On show at Cory Nielsen in Vienna is a collection of works by artists Olga Balema, Marlie Mul and Iza Tarasewicz. The installation covers various spaces in the historic Palais Dumba, subtly working in contrast to the rigidity of this formal structure.
Tarasewicz’s Arena II (2016), leads visitors through the space, suspended from the ceiling by hooks and wires. The 70 metre rope has been constructed from silicone and handmade hemp fibre, a technique that adds a strong sense of bodily discomfort when looking at the work. It’s coiling nature with it’s sticky texture conjures up thoughts of the body, as if one’s intestines had been pulled from the gut and hung up to dry. It’s title on the other hand refers to structure, a place for sport or competition, or in more modern times, for political debate. This contrast between soft and organic, against formality and competition, creates an interesting tension.
In the main space, Balema’s Interior Biomorphic Attachment (5), 2014, echoes visual representations of Arena II. Her low slung sculpture sags sadly, low across the wall. The work is constructed using Polyfoam that is folded over a metal frame and then sealed with Latex. The method gives both bodily and structural connotations with the piece appearing soft from a distance, while seeming solid up close. The flesh coloured sculpture, with it’s humanistic sag, again contrasts the formality of the space and as with draping rope above, holds a strange duality that balances between construction and the organic.
Mul’s dryly titled Hammers, 2016, follow a similar context. The enlarged hammers have been rendered useless due to their size and materiality. The rubber construction turns a rigid item into a bending, unwieldy one, defeating it’s very purpose and function. This thought along with the weight of the objects matching an average human body, personifies the hammers, giving them the very real human quality of defeat and demise.
In this show, the dialogue between these artists and objects is heightened by the historical and formal nature of the space, one that confines, but also makes the slumping nature of the work feel even more palpable.
Images: Courtesy of Cory Nielsen