Raver geht ins archäologische Museum
Many of von Gabain's works enter into unusual and surprising liaisons. In her exhibition City of broken furniture, which was on display in the galleries of the MAK (Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna) in 2013, she presented pieces of furniture in the role of "patients," "dressing" their "wounds," and contrasted them with a photographic series about furniture in the MAK's collections. In a nod to twentieth-century medical documentaries, the photographs bear titles that quote the names of illnesses or suggest classificatory schemes such as Syphilis or 6 Verbrecher (6 Criminals). In a series of photographs created in Tokyo in 2011, she staged used futons and mattresses in the style of Nobuyoshi Araki's bondage pictures. The artist also uses her own body in laconic or provocative observations about stereotypes as well as flashes of visual humor.
Von Gabain's earlier installations and interventions often relied on found and humble materials and a characteristic repertoire of images and forms, including speaker towers, banners, and slide shows. The artist works with various modes of appropriation, adapting subcultural practices or refashioning furniture and entire rooms resulting in analogies and unexpected moments. Her photographs, which play a growing role in her creative output, tell stories of such absurd situations.
In the Secession's Grafisches Kabinett, von Gabain presents new work created for this exhibition that elaborates on her previous oeuvre. Analogue black-and-white photographs that suggest an archaeological inventory are combined with several sculptural works. Some pictures show plaster casts of fragmentary limbs; in others, the artist can be seen extending her own body in a performative play with the prosthesis-like objects, exploring cultural and social paradigms and translating them into distinctive artistic ideas.
Kerstin von Gabain was born in Palo Alto (USA) in 1979 and lives and works in Vienna.
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