Co-Curated by Fatima Hellberg & Steven Cairns
July 6 - August 31, 2019
Opening: July 5th, 6 – 9 pm
Staging of objects – objects for decoration – decoration is protection – "numino" – the mystery of being scared and fascinated. What decorates – changes – through decorating, strength is conveyed.
Vienna-based artist and filmmaker Linda Christanell has worked across mediums since the mid-sixties – hers is a prolific, yet rarely shown body of work, held together by its distinctive inner logic and pictorial world. Christanell’s practice loops back to a fascination with objects as bearers of obsessions, issuing and channeling energy as fetishes. Her films and photographs contain symbols and trinkets that are contemplated, arranged and held, animated, and recoded. In the compositions, the meaning and power of the objects are both affirmed, but also pushed into and out of registers of desire, eroticism and violence.
A core strand of the works in this presentation is Christanell’s long-running fascination with vouyeurism and concealment – the mechanical eye of the camera, its merging with her own view, that of the observer, and the energies exchanged between these relations. A form of intimacy of viewing and looking further pushed by Christanell’s way of working: her filmmaking takes the form of a solitary practice, with the scenarios, form, and narrative being built up and orchestrated by herself. FINGERFÄCHER, a film flickering and shifting in perspective, moving between distance and closeness, evokes something of the power and approximation of that which cannot be fully held or seen – “a film about which there are no words.” In ALL CAN BECOME A ROSE, the distinctive diy spirit of Christanell’s practice can be felt, a pleasure of making, moving in non-linear ways between desire and a finely articulated sense of darkness. Here a recurring motif of Christanell’s practice appears: a view of the artist’s hand with a crystal-headed hat needle. The jewel glimmers and moves as it pushes into her skin – an image of shimmering hardness and porousness. These moving image works are accompanied by photographs by the artist, including her newly conceived work, FOR YOU (2019).
Linda Christanell’s (b. 1939 Vienna, Austria) early work was primarily in photography and performance, until she in the mid 1970s turned to moving image as her primary medium. Christanell was a member of the Austria Filmmakers Cooperative (1982), of the Künstlerhaus Vienna (1982), of the Assembly of Authors in Graz (1984), and a founding member of Intakt (1977). Recent solo presentations and screenings include at Belvedere 21, Vienna, and Oberhausen Film Festival. In 2015 she received the Award for Visual Art of the City of Vienna.
Linda Christanell’s exhibition is part of Fenster, the third iteration of OKEY DOKEY. This years’ edition takes the form an exhibition unfolding over eight venues across Cologne and Düsseldorf. The show encompasses a range of practices that intersect with ideas of spectatorship, voyeurism, consumerism and their relationship to the body as a site of exhibition.