I have no idea why Kunsthalle appears to be the poor cousin amongst the Viennese museums. It can´t be the exhibitions. Right now it´s „There Is No Place Before Arrival“ by the German artist Olaf Nicolai at the Museumsquartier location. You can´t speak of it as a common exhibition, though. It´s rather like a festival: Apart from the show on site, there are five more venues throughout Vienna, as well as an Internet-platform under the Instagram hashtag #medialoop (https://www.instagram.com/media_loop/), and a thorough lecture and performance program. It is like a local, virtual and mental netting, or – a little bit more antiquated maybe – a scheme for some sort of Gesamtkunstwerk.
Under these auspices we also have to look at the „root“ of „There Is No Place Before Arrival“, i.e. the exhibition at Museumsquartier. Olaf Nicolai commissioned several stage and street painters to execute 22 images drawn from newspaper clippings from his collection, in large formate and on the ground. The visitors walk around these paintings, or - according to their wish - across them, and thus leave footprints and spread and blur the images´ colours. (This process is enhanced even further by dance performances taking place in the exhibition.) The accompanying brochure depicts the original clippings, and pairs them with short texts, or rather fragments, citings and sometimes even poems freely associated with several of the articles´ aspects.
All this is really not as unwieldy as it may sound. One should just be able to master the art of keeping in mind all the texts and backgounds at the same time better. Or to just not care how the guards look when on starts to skip and dance – booklet in hand – around the exhibition.
Header: Detail aus Ausstellungsansicht: Olaf Nicolai. There Is No Place Before Arrival, Kunsthalle Wien 2018, © Olaf Nicolai & Bildrecht, 2018, Foto: Stephan Wyckoff
1-3: Ausstellungsansicht: Olaf Nicolai. There Is No Place Before Arrival, Kunsthalle Wien 2018, © Olaf Nicolai & Bildrecht, 2018, Foto: Stephan Wyckoff