Gallery Run: Subjective Objects

Dragan Zdravkovic's Sound for Adrian can be seen at the white8 Gallery | Photo: Dragan Zdravkovic

This disc from China is heavy and smooth, and might elicit “meaning” | Photo: Galerie Hummel

This disc from China is heavy and smooth, and might elicit “meaning” | Photo: Galerie Hummel

This disc from China is heavy and smooth, and might elicit “meaning” | Photo: Galerie Hummel

We have a strange relationship to objects: we acquire them, covet them, project meaning onto them. Artists go further, questioning what our relationship is to objects, not taking it for granted, interpreting the objects in unexpected ways. Whether it’s through pop art, found objects, or exotic artifacts, it’s the artist’s job to reinvent, relocate and challenge our position to objects.

Galerie Hummel: Meditativ

Rudyard Kipling’s “Ballad of East and West” begins with the line, “East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet.” This designation has become more complicated in a globalised world. Art has always been an area in which such distinctions begin to blur: 18th-century European chinoiserie adopted decorative styles from China, Monet and Renoir were inspired by Japanese prints.

In recent times, the influence of Asia on the West has taken on a deeper, more spiritual aspect. Western art is thought of as an attempt to nail down an intellectual truth or visceral experience, Asian or Buddhist art as trying to reveal the ephemerality of such pursuits. In Meditativ, contemporary art placed alongside antiquities reveals parallels and influences, whether intentional or coincidental. As each object reflects and echoes aspects of each other, their own permanence and/or transience is called into question.

Although most of the antiquities display no titles or signatures, gallery founder Julian Hummel has a story behind every piece, a Japanese screen for example, discovered in Kyoto. “I’m an art dealer,” Hummel explained, “so I tried to make a deal.” But in Japan, that was not how things were done.

I held a beautiful flat jade ring from China featured on the programme, of unknown origin, but heavy and smooth. I couldn’t decide if the experience was fleeting, meaningful, or both.

The exhibition runs through 12th April.


Galerie Hummel

1., Bäckerstraße 14

Tue.-Fri. 15:00 – 18:00

Sat. 10:00 – 13:00

(01) 512 12 96


white8 Gallery: Dragan Zdravkovic,
Metaphysical Pop Art

Growing up in turbulent Belgrade, the artist Dragan Zdravkovic describes his experience as a “hibernation mode”. Even afterwards, he stayed in that mode, a place within himself that allowed him to feel safe, but also closer to others.

At first glance, Zdravkovic’s paintings appear to be straightforward still lifes of ordinary household objects: lamps, cabinets, faucets, etc., objects typically “found in my surroundings, taken from the world of advertisements and mass media”. As in most pop art, they are ordinary, perhaps even banal, as they “represent the commonplace of perception”. But upon closer viewing, they are not what they seem. In his hibernation mode, Zdravkovic finds “nonverbal notes of space within which we… truly recognise ourselves”. Where pop art meets the metaphysical.

Dragan Zdravkovic's Sound for Adrian can be seen at the white8 Gallery | Photo: Dragan Zdravkovic

Dragan Zdravkovic’s Sound for Adrian can be seen at the white8 Gallery | Photo: Dragan Zdravkovic

The philosopher Peter Sloterdijk identified three concepts of space: 1) the physicist’s or mathematician’s neutralised space with equipotential points between which arbitrary sets of lines can be drawn, 2) the living/dwelling space of natural subjects, which can be described as one’s environment, and 3) the ‘psychodynamic’ space in which existence takes place.

This last space is not about being “contained in nothingness”, but rather “in the field of souls of others”. Pop art is about making the transition from the second to the third concept of space, and perhaps this is what Zdravkovic has achieved. The exhibition runs through 25th May.


white8 Gallery

1., Zedlitzgasse 1

Tue.-Fri. 12:00 – 18:00

Sat. 11:00 – 15:00

0664 20 26754


Galerie Krobath: Jiří Kovanda

Sometimes art is a kind of provocation. The Czech artist Jiří Kovanda uses ordinary objects in a seemingly simple, yet subtly subversive manner. From the Czech “actionism” movement, Kovanda has been referred to as a “romantic conceptualist”. Here, his work centres on an off-handed intervention of the art space geared towards invoking a reaction from the viewer.

At a previous exhibition, Kovanda explained how “cheap and simple things can sometimes turn out to be… extraordinary, while expensive objects can be invisible. . . It just depends on the situation.” Here, he takes this notion to the next level. Simple objects – a chair, a shirt, a branch – literally take second stage to the stage, i.e. the pedestals on which they are normally displayed. This deceptively innocent inversion calls forth mixed feelings – laughter, confusion, uneasiness. A normally invisible component suddenly becomes visible, a Kubrick-ian monolith we cannot avoid.

Although conceptual, there is nothing condescending about Kovanda’s work, and therein lies its poignancy. The viewer can almost take comfort in discomfort. These are all familiar objects; there is nothing, and everything, to be associated with them. A blank piece of paper is propped up against a pedestal with a sheet of glass upon a wooden board. In the midst of our negotiation, the displaced pedestal is always there to remind us: It’s (only) art, make of it what you will.

The exhibition runs through 4th April.


Galerie Krobath 

1., Eschenbachgasse 9

Tue. – Fri. 11:00 – 18:00

Sat. 11:00 – 15:00

(01) 585 74 70


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