, or as to whether the unique nature of the project can remain modifiable without evoking nostalgia at the same time, or as to which particles and ephemera function as carriers of the total work of art “clubblumen,” beyond an inventory-taking and documentation of the same. Three piled book objects integrated into the exhibition setting, enhancing the documentary character, continue these mental games which elude fixed ascriptions. First, the catalogue publication is replaced by “Lass uns eine Bande von Scharlatanen spielen,” which is the transcription of a round of Mau Mau (a card game popular in Europe) typically played at “clubblumen” and now retrospectively staged for the exhibition. Second, the adaption of “An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris” by the French writer and film-maker Georges Perec, tailored to the local colour of the immediate environment surrounding “clubblumen.” Third, a collection of recipes prepared at “clubblumen” that has survived several translation processes and is thus enriched by surreal contortions of meaning.

The artist succeeds in using small shifts and irritations to create a new production that integrates inventory elements from the bygone “clubblumen”. Yet this production also sketches—especially by invoking countless extras and adapted details that gave the space the flavour of a socially functioning site, especially during the period it was open—one of many possible portraits as a sculpture exhibition primarily showing solo works by the artist from the year 2015.

Exhibitions (Selection)
Kunstraum Kluckyland, Vienna (2015, solo)
Flirting with Starangers: Begegnungen mit Werken aus der Sammlung, 21er Haus, Vienna (2015)
Kunstverein Recklinghausen (2014)
Ve.sch – Verein für Raum und Form in der bildenden Kunst, Vienna (2013)
Moderne: Selbstmord oder Kunst?, Neue Galerie Graz, Universalmuseum Joanneum (2011)
originalfunktional, Wiener Artfoundation, Vienna (2010)
en face/surface, Galerie Grita Insam (2008)
Images, Forde – Espace d’art contemporain, Geneva (2008)
New Talents, Art Cologne, Cologne (2006, solo)
No Headline Yet, Salon Iris/Artbits Galerie&Edition, Vienna (2006, solo)

Tags: Gordon Matta-Clark, Flora Neuwirth