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  • Everything we see could also be otherwise (My sweet little lamb)
    20 September – 11 November 2017

    The Showroom (63 Penfold St, Marylebone, London NW8 8PQ, UK) Curated by: What, How & for Whom/WHW, in collaboration with Kathrin Rhomberg, co-curated by Emily Pethick Preview: Tuesday 19 September, 6.30–8.30pm Exhibition opening hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 12–6pm The Showroom presents the epilogue of a long-term project which took place over several months in Zagreb (November 2016 to May 2017), which contextualised and rethought the Kontakt Art Collection. It was curated by What, How & for Whom/WHW in collaboration with Kathrin Rhomberg. This final exhibition is co-curated by The Showroom Director Emily Pethick. Taking selected works from the Vienna-based Kontakt Art Collection as its point of departure, including seminal pieces by some of the most prominent artists from Central, Eastern and South-East Europe since the 1960s, the exhibition stages an interplay between these and other historical, contemporary and newly produced works that interpret and critically examine the collection. The project unfolded in six episodes in Zagreb, each iteration influencing, contradicting and reinforcing each other. It took place in a number of smaller art spaces, artists' studios, private apartments and other locations related to artistic production and the broader cultural landscape of the city. This final stage of the project at The Showroom continues to reframe and expand the context of the collection. Interlacing geographically and poetically heterogeneous artist practices, the project attempts to punctuate standardized presentations and interpretations of works that have dominated international art circuits over the last few decades, with more disorderly and experimental arrangements. The project title is taken from a work by Croatian artist Mladen Stilinović (1947–2016), to whom the project is dedicated. Stilinović's life-long anti-systemic approach, his quiet but shrewd rebellion against social conventions and the conventions of art, and an artistic practice that trenchantly and humorously engages with complex themes of ideology, work, money, pain and poverty, inspired a generation of artists worldwide. The project is a cooperation with Kontakt Art Collection and is supported by Erste Group Bank AG and ERSTE Foundation. http://www.theshowroom.org/ http://www.whw.hr/

Artists

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Christoph Mayer

For his listening piece Audiowalk Gusen, Christoph Mayer chm. pieced together documentary material in order to examine the long-repressed history of a section of the upper Austrian community of Gusen. It was only by chance that the artist, himself born in the neighboring community of St. Georgen, discovered the historical significance of this area during his youth from the person sitting next to him at a local summer festival: the story which Mayer recounts is of a large, sprawling satellite camp of Mauthausen Concentration Camp along with the armaments production facility “Bergkristall,” which was located on the premises. Mayer’s 96-minute audio impression, which includes fragments of interviews with former Gusen prisoners, perpetrators, collaborators and the present-day local populace, reveals the detailed topography of fear and terror at Gusen’s two camps that was to be successively expunged from local history and memory following the war’s conclusion.
This precisely choreographed audio tour through the terrain of the former camp is divided into 18 stations distinguished by topographic features, proceeding as follows: front courtyard with memorial and the “Jourhaus” – the Danner company, the “Left Jourhaus” with the barracks to the right + commandant’s home – Danner private road, the bordello, in front of the prisoners’ bordello, Lagerstraße – Untere Gartenstraße to Obere Gartenstraße, Block 10 (left) – Untere Gartenstraße No. 6, Block 11 (right) – Obere Gartenstraße No. 6, mustering grounds, crematorium – Obere Gartenstraße, the “Revier” [sick bay] / Block 27, dentist – Obere Gartenstraße at the intersection with Parkstraße, industrial courtyard / in-between space, Gusen II, crossing over Große Straße, rail siding track bed, bench / view into the meadowy flood plain, Bergkristall_ PROLOG, bridge for the rail siding, farm house, camp gate. Even just the matter-of-fact neutrality of these designations serves well to imply the monstrousness of both the camp and its subsequent history. In his script for the audio tour, Mayer proceeds to ask methodological and ontological questions regarding evidence, repression, bearing witness, and the Holocaust’s representation in reports by its survivors: how can the rescued speak for those who did not make it? How can they report on something which they themselves did not experience all the way to its ultimate conclusion? The voices of Gusen’s survivors, their injuries inscribed deeply into their bodies and souls, are lent suggestive power in Mayer’s theatrical yet distanced audio direction. The tour through the neighborhood, narrated in fictitious first-person form by a young woman’s voice, brings the camp to new life in the minds of visitors, even though it is extant only in rather abstract traces. Alternation between a narrative perspective and documentary interview passages gives rise both to distance and to reflected authenticity. Interviews with people from the present-day residential development and the nearby village reveal how they relate to their homes, to history’s commemoration, and to the shift in reality that takes place when one thinks back to the past.

G.S.

Born in Linz, Austria, 1975.

Mayer studied with Michelangelo Pistoletto and Heimo Zobernig at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna (Austria) and with Rebecca Horn at the University of the Arts in Berlin (Germany). He is the creator and project manager of the art project “Audioweg Gusen” in Langenstein (Austria), which serves in the form of a walkable “sculpture” as a memorial to the victims of the concentration camps Gusen I and II during the Nazi regime.

Lives and works in Berlin, Germany.


Solo Exhibitions (selected):

2000     “emerging artists - Christoph Mayer chm.”, Essl Museum, Klosterneuburg, Austria          


Group Exhibitions (selected):

2012     “spring salad”, lukas feichtner gallery, Vienna, Austria

2011     “El Mapa: Cartografías críticas”, MAMM Museo de Arte Moderno Medellín, Medellin, Colombia

2010     “ARTmART2010”, Künstlerhaus Wien, Vienna, Austria

2009     “Urban Signs - Local Strategies – Continued“, Kunst im öffentlichen Raum Wien, fluc, Vienna, Austria

2008     “The Map: Navigating the Present”, Bildmuseet, Umeå, Sweden

2007     “Be one get three“, Cluster, Berlin, Germany

2006     “Eutopia – Sign“, Tentoonstellingsruimte voor Jonge Kunst, Groningen, the Netherlands

2004     “UNITED SPACE, Vereinter Raum: Wien – Tashkent – Wien“, Galerie Windspiel, Vienna, Austria

2003     “Christoph Mayer, Daniel Schoch. Panoptikum und Crème Brûlée“, Stadtgalerie Vienna, Vienna, Austria

2002     “Transfer”, W. Krenn Hochfrequenztechnik GmbH, Vienna, Austria

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  • Foto: Didi Tolerian
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