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Opening: Tue, Sep 22, 19:00
Performance 'Levitation Device' by Emiliano Maggi: Tue, Sep 22, 19:30, Thu, Sep 24, 19:00
Press Tour: Tue, Sep 22, 10:00
Location: freiraum Q21 INTERNATIONAL
Admission free

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

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!  Curated by Daria Khan (RUS).

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.

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.

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’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.

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.

The video “Manifestul,” 2005, by Mona Vatamanu (ROU) 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.

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.

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.

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.

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)

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.


Image: Heavy Weight History, Christian Jankowski, 2013, Courtesy: the artist, Lisson Gallery

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