Keep in Safe Place
Lülja’s Armchair and Lülja’s Chair and the other works in Keep in Safe Place
are all color digital prints produced as negatives. The “color” in them
is incredibly subtle (tones of blue, green, yellow, and red) and
because they are mostly black and white it is perhaps not immediately
apparent that they are negatives at all - they seem to be drawings and
photographs at the same time.
Lülja refers to a dear friend of the artist’s, Anna-Lülja Praun, one of Austria’s first female architects. Praun lived a remarkable life mainly in St. Petersburg, Sofia, and Vienna and died a few years ago in her late 90s. Huey befriended her during the last decade of her life. The chairs in question were designs of hers that she sketched out in wire. By photographing them, the artist had a chance to both “collaborate” and pay homage to her.
Shredded is an image that derives from paper – in this particular case, inventory lists – run through a hand shredder. Shredded’s aura of secrecy, and mute subtext of the destruction of knowledge before it passes into the hands of someone else, is a kind of memorial to a lifetime’s dynamic of opaque interaction with others. It is about the rhythms of destruction and the mystery created by the fragmented remains of something that has been intentionally tattered to prevent its being shared.
Safety Deposit likewise evokes the mysteriousness of the locked safe, the sealed document, the eternal silence of the grave. The key without the lockbox is not unlike the lockbox without the key: with the guarded content inaccessible, both are reduced to their own objecthood, even as they project a kind of afterimage of the “missing partner”. The blocked potential of that missing partner opens the way to a different dimension of evocative, though ineffable, narrative.
Michael Huey is a Vienna based American artist. He has exhibited at Charim Galerie and Galerie Lisa Ruyter in Vienna.