To Reign and to Serve

September 10th – October 10th, 2015

Josef Bauer, Sofia Goscinski, Caroline Heider

Church, state and desire – three varieties of reign and servants. This exhibition is delivering insights into how three different artists are dealing with this powerful and newsworthy issue (in different ways.)

Josef Bauer (born 1934) shows the big sculpture group „To Reign and to Serve“ from 1969 and 1974. Since Austria is the former Danube-monarchy, dominated over centuries by the Habsburger-family you may  say that in this little country the seperation of powers is not yet competely implemented and a still ongoing process. These two oversized symbols of church and state can can be interpreted in many different ways, but at the same time might lead a way to an established understandig of what religion and state are today.

No desire without head – just to quote her own work, Sofia Goscinski’s (born 1979) „Ladyhorse“ from 2012 is as playful as the artist herself. Due to the technique of cyanotype it reminds one of old movies from the 1920ies with Charleston girls smoking oversized cigarettes. The motive itself seems to be hidden somehow, as if covered by a curtain that wants to hide the forbidden scenes of desire. Sadism and masochism or joined sadomasochism are not only in the professional world an established practice.

Joseph Haydn composed the Emperor Quartet for Emperor Francis II. It was a hymn for a populace made up of many different nations. Today, we are again working on a greater unification, on a transnational Europe, confronted with problems of translation and the values of different identities, rooted deeply in the various regions.
Caroline Heider has conducted an experiment: What happens when a mistake is slipped into the score of the Emperor Quartet – so key to the formation of our identity – made by folding a crease into the notes? Does it cause irreversible errors of interpretation, or can such a slight change actually be an opportunity, as has occurred throughout the history of evolution? A programmed trial and error? Caroline Heider’s strategy is to bring things together that don’t otherwise fit. The company guard of the Austrian Military act and react to standard orders. Edited and set to the rhythm of the Emperor Quartet Folding, recordings of their movements seem like a ballet. They are the representatives of this nation. By separating the actions from their actual purpose and from the original soundtrack, the movement patterns and gestures are brought into the focus of the viewer.