SIMON WACHSMUTH. Monuments. Documents. 21er Haus 26 September to 17 January 2016

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1 SIMON WACHSMUTH Monuments. Documents. 21er Haus 26 September to 17 January 2016 Simon Wachsmuth, Alexanderschlacht, x560 cm Eisenblech, lackiert Bildrecht, Wien, 2015 Foto: Nils Klinger

2 SIMON WACHSMUTH Monuments. Documents. The 21er Haus has seized its acquisition of the installation Where we were then, where we are now (2007), which Simon Wachsmuth conceived for the Documenta 12, as an opportunity to host a solo exhibition of work by the artist that centers around monuments and documents and the associated discourse. It takes us into the ancient Persian capital of Persepolis in the pre-christian era and to contemporary Iran, to Korean dolmens from the Neolithic Age and to present-day paddy fields and archeological museums, into the experimental visual memory of the art historian Aby Warburg, and into modern Hellas iconology in short: to real and imagined places where the self searches for reassurance, identity is created, and history is brushed with and above all against the grain. Entirely in line with the objectives of the 21er Haus, this concentrated monographic show by Simon Wachsmuth illustrates the interconnection between collecting and exhibiting. I am delighted that this central installation by the artist now part of our collection can be shown here in the context of other works for the first time, says Agnes Husslein-Arco, Director of the Belvedere and the 21er Haus, of the exhibition. It makes it possible to understand Simon Wachsmuth s artistic approach, which traces the cultural negotiation and appropriation of historical remains over time and connects them to contemporary images. The title of the exhibition, Monuments. Documents., refers to material, conservational carriers, which serve to bring the past the in fact irretrievably lost into the present. At least a promise to this effect is inscribed on them. As such, they become integral components of individual and collective memory. After all, memory subsists on the way we visualize the past, on the rituals that we develop around it, and on the places where it seemingly materializes. Memorials are one such place, as are sites of archaeological excavations and not least museums. Simon Wachsmuth is interested in these materializations of memory: he is concerned with cultural (re-)constructions of history and questions the relationship between material traces, representations in museums, and forms of their use in the present, explains Curator Luisa Ziaja. The multipart installation Where we were then, where we are now (2007) has its point of departure in Persepolis, the former royal city of the Archaemenid Empire in modernday Iran, which was destroyed by the forces of Alexander the Great in 330 BCE. Around his interpretation of the Alexander Mosaic from Pompeii, which takes the form of a mosaic of magnets, Wachsmuth concocts a multilayered system of reference for past and present projections of Iran, the relationship between East and West, and processes of interpreting, appropriating, and abstracting history. On five fabric-covered panels, the artist presents arrangements of archive materials, photographs, newspaper clippings, reproductions, and hand-painted pages on Goethe s color theory, which evocatively establish new and ever different connections between past and present, image and context, but which always resist a conclusive reading. Instead, they are an expression of the complexity and polyphony of historiography and furthermore in the style of Aby Warburg s influential Mnemosyne Atlas make it possible to comprehend the continued existence of antique forms and signs into the present day. The famous

3 Apadana reliefs in Persepolis are the subject of a film that records the material relics in slow tracking shots, while a second film shows a group of men at the zurkhaneh, a traditional Iranian physical exercise that originated in clandestine military combat training, but which has been enhanced with spiritual rituals over the centuries. Depicted in several images and prominent in the central mosaic lances appear in the space in the form of abstract, black and white poles and here, too, illustrate the interpretation and transformation of objects, images, and cultural practices. Conceived for the Busan Biennale in 2012, the video installation As Matter Stands is dedicated in contrast to material witnesses to a time before historiography: dolmens from the Neolithic in modern-day South Korea. Wachsmuth documents his approach to these impressive, erratic stone constellations which presumably mark out burial sites through slow, observational images and expands on them with recordings of depictions in museums of archaeology and cultural history. The ideas and images ethnologists, archaeologists, and museum curators have reached and are reaching about ways to embed these sites in the everyday can be gleaned from dioramas, for example, that Wachsmuth combines with various dolmens sites developed as tourist attraction as well as others lying unnoticed in paddy fields or woods. Finally, the installation Skepsis [Skepticism] marks the beginning of a new piece of work by the artist, which addresses the historical and contemporary iconology of Hellenism on the basis of the considerable picture library of the Art History department at the Freie Universität Berlin. Conceived for the close-up view, the arrangement comprises partly annotated photographs from diverse periods, reproductions of images, and isolated current headlines, and challenges us to doubt and to look closely at the work in accordance with the Greek-derived term of the title. According to the artist in this day and age, when there is an explosion of simplifying and polarizing images of a crisis-ridden Greece, skepticism seems to be more than appropriate. A pdf of the exhibition brochure is available for download under (Password: pr2015)

4 ARTIST BIOGRAPHY Simon Wachsmuth Simon Wachsmuth, born in Hamburg in 1964, lives and works in Berlin and Vienna. He studied painting under Carl Unger and visual media design under Peter Weibel at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. In 1989 he won the Prix Ars Electronica award in the Computer Animation category; in 2003 he was awarded the Otto Mauer Prize. His works have been on show in numerous group and solo exhibitions, most recently at the Musée de Valence and Salzburg Museum (2014), at the Busan Biennale (2012), Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid, and ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe (2012), Galerie im Taxispalais Innsbruck (2010, 11), as well as at the Istanbul Biennale (2009), and the Documenta 12 in Kassel (2007), among others. After visiting professorships at the University of Applied Arts Vienna and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (AVU), Wachsmuth currently teaches at the Bauhaus-Universität in Weimar. Exhibitions (Selection) 2015 Analogon, Musee de Valence and art3, Valence Trading Places, L40, Berlin 2014 Archäologie?! Spurensuche in der Zeitgenössischen Kunst, Salzburg Museum 2013 Signatures, Galerie Cora Hölzl, Düsseldorf Einszehn, Zweizehn, Dreizehn, Kunstverein Friedrichshafen und Zeppelin Museum, Friedrichshafen 2012 Lieber Aby Warburg, was tun mit Bildern?, Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen Garden of Learning, Busan-Biennale, South Korea Economy: Picasso, Musee Picasso, Barcelona 2011 Atlas, Or how to carry the World on One s Shoulders?, Museu Reina Sophia, Madrid, ZKM, Karlsruhe und Sammlung Falckenberg, Hamburg 2010 To the Arts, Citizens!, Museo Serralves, Porto Seven little Mistakes, Museo Marino Marini, Florenz Squatting, Temporäre Kunsthalle, Berlin Tanzimat, Augarten Contemporary, Wien 2009 What Keeps Mankind Alive, 11. Istanbul-Biennale, Istanbul Die Ruhe ist ein spezieller Fall der Bewegung, Kunstmuseum Vaduz, Liechtenstein Reduction & Suspense, Magazin 4, Bregenz 2008 Mnemosyne, Steinle Contemporary, München Eight minutes, Galerie Hohenlohe, Wien

5 Demonstration IV, Galerie Cora Hölzl, Düsseldorf Brno Art Open, Öffentlicher Raum, Haus der Kunst, Brno Diskurs im Grünen, Kunstverein Springhornhof, Neuenkirchen 2007 a way of considering two things together, Physicsroom, Christchurch, Neuseeland Documenta 12, Fridericianum, Kassel 2006 Soleil Noir, Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg the things that I once saw I now can see no more, Kunstraum Dornbirn, Dornbirn Gegenstände / Handlungsformen, Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe Interpretationsresistenz, Projektraum/Kunstraum Innsbruck Liminal Spaces, Galerie fu r Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig Ein gemeinsamer Ort, Lentos Kunstmuseum, Linz Jutta Strohmaier, Simon Wachsmuth, Galerie Hohenlohe, Wien Die Postmediale Kondition, Neue Galerie Graz, Graz 2005 Demonstration, Galerie Stadtpark, Krems Kritische Gesellschaften (Critical Societies), Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe The Government, Be what you want but stay where you are, Witte de With, Rotterdam Of Dots & Ducks, Galerie Cora Hölzl, Düsseldorf Be what you want but stay where you are, Witte de With, Rotterdam Videós Viennoises, Betonsalon, Paris 2004 Die Regierung: How do we want to be governed, Miami Art Central, Miami Handlungen, die Handlungen setzen, Kunstraum der Universität Lüneburg Of Copying, Gallery Hohenlohe und Kalb, Wien 2003 Formen der Organisation, Galerie der Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst, Leipzig, Kunstraum der Universität Lüneburg Earl Grey, Galerie Cora Hölzl, Düsseldorf Awards 2003 Otto-Mauer-Award 1989 Prix Ars-Electronica, Award for computer animation

6 GENERAL INFORMATION Title Simon Wachsmuth Monuments. Documents. Duration 26 September 2015 to 17 Jänner 2016 Venue Arist Curator Contact Opening hours Regular entry Press 21er Haus Simon Wachsmuth Luisa Ziaja 21er Haus, Schweizergarten Arsenalstraße 1, 1030 Vienna T +43 (01) Wednesday and Thursday from 11 am t 9 pm Friday to Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm Open on public holidays 7,- (21er Haus) 21,- (21er Haus annual ticket) 21er Haus Press Arsenalstraße 1, 1030 Vienna T Images are available for download for press purposes under the following link: (Password: pr2015).

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