Michael Kienzer: Mrs Black and Mr White they have never seen a shade of pink and grey at Galerie Lisa Kandlhofer, Vienna
Dec 8, 2020 – Jan 23, 2021
All Images courtesy of Galerie Lisa Kandlhofer and the artist
The almost literary title is certainly equivocal, poetic, stimulating, and demanding in its ambiguity. It questions agreements on meanings – and in doing so it points to the individuality and relevance of Michael Kienzer’s works.
Now he ispresenting his first solo exhibition at Galerie Kandlhofer. It opens in the first room with a large, massive sculpture from 2014, made of aluminium and steel elements, which draws on his earlier oeuvre to create a parenthesis by being juxtaposed with a current, equally expansive counterpart at the end of the course. Between these two expansive pieces unfolds a multifaceted exhibition of recent works.
A green post, as tall as a person, rises into the air, for which a construction of additional border- or fence-elements serves as a platform. A sculptural collage that sets a mark and projects into the space like a signal that points, not only formally, in different directions.
The largestof the gallery rooms is sculpturally interspersed and colouristically animated with the new series of the large-scale Falter (German for “folders”as well as for “butterflies”). Three simple, slightly deformed sheet metal panels, each painted in different shades, are joined together at the edges to form inviting spatial compartments that open themselves to the viewers: Painting-turned-sculptural, that reveals, loosely scattered, spatial architectural dimensions. Due to the punctual, barely visible connection between the individual monochromatic colour areas, they appear to be holding each other in a fragile balance. Thus, a moment of temporal eventuality, vulnerability, and sensitivity intersperses the autonomy of these impressive constructions, intensified by the slight bends and curvatures of the surfaces and the resulting nuances of light, shadow, and colour. The individual Falter engage in a dialogue, both with each other and with the architecture, and lure the visitors into amplifying this discourse.
A sculptural structure on the wall, however, seems to refer only to itself, immersed in itself and its coils of sheet metal and bulging metal fabrics. It breaks up the angular atmosphere of the Falter. Various panels and loops nestle gently against and into each other and create a sensual play of subtly nuanced hues of shine and colour. Yet frayed edges and cracks tell of an injury; the object hides its intricate story behind its abstract beauty.
Free-standing, silvery building blocks pile up to form the narrow, permeable sculpture translation. These are aluminium casts of hewn formwork bricks, here systematically stacked to form a modular structure. The shape is simple, the appearance sensual but sparse, the work appears figurative but strictly conceptual. In this work, several sculptural constants have been brought together, which Michael Kienzer has translated into his formal language: The manual manipulation of the individual elements is extremely reduced, the sculptural logic is driven to radical purism. Through the moulding process, the original objet trouvé is subjected to a tangible increase in material value, as well as it is being ideationally elevated. The principle of the ready-made is developed further, is intensified in a play with materiality, reality, and ideality.
The large sculpture circles, made of industrially prefabricated aluminium elements, completes the exhibition as a geometrical, spatial arrangement. Its appearance is clear and austere, direct and self-confident. With its protruding threshold at the front, it takes up space and keeps the visitors at a distance and, thus, away from itself. Behind it, it rises confidently, rigid and yet animated, in enigmatic circles.
Michael Kienzer has not exhibited any drawings for several years. Yet, they represent an essential element of his work. Now an abundance of his drawing oeuvre is juxtaposed with his sculptures. The drawings were created spontaneously, invarious techniques, with intuitive, very reduced strokes. References to his sculptural oeuvre emerge, some drawings appear to resemble drafts or suggest them.The correspondence of the drawings with the sculptural work is present and essential, yet their character remains autonomous, elemental, and abstract. Selected assemblages in the form of small sculptural works in display cases complement the diversity of this exhibition, with which Michael Kienzer offers us a snapshot of the flux of his current oeuvre.
Text by: Margareta Sandhofer
Translated by Susanna Fahle