I’ve been equipping a central London villa with a mural of considerable size. In fact, it is a multi-part drawing which meanders gently through the space. You are going to meet mountains, and people, and text, and even – in the salon – a giant.
I’ve built a fully fledged tranquil fantasyland of endless gadgetry and enjoyment into the catacombs of a defunct flagship building of the municipal housing company of the city of Vienna, Austria. A commission by the Soho-in-Ottakring foundation for the 2016 edition of their biennial art festival, the piece comprises a three-channel video installation with sound, myriads of smartlife equipment, organic food, all sorts of drinkable liquids, and a considerable amount of interior design craftwomanship.
People entering the “Smacoo!!” installation – the title is a blend of the words smart and cooking – barely found out if they had immersed into a video program, or into the land of free milk and honey, or into a smart laboratory of the future, or into a modern version of Pieter Breughel’s “Luilekkerland”.
All things were interwoven with each other, and while some visitors just fell into trance by watching a looped version of my film “Another ordinary pre-view day at Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte”, others settled on the large sofa where they could screen the one-hour runtime video “The influence of alcoholic drinks on the social intercourse of the intelligentsija”, while their children quickly found out about the super organic meals and dairy everywhere in the room (and also about the trampoline-like qualities of the sofa suite).
Another group of participants seemed to be waiting in front of an apparent oven for the lasagne to be ready and served, although that moment never happened – “Lasagne TV”, an extra-short loop of seventeen seconds on the tiny kitchen-class flat screen.
A series of private-style events poored beautiful people into the installation, and besides all the food processing and cooking, the cool drinks and the hot discussions, there was also time for intense quantify-yourself-activities and video-surveillance aka film-shooting. Results? Soon!
For those who happen to be in New York on March 5: My “17 Sekunden Kunst” (“17 Seconds Of Art”) series is part of The Art Film Festival at the Hunter College!
Swiss curator, critic and art historian Paolo Bianchi, who commissioned the series a while ago for Upper Austria’s OK Centrum, wrote about the piece in the catalogue: “For years, Lena Lapschina has been filming everyday situations while traveling, which oscillate from the absurd to the banal. She uses this to make short videos that present in only 17 seconds art. The films all are dealing with art, but most of all with the perception of art. In the video ‘Once around the block’ a man leaves a party in Vienna City to get some fresh air, takes off his clothes, runs once around the block and puts his clothes calmly back on. A quicker answer to the question ‘What is art?’ is hardly imaginable.”
“17 Sekunden Kunst” for some years had tagged itself an “ongoing series” and comprises two dozens or so stand-alone films and mini-series. At Park Avenue, I’m going to show five pieces: 1. “Artist in residence”: Lena Lapschina’s artist trilogy. 2. “Once around the block” (original title: “Einmal um den Häuserblock”): Vienna, the city of actionism, revisited. 3. “Making friends”: About creation and subjective awareness of a friend. 4. “Bowing takes practice” (original title: “Verbeugungsübung”): Facing the authorities should be well practised. 5. “Eugen’s Appartment”: A mini-soap in 7 episodes.
The Art Film Festival: Saturday, March 5, 2016, 1:00-8:00 PM, Ida K. Lang Recital Hall at Hunter College, 695 Park Ave, New York, NY 10065. “17 Sekunden Kunst” is scheduled at 5:30, followed by a brief Q&A session.
“17 Sekunden Kunst” by Lena Lapschina is available as a limited pizza box edition.
Thanks to my wonderful supporters, I’m ready to announce the arrival of a new artist’s book. I’ve called it a “Thoughtbook”. It’s full of inspiration. With plenty of empty pages, it invites to draw and to write down thoughts of all kinds. I’ve carefully “curated” fourteen of my favorite works into this book, and two big essays by curators whom I really admire.
“Thoughtbook” appears in a signed and numbered limited edition of 500.
A book launch cocktail in Vienna is scheduled for January 12, 6–9 pm. Location: the brand-new Graetzlhotel at Belvederegasse 26 (directions: here). Menu: Rauch Juicebar Yoga Relax, Stoli Mule, Sizzling Spices Cinnamon Kisses, De Beukelaer Creamy Cookies Bakery, Ethical Coffee, and more…
Lena Lapschina: “Thoughtbook”. 168 pages, 14.8 x 21 cm. With essays by Cathérine Hug and Matt Bowman. Includes 14 works by Lena Lapschina: Money Love, Void, Art is …, Paradise total, Do You Really Need It?, Art-Free Territory, Und plötzlich war es wieder da, C-Level, Stuff, Curators’ Water, Propaganda, Girls wanted, Yes/No, Back On Tuesday.
It is a mosaic, it is a waymark, it is a tape painting, it is digital equipment – my piece for the Mdina Biennale, on the historic ground of Malta. When it catches sight of a smartphone, it comes to life, immerses visitors in an extramundane environment… To give it a try, go to see it on site: The mural is prominently located at the grand staircase of the Cathedral Museum, Mdina, Malta.
I’ve sent an image scientist through my latest exhib in Austria, “Home Alone”. Here is what she brought back from the tour:
“Home Alone” is a fifty meter wide media installation, staged at the “Ausstellungsbrücke” (english: “Exhibition Bridge”) in Sankt Pölten, Lower Austria. It involves a “fitness zone”, a “living room”, a “museum”, and a “bar”. Each of these areas provide different levels of involvement to the visitors.
The show starts with a huge wall painting, depicting the exhibition’s intro text and a dozen company logos. Next to it resides the participatory video work “Get Fit With Dr. Lapschina”, which asks the visitors to work out. Stuff for engaging in the vigorous physical exercises is provided – as well as a bunch of museum benches, for people who prefer the lean-back mode.
The living room part of “Home Alone” has a comfy sofa suite, a large screen, several framed pictures on the walls, three lightboxes, a couple of books and catalogues on a coffee table, a hammock, and a bottle of wine to offer. The pictures don’t show anything though. They are only reminders. Also these aren’t regular lightboxes. Their role is to provide a distinct atmosphere to the place. And while the TV presents a 3′ loop version of Lena Lapschina’s video piece “Runtime”, it’s just the camo jacket for the smart home components everywhere in the room.
So, why not spend some time in the museum? Meticulously arranged vitrines give an impression of life in Lower Austria, in Manhattan or in Brooklyn, or elsewhere on this planet. It’s about dreams and nightmares, art and artists, battery-powered chainsaws and Franz Kafka, curating and the “Art-Free Territory”. It’s not immediately clear if the assemblage should be entertaining or disturbing. Like all museum stuff, in the first place it is educating, and that is what visitors find out during extended conversations in the bar and kitchen areas built into the flow of the “Home Alone” installation.