on group show at Ventilazione

Ventilazione in the 9th district presents a group show of all but one of the space’s members.  Managed something akin to a club, each of the seven artists may hold a solo exhibition and participate in the group programs throughout the year.  Presently it is one of the latter, a diverse mix.

In Josef Zekoff’s work, characters from the Western cinema genre are appropriated portraying dual cores of good and bad.  Ironically, Zekoff constructs a pastiche of youthful infatuation with discerning and tactful self-awareness.  One portrait, painted with oils, a broad brush, and dark hues focusing on a set of eyes and a bandana covered face.  Keeping true to the morality tales, the painted strokes and the composition doubly mark a border defining what is civilized and what is not.  In collage, the combination of deco interior wall paint chips, romantic pale brush marks, and copied movie stills concurrently mark the edge between a delight in a lust for the Wild West and an easy dismissal of this same sentiment.

Subsequent to the book collaboration involving Zekoff and Niko Sturm, a series of heliographic reproductions of photographs hang in thick steel and wood wrought frames.  The photographed images are of the artists, casual in black suits, standing in country pastures with unconcerned white long-horned oxen.  Zekoff and Sturm employ the revered black and white technique of production to heighten the luminance of the images and to underline the tension in the works.  Theirs is a strange working space, based on exposing ego, bond, conquest and fear, in masculinity and in nature.

Other than the collaboration, Sturm shows one painting.  This large piece is indicative of a heroic approach to working on canvas.  Composed of harsh physical movements in paint and paper and applications of metal, the painting manages to depict balance and lightness.  This scarce blend reaches an agreement connecting force with beauty.  Born out of a kind of painting celebrated in the 1950s Sturm fashions his challenge into an easy current pleasure.

With photography Ivo Kocherscheidt portrays defeat and decay and yet for some species, renewal.  Shot in an unfamiliar deep ocean world, the photographs detail a landscape where the implication of a horizon is confused to the point of release.  What is clear in the pictures of this alien environment is the absence of a living human presence, but of a presence of the wreckage of human endeavor.  Rotting ship vessels that have by some means landed on the ocean floor render a cold silence.  Incredibly photographed far beneath the level of standard water exploration, these pictures narrate the end story of some potentially catastrophic end.

Likewise Max Piva uses photography to draw lines in graceful haunting forms and cityscapes.  The conceptual drawings of Florian Unterberger examine the rhythm of the everyday.  Oliver Marceta’s painting of a boxer and an assemblage sculpture effectively augment this compelling exhibition.

Ventilazione, Wasagasse/ EckeHörlgasse, 1090 Vienna

6.5.2010 – 31.5.2010

– Ezara Spangl

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