• 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.


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Maria Hahnenkamp

Maria Hahnenkamp deals with the topic of the (primarily female) body and the everyday images, symbolic poses and rituals (including technical processes) via which this body is staged. She pursues the fascination that these images evoke in us—not to critically discard them, but rather to insert a level on which she produces a reflexive and at the same time sensitive view of them. This means that she not only refers to a particular iconography, that is to say, to stereotype female images, but also considers the process of perception and the structurally associated process of image construction in her work on these images or objects, in some cases also making use of linguistic contexts. Hahnenkamp questions the photographic image itself; in other words, this medium’s conventions as well as its materiality in terms of the picture’s surface or the frame that she works on, both to undermine the imaginary construct of the “female” body and to bring the aspect of the vulnerable and physical into play via a performatively charged counter-figure. An artistic tool employed in varying ways remains the overlapping of image surfaces by ornaments that the artist has embroidered or stitched on it by hand, the models for which come from monasteries’ books of patterns. Another of Hahnenkamp’s procedures consists in not only adding to photographic surfaces, but also taking something away from them by sanding them off. The moment which these processes of photo manipulation have in common consists in the subtle linkage of embellishment with disciplining and a latent aggression via which Hahnenkamp maintains the imaginary transformative process between (female) subject and the gaze, between the constitution of imagery and symbolic representation, while also making this process visible on various formal and technical levels.


Born in Eisenstadt, Austria, 1959.

Hahnenkamp has held workshops at the School for Artistic Photography Friedl Kubelka in Vienna (Austria) from 2001 to 2002 and was guest professor at the University of Art and Design in Linz (Austria) in 2004/2005. In 2008 she held a Photography course at the Summer Academy Traunkirchen (Austria). During her career, Hahnenkamp has received numerous prizes and awards, including the “Award of the City of Vienna for Fine Arts” (2008), the “Austrian Award of Recognition for Artistic Photography” (2007), the “frauen.kunst.preis” (2006), the “Award of the Landes-Hypothekenbank Tirol”, the “Outstanding Artist Award for Art of the City of Vienna” (1999), the “Römerquelle Editorial Award” (1998),  the “Otto Mauer Fund’s Prize” (1995) and the “Outstanding Artist Award for Art Photography from the Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture” (1994).

Lives and works in Vienna, Austria.

Solo exhibitions (selected):

2016 Galerie Jünger, Vienna, Austria

2016 Werkschau XXI, Fotogalerie, Vienna, Austria

2012 Galerie Krobath, Vienna, Austria

2010 “Maria Hahnenkamp“, Lisi Hämmerle Gallery, Bregenz, Austria

2008 “Maria Hahnenkamp“, Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg, Austria

2007 “Six Posters“, Galerie im Taxispalais, Innsbruck, Austria

2005 Praz-Delavallade Gallery, Paris, France

2002 “Transparency“, MAK Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna, Austria

Group exhibitions (selected):

2015/16 "Mother of the Year: Between Empowerment and Crisis: Images of Motherhood from 1900 to Today", Lentos Kunstmuseum, Linz, Austria 

2012 “Desiring The Real - Austria Contemporary“, Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia

2011 “Body Codes“, Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, Austria

2010 “Psychoanalysis – Gazes on Photography and Video Art from Austria“, Tokyo Wonder Site, Tokyo and Museum of Contemporary Art, Kumamoto, Japan

2009 “The Power of Ornament“, Belvedere, Vienna, Austria

2008 “Matrix: Gender - Relations - Revisions“, MUSA Museum, Vienna, Austria

2007 “Portraits-Souvenirs, Collection Neuflize Vie“, Salon du Collectionneur, Grand Palais, Paris

2006 “Why Pictures Now – Photography, Film, Video“, MUMOK Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna, Austria

2005 “Simultaneous - Two Collections of Austrian Photography“, Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, Austria

2004 “Flexible 4: Identities“, Landesgalerie am Oberösterreichischen Landesmuseum, Linz, Austria (travelling exhibition: Manchester, UK)

2003 “Fables de l´identité – Œuvres photographiques et videos de la collection NSM Vie/ABN AMRO“, Centre national de la photographie, Paris, France

2002 “Re-considered Crossings. Representation Beyond Hybridity“, Hong Kong, Hong Kong

This bibliography provides a list of books available in the
ERSTE Foundation Library

Books/Exhibition Catalogues


Fotogalerie Wien, ed. 2016: Maria Hahnenkamp: Werkschau XXI. Vienna: Fotogalerie. 


Iemura, Kayoko, ed. 2010. Psychoanalysis: Gazes on Photo and Video Art from Austria. Curated by Walter Seidl et al. Tokyo: Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation of History and Culture.


Salzburger Kunstverein, ed. 2009. Maria Hahnenkamp. Vienna: Schlebrügge Editor [Exhib. Cat., Feb. 7-Apr. 13, 2008)]


Hochleitner, Martin, Schulz, Bernd, eds. 2002. Bilder und Nachbilder. Engl./Germ. Contributions by Martin Hochleitner et al. Heidelberg: Kehrer [Exhib. Cat., Stadtgalerie Saarbrücken (Jun. 14-Aug. 19, 2001), Landesgalerie am Oberösterreichischen Landesmuseum (Jan. 24-Mar. 3, 2002)]


Iglar, Rainer, Mauracher, Michael, eds. 2000. Maria Hahnenkamp. Salzburg: Fotohof, 2000.


Maria Hahnenkamp. 1993. Introduction by Karin Schorm. Texts by Ami Barak, Friedl Früh, Johanna Hofleitner, Kurt Kladler. Vienna: Galerie Karin Schorm.

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