Domestic Drama (14.12.2021–20.2.2022) – Halle für Kunst Steiermark
Larry Achiampong, Ayo Akingbade, Aram Bartholl, Camille Blatrix, Oscar Enberg, Vera Frenkel, Nigel Gavus & İlkin Beste Çırak, Antony Gormley, Mona Hatoum, Kaarel Kurismaa, Nicola L., Bertrand Lavier, Olu Ogunnaike, Laura Põld, Bruno Zhu
„All objects which surround us have souls of their own, have human qualities because they only exist in a human world. There are really not objects which man perceive. There are no raw inhuman objects. The moment furniture, houses, bread, cars, bicycles, or other products appear in our life, they are related to us, they are human.“
The architecture and the exhibition galleries of HALLE FÜR KUNST thus receive a theatrical “makeover.” The Portuguese artist Bruno Zhu (born 1991 in Porto, lives in Amsterdam and Viseu) develops a site-specific exhibition architecture in dialogue with the exhibited works. Beginning with his technological expertise in the fields of fashion and interior design, Zhu makes objects that also embody the tension between the “habitual” and the culturally unknown. His hybridized objects take up a permanently tense relationship to their environments, critically addressing the mechanisms of symbolic representation.
Alongside this large-scale installation, the artists Olu Ogunnaike and Camille Blatrix, and the artist duo Nigel Gavus & İlkin Beste Çırak will also present new works commissioned for the exhibition. The practice of Olu Ogunnaike (born 1986 in London, lives in London) comprises the production of sculptures, objects, prints, installations, and performances. The starting point for his work is the material of wood, which forms the core of his artistic idioms, permitting reflection on themes that are hard to grasp — such as origin, identity, work, and the global circulation of people and goods. In Domestic Drama the artist presents a dining table, made of various local indigenous woods in collaboration with a Graz carpenter. The table top includes an insert made of a special piece of wood that bears the image of a dining table with no particular defining features — the kind that might be found all over the world.
French artist Camille Blatrix (born 1984 in Paris, lives in Paris) creates elegant machine-like objects in a combination of industrially and hand-made parts. For this exhibition, he develops a mobile and transparent object that is somewhere between chest of drawers and chair. This functional furniture provides the museum personnel the opportunity to store their personal belongings. By including the staff who go about their everyday work the artists also sheds light on HALLE FÜR KUNST Steiermark as a place of work with emotional meaning — behind its otherwise official functions.
The artist duo Nigel Gavus & İlkin Beste Çırak (born 1992 in Graz, lives in Vienna and Graz; born 1994 in Izmir, lives in Vienna) was invited to participate within the scope of Panther Residency, a program initiated by HALLE FÜR KUNST Steiermark to promote artists from the region. For Domestic Drama the artists made It’s on a day like this… (2021), a digitalized 16-mm film that portrays a young woman spending her days sleeping in order to get free of reality. She creates her own realm of unreality by taking an interest in the things and objects around her. This film essay addresses the feeling of inner isolation and asserts the picture of a sad, lonely, and passive rebellion against the lack of perspective in the protagonist’s world.
With the intentionally “theatrical” appearance of the artistic works, and the cross-genre enactment of a living space, Domestic Drama wishes to invite visitors to participate physically. In a further step, the exhibition recognizes emotional states as key factors in our behavior and actions, which has now long been controlled not by ourselves as autonomous subjects but by the objects and processes that surround us. The poetic and also subversive and critical narrative that is spun in Domestic Drama thus attempts to focus our attention on the complexity of the questions and mechanisms of our everyday lives.
Curated by Cathrin Meyer