Opening and catalogue presentation: Monday, 18 June at 7 p.m.
Introductory talk: Christina Natlacen
Workshop talk with Robert Zahornicky: Thursday, 19 July at 7 p.m.
WERKSCHAU XVII is the continuation of the annual series of exhibitions in the FOTOGALERIE WIEN which has been going on for the last seventeen years. They present contemporary artists who have significantly contributed to the development of art photography and the new media in Austria. To date there has been a cross section of work by Jana Wisniewski, Manfred Willmann, VALIE EXPORT, Leo Kandl, Elfriede Mejchar, Heinz Cibulka, Renate Bertlmann, Josef Wais, Horáková + Maurer, Gottfried Bechtold, Friedl Kubelka, Branko Lenart, INTAKT – Die Pionierinnen (Renate Bertlmann, Moucle Blackout, Linda Christanell, Lotte Hendrich-Hassmann, Karin Mack, Margot Pilz, Jana Wisniewski), Inge Dick, Lisl Ponger and Hans Kupelwieser.
For this year’s Werkschau FOTOGALERIE WIEN has been able to win over Robert Zahornicky. The involvement with the subjects of “intervening in reality” or “playing with perception and reality” run through this retrospective of the artist’s work like a guiding thread. A catalogue and a Werkschau Photo Edition (No. 11) supplement the exhibition.
Robert Zahornicky was born in Vienna in 1952 and lives in Pressbaum. The WERKSCHAU covers a wide-ranging cross section of his artistic activity which began in the 1980s. Together with “experimental” Polaroids, photograms (including Polaroid photograms), aquagrams and various other photographic techniques he will also be showing sculptural works such as the Sarkophage [Sarcophagi]–compacted, shredded books and magazines – the video Communication Breakdown as well as documentation material of his early actions such as Die letzte Reise der Venus von Willendorf [The Last Journey of the Venus of Willendorf] or Carnuntum Camac. The Zeit – Spuren [Time – Traces] series is concerned with changes in the physical photo material as well as the people depicted over a one year time period.
The thematic focus of Robert Zahornicky’s work is nature in which he takes not only an artistic interest but also a philosophical and scientific one. The basis for his photograms is formed by leaves, twigs and plants which he moves over the photo paper as they are being exposed. These movements stand for growth and change. The last work group in the Wildnis [Wilderness] series, from 2005, will be on show for the first time and consists of ferns at various stages of growth which the artist has removed from their natural surroundings and placed in front of a neutral white background. These, too, stand for the passing of time, for life’s natural cycles. The works in the Shredder series, in which Zahornicky fed all kinds of textual material into a shredder, leads on to the new Double Vision series in which newspaper and magazine pages are photographed whilst being illuminated from the back. The two sides merge to form new and irritating pictures. The question being posed here is one about the meaning and significance of photographic images and their truth. In his works Zahornicky is concerned with shifts in context and thus with the question of reality: he is a master of feints and the destabilization of habits of seeing.
Petra Noll, for the collective
Sponsored by: BMUKK; MA7-Kultur; Cyberlab; Sammlung Volpinum, Wien; NÖ-Landesmuseum; FOTORAUM, Wien