Tag Archives: object

Of battery-powered chainsaws, Franz Kafka, curating, and the Art-Free Territory

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.

The choice between Yes and No

2015 started with a totally fresh work, and it started in New York City. Here’s the leaflet:

“Lena Lapschina presents ‘Yes/No,’ an installation for Open Source Gallery.
In Lapschina’s work, communication is key. Lapschina is well-known for her systematic and methodical investigation into social issues through the exploration of malfunctions and opposing factors. She explores not only the outcomes of choices, but what opportunities are being missed by having to choose. ‘Yes/No’ is a spatial installation of two light objects produced from neon. Illuminated against a stark background and obscured by the particles emitted from a fog machine, two choices are clear with little in between but a limbo: ‘Yes’ and ‘No.’
Visitors are welcomed into a space where they may move freely between dualities without reaching a decision. However, while the viewer is free to choose, one may not have the choices of ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ simultaneously. On one side there is the affirmative of ‘Yes,’ but by simply turning around, it now becomes ‘No.’ In ‘Yes/No,’ opposing ideas do not clash, but still remain on opposite sides of the coin.”

Some seldom shown pieces reunited for open studio show

During Vienna Art Week, I had a mini-show in a twelve-room apartment aka the Viennese studio. Old friends, like my neon sign “Girls wanted”, the pizza-boxed video series “17 Sekunden Kunst”, the Wittmann-manufactured cushions “Art-Free Territory” and the Mercedes-Benz tribute photo series “Communication”, joined forces with brand new stuff, like the installation “Curators’ Water”, the light-boxed photo series “Some things that long time do not exist” (Duratrans, light-box, crank), the xerography-inspired, Teheran-produced work “Role Models” (edition: 1), the photographed alphabet “Trees and poets, citified” (Dibond) and the post-future of painting series “Stuff”. Visitors also got a chance to preview the video series “Message to the World” while hanging out at the bar, and to engage in the participatory media installation “Get Fit With Dr. Lapschina”.
N.B.: “Thank you” to everyone who made this exhib possible, and especially to Mario Codognato for more than an hour of questions and answers.