Terra Incognita. Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia and the the Pacific Region

Patricia Piccinini
Unfurled, 2017
Silicone, fiberglass, human hair, masked owl, found objects
Courtsey the artist and A3, Berlin

Sep 15 2017 to Oct 28 2017
Absberggasse 27 / 2nd floor
1100 Vienna
Phone: +43 1 512 53 15
Tuesday - Saturday: 11:00-18:00
Friday, September 15, 2017 to Saturday, October 28, 2017
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as part of curated by_vienna 2017
curated by Matthias Arndt

The HilgerBROTKunsthalle is delighted to present works by contemporary artists from Southeast Asia and the Pacific region within the framework of curated by_vienna 2017: “image/reads/text. Language in Contemporary Art”. For the first time a comprehensive exhibition focused on painting and sculpture will be shown in Austria.

"Terra Incognita" is curated by one of the leading experts in contemporary Southeast Asian and Australian art, Matthias Arndt. 17 selected art positions will be presented: Khadim Ali (b. 1978, Pakistan), Del Kathryn Barton (b. 1972, Australia), Zean Cabangis (b. 1985, Philippines), Jigger Cruz (b. 1984, Philippines), Marina Cruz (b. 1982, Philippines), FX Harsono (b. 1949, Indonesia), Mit Jai Inn (B. 1960, Thailand), Eko Nugroho (b. 1977, Indonesia), Patricia Piccinini (b.1965, Australia), Ben Quilty (b. 1973, Australia), José Santos III (b. 1970, Philippines), Yudi Sulistyo (b. 1972, Indonesia), Melati Suryodarmo (b. 1969, Indonesia), Agus Suwage (b.1959, Indonesia), Rodel Tapaya (b. 1980, Philippines), Entang Wiharso (b.1967, Indonesia), Kaa Yeo (b. 1989, Philippines).

When the Austrian literary critic Oskar Walzel demanded a "reciprocal elucidation of the arts" in 1917 and thus meant a consolidation of concepts of art and literary science, he could hardly have known how much the two artistic disciplines would be intertwined only one hundred years later. Today, art and language are in a complex and lively dialogue.

The exhibition "Terra Incognita" aims to explore the liaison of language and art, the moment of the narrative, and the importance of symbols for contemporary art, with a series of works by Indonesian, Filipino, Pakistani, Cambodian and Australian artists. The name of the show focuses on the still predominantly underrepresentation of Southeast Asian and Australian artists in the Western art world.

Picture languages have developed over thousands of years far from a Western canon of aesthetics and image culture, especially in Southeast Asia, which at first sight may seem new, even partly alien. Numerous references and narratives can be read from the codes and symbols found in the works that are shown.

Heroes and legends from texts, which are amongst others from today's Iran, are translated seemingly simple by Khadim Ali (Pakistan) into a system of visual poetics. Using traditional methods such as the "neem rang", the artist dyes carpets and narrates identity-creating legends with the help of his loving, elegant aesthetics.
Eko Nugroho (Indonesia) transforms elements of street art, comic culture and photography into a media mix that subtly recounts the tension between Islamic-hierarchical society and Western influence in his home country Indonesia. Typographical elements transport humorous, pointed messages, which are not only a central, but also a completely natural part of Nugroho’s practice. Entang Wiharso (Indonesia) employs automotive paint on aluminum for his work, that enlivens a surreal, sometimes disconcerting aesthetic that he uses, akin to a pop form of hedonism.
At a time when society is demanding an increasing degree of politisation and clear positioning, the artists FX Harsono (Indonesia) and Patricia Piccinini (Australia) who are also part of "Terra Incognita," do not avoid the critique of the political system and the current developments in science and economy.

Their works activate dialogues and discussions. They present telling, sad and sometimes startling stories, working with narrative and recurring symbols, ultimately conjuring all that is commonly attributed to language. The transition between the disciplines becomes fluid, not just in Europe. (Text: Matthias Arndt)

The exhibition takes place in the context of curated by_vienna: “image/reads/text. Language in Contemporary Art”. In 2017, 21 Vienna galleries are involved in the project. In cooperation with international curators, the galleries conceptualise exhibitions opening up various perspectives on the topic. curated by_vienna is funded and organised by the Vienna Business Agency with its creative center departure with the objective of emphasising Vienna’s significance as a gallery location. www.curatedby.at