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Tue, Sep 22, 7 PM


Sep 23 to Nov 22, 2015

Opening hours

Tue-Sun 1 - 7 PM



Performance 'Levitation Device' by Emiliano Maggi: Tue, Sep 22, 7:30 PM & Thu, Sep 24, 7 PM
Press Tour: Tue, Sep 22, 10 AM

The exhibition explores the potential of levitation as the power to overcome gravity and make monuments and people rise, as a form of protest, resistance and liberation.  Levitate!

In July 1967 a group of social activists organized the action "Levitate the Pentagon."  The group was trying to exorcise the Pentagon by singing until it levitated and turned orange, driving out the evil spirits and ending the war in Vietnam.  People remained there day and night singing, but the Pentagon failed to move.

This action provides the thematic starting point for the exhibition: The image of the Pentagon rising and turning orange brings into the play the theatrical aspect of levitation as spectacle.  The artworks in the show deal with hocus pocus and delusion, with a performativity embedded in the act of levitation, and with cheating and pleasing the eye.


Iván Argote (COL), Anton Burdakov (GBR)*, Cooking Sections (ISR/ESP)*, Patrick Hough (IRL)*, Christian Jankowski (GER), Krištof Kintera (CZE), Emiliano Maggi (ITA)*, Cinthia Marcelle (BRA), Rä di Martino (ITA)*, Astrid Menze (GER)*, Raphael Montanez Ortiz (USA), Karthik Pandian (USA), Mona Vatanamu & Florin Tudor (ROU), Julijonas Urbonas (LTU)*.
*Artist-in-Residence of Q21

Curator: Daria Khan (RUS)

Image: Heavy Weight History, Christian Jankowski, 2013, b/w photographs on baryt paper, each 140 x 186.8 cm.
Courtesy: the artist, Lisson Gallery


Photos of the Opening Night

© Joanna Pianka -

© Joanna Pianka -

© Joanna Pianka -

Artwork by Anton Burdakov

© Joanna Pianka -

Artwork by Anton Burdakov

© Joanna Pianka -

Performance "Levitation Device" by Emiliano Maggi

© Joanna Pianka -

© Joanna Pianka -

© Joanna Pianka -

© Joanna Pianka -

"Abracadabra" by Karthik Pandian

© Joanna Pianka -

© Joanna Pianka -

Iván Argote

© Joanna Pianka -

© Joanna Pianka -

At the entrance, the public is invited to experience levitation by taking a nap and dreaming in the sleep capsules at the pop-up “Oneiric Hotel,” 2013, by Julijonas Urbonas (LTU). Using special dream-directing equipment, the project is an artistic reconstruction of a number of scientific sleep experiments on inducing and controlling lucid gravitational dreams. Here, dreamers can consciously fly, fall and levitate in a state of induced reverie.

Oneiric Hotel — a pop-up hotel equipped with special dream-directing equipment. Artist: Julijonas Urbonas Photography: Aiste Valiute and Daumantas Plechavicius

Privacy and intimacy are also central themes of Kristof Kintera’s (CZE) “Weightlessness,” 2013, which shows a pair of empty socks standing on a flying carpet.  The sculpture engages humorously with human empowerment, their capacity to detach from their everyday environments and search for more.  While Cinthia Marcelle’s (BRA) “R=0 (Homage to M.A.)” is a reenactment of a school prank in a simple but legible exercise of rebellion that suggests emancipation from social order and the rule of discipline.

Karthik Pandian: Abracadabra, 2013-15, Photo:

Karthik Pandian’s (USA) “Abracadabra,” 2013, is a sculpture consisting of readymade elements: a megaphone typical from use at demonstrations, topped with a magician's top hat and gloves. This awkward composition engages with protest and the many aspirations related to it. The aesthetics of the sculpture echo the button used for the 1967 action "Levitate the Pentagon."  Nothing touches the ground; the sculpture is an ironic reminder of the "miraculous" power that underlies social uprising.

Interested in space- and time-related aspects of perception, which are changing rapidly with the use of mobile technology worldwide, Astrid Menze used material published on the internet for her video work all inclusive [HERE] [THEN] [THERE] [NOW]. Digital search engines were used to find online images labeled “my room,” “my house,” “our place” or “our studio” in four different languages. These images provide constantly changing interiors as the background for short footage of a woman practicing yoga. Domesticity in digital space paradoxically synthesizes unrestricted travel in the mind. The rooms change, and with them their contents and the performer’s identity.

Astrid Menze: all inclusive [HERE][THEN][THERE][NOW], 2010, 25 min. video projection, courtesy of the artist

Emiliano Maggi (ITA) also addresses the magical component of levitation.  His sculpture is based on devices used by street performers to create the illusion of levitation, which is usually well hidden underneath their clothes.
This work is inspired by the artist's archive of concealed levitation devices in historical images.

Raphael Montanez Ortiz’ working method consists of appropriating one segment of just a few seconds of an old movie or musical recording that he transfers onto a laser disc, and then uses a computer to manipulate the ‘frames’ and sound to optimal effect. This results in a new and longer work in which the frames of the original film are exposed, re-arranged and sometimes repeated. This deconstructive process allows Ortiz to reveal a moment and to reconstruct it as a new and complex story with different temporal and psychological dimensions, and to elicit fresh meaning.
The video Beach, Umbrella is based on a sequence from the 1944 full-length Disney film “Three Caballeros,” where animated characters interact with live actors: Donald Duck and two other male characters swoop down on a flying carpet over Acapulco, spying on (real) women on a beach below through a telescope. Donald Duck subsequently dives off the carpet and ends up chasing the women. The original poster calls on viewers to “gasp with amazement as three feathered Don Juans get gay with REAL-LIFE lovelies.”

Rafael Montañez Ortiz: Beach, Umbrella, 1985, video, 7’17”, loop, Distributed by LIMA, Amsterdam

The video “Manifestul,” 2005, by Mona Vatamanu and Florin Tudor (ROU) engages with social contradictions and simulacrums surrounding protest.  Manifestos in the form of empty sheets of paper were distributed from above in Alt-Erlaa, a 1970s flagship utopian communal housing project in Vienna, as a simple gesture challenging the meaning of resistance.

Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor: Manifestul, 2005, video, 1'32", Vienna. Courtesy of the artist and D+T Project Gallery

The spectacle of resistance is also reflected in Christian Jankowski’s (GER) series of photographs from the project “Heavy Weight history,” 2014.  The artist traveled to Poland, where he invited a group of burly weightlifters to try and pick up a number of massive public sculptures in the Polish capital, Warsaw.  Wearing their national colors, the Polish champion power-lifters and bench-pressers struggle and strain to elevate hefty bronze and brick monuments, metaphorically attempting to lift the very burden of history on to their own shoulders.

Heavy Weight History, Christian Jankowski, 2013. b/w photographs on baryt paper, each 140 x 186.8 cm, Courtesy: the artist, Lisson Gallery

The exhibition is accompanied by a Public Program, which includes artists’ talks, performances and interdisciplinary conversations.  In addition, visitors will be able create their own levitation package in the format of a self-composed publication, which is available free of charge in the exhibition space.

Photos COOKING SECTIONS Dinner-Performance "Under The Sea There Is A Hole"
Photos kid's workshop "MONSTER PARTY" with Emiliano Maggi

A symposium held during the VIENNA ART WEEK on 21 November provides a conceptual and philosophical framework for the show.  The symposium begins with a brief history of levitation, and an exploration of the scientific colonization of sleep and lucid decapitation.  Speakers include: Julijonas Urbonas, artist, designer, researcher, engineer and writer, the artist Karthik Pandian, writers and philosophers Alexei Penzin and Aaron Schuster.

The exhibition is organized in cooperation with the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs. The exhibition architecture is again by the department for Stage and costume design, film and exhibition architecture at the University Mozarteum, Salzburg.  Under the supervision of Professor Henrik Ahr, the display concept has been developed by the student Anna Zadra.




"Everybody can be the outsider."

Emiliano Maggi pronounces “art” like “heart” – no coincidence, maybe. Miraculously focused and energetic at the same time, this young Roman artist approaches art, as he says, “like a child”. His work…

MQ Freiraum

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