Mathias Poledna’s work examines inter-connections between art and entertainment, modernism in architecture and design, the language of film, and the history of exhibition making. The specific historical quality of these phenomena, in particular, constitutes a central point of departure. Most recently his art has often taken the form of highly condensed film installations through which a complex tension unfolds between what is presented and the concepts and cultural ideas circulating around it. The artist’s interest in the various forms in which modernity articulates itself is manifested in the specific and often widely diverse subjects of his works, which range from the music of post-punk to a rainforest in Papua New Guinea, as well as in their highly aesthetic and extremely reduced and formalized visual language. Although they are entirely new and often the product of collaboration with professional associates, they frequently create the impression of having been found exactly as they are because of the way they seem to derive from present-day and historical collective imaginaries.
The characteristic quality of Poledna’s approach is the concise employment of cultural connections and historical contexts in combination with repetition, displacement, condensation, and elision. In his filmic works the visceral effects of the projected image, the tension between image and sound, and the complex interweaving of popular music and filmic language are recurrent motifs. Time and again his precisely orchestrated interventions in the exhibition space, which are informed by his interest in the art of the 1960s and 1970s institutional critique, also shift constitutive and ephemeral elements of exhibition making—architecture, design, publications—from the periphery to the center of his practice.
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