Kristina Leko

05 May - 25 Jun 2006

May 5 – June 25, 2006

In her reinterpretation of an “art salon“ of the late 19th century Kristina Leko presents paintings and furniture from private art collections together with pieces created by unemployed people, who participated in a painting course she taught. The work of the Croatian multimedia and concept artist is characterized by the common use of cultural resources to facilitate interaction between different social groups.

Different people were invited to participate in her “social experiment with ethical and aesthetic consequences“ (Leko), including members of the Friends of the Secession and participants of the Volkshilfe Beschäftigung (People’s Aid Organization Employment).

Together with the Volkshilfe Beschäftigung Kristina Leko organized a two-week workshop on portrait drawing in Vienna in March 2006. As an artist her goal was to support each participant in producing an artwork. Leko’s initiative is a further development of a project she did in Halle with the title Jede/r Mensch ist entweder eine Künstlerin oder ein Künstler, Beweis Nr. 3, 2005 (Everyone is An Artist, Proof No. 3, 2005). She also organized workshops in which the participants created large-format portraits. Leko refers to the demands made by artists such Joseph Beuys since the 1960s for a broad participation in cultural processes, exploring the social role of art. Leko sees art as a possible form of social commitment, as an instrument that can be used to help marginalized groups make their situation visible.

Was soll ich tun? (What should I do?) The motif of the poster for the exhibition are the Zwölf Grundregeln einer Ethik für Künstler/innen (Twelve Basic Rules of an Ethic for Artists) developed by Kristina Leko, in which she also calls for cultural democracy and unlimited use of sites for public events. Leko goes on to address the social potential of art which is capable of “bringing about a change in relations and perception.“ Here Leko is just as interested in the process as in the product. In Beweis Nr. 4 (Proof No.4) Leko explores the quality of the experiences of the persons involved, the interplay of the participants, the convergence of different view and values, all of which contribute to the canons of art.

In the Grafisches Kabinett Leko revived the idea of the salon where different individuals came together at the end of the 19th century. Together with members of the Friends of the Secession the artist explored selected pieces and furniture and artworks provided by lenders. Following up on this, the visitors of the exhibition are now invited to explore the installation which combines amateur art and pieces of art in the Secession. Here the question to be answered is whether Beweis Nr. 4 (Proof No. 4) is valid, that is to say whether each person is really an artist.

A catalogue with texts by the artist and an essay by Barbara Steiner will accompany the exhibition.

KRISTINA LEKO, born 1966, lives and works in Zagreb and Cologne. EXHIBITIONS / PROJECTS (selection): 2005 Amerika, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb; Piac Project, Ernst Museum Budapest; Shrinking Cities, Galerie für zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig; Politics of Care, Cuny Graduate Center’s Art Gallery, New York; Machtfaktor Wirtschaft, Fotogalerie, Vienna; 2004 Constitutional Overhaul Bureau, Projekt im öffentlichen Raum, Weimar; New Video. New Europe, The Renaissance Society, Chicago; Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis; Cosmopolis Biennial of Contemporary Art, Thesaloniki; Trading Places, Pumphouse Gallery, London; Noch einen Wunsch, Galerie für zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig; 2003 On Milk and People, ICA, Dunaujvaros; Breaking Away, P.S.1. - MoMA, New York; Balkan Visions, Galleria Museo Arge Kunst, Bozen; Austrian Triennial on Photography, Graz; 2002 Misfits, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin; In Search of Balkania, Neue Galerie Graz; Here Tomorrow, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb; 2001 Gekauft in Graz, Rotor, Graz; What, How and for Whom?, Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna; 2000 Mes Objects Trouvés, Josip Racic Studio of the Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb; 1998 Blind Date, Skuc Gallery, Ljubljana.

Tags: Joseph Beuys, A.L. Steiner, Barbara Steiner