Touch the Reality. Rethinking Keywords of Political Performances

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“We have to put Duchamp’s urinal back in the restroom.” — Tania Bruguera

Opening: THU 20 10 2016, 7:00 pm

Duration: FRI 21 10 2016 – SAT 03 12 2016 


Artists: Akram Al Halabi, Catrin Bolt, Tania Bruguera, Lana Čmajčanin, Miss G (a.k.a. Giorgia Conceição), Pêdra Costa, Sofia Cruz, Masha Dabelka, EsRAP, Kadir Fadhel, Fidel García, Markus Hiesleitner, Elvedin Klačar, Sylvi Kretzschmar, Camila Lobos, Naïma Mazic & William Ruiz Morales, Sandra Monterroso, , Leandro Nerefuh, Female Obsession, Susana Pilar Delahante Matienzo, Jianan Qu, Dudu Quintanilha, Grethell Rasúa, Dania González Sanabria, Ela Spalding, Anna Witt


Curator: Ursula Maria Probst


Opening programme: 5.00 pm   Lecture Gerardo Mosquera

7.00 pm    Christiane Krejs, Karin Zimmer and Ursula Maria Probst

7.30 pm   Performances: Miss G (a. k. a. Giorgia Conceição): „COUP/step #2“, Jianan Qu: „Screening“


Support programme:

FRI 21 10 2016, 7.00 pm   Susana Pilar Delahante Matienzo: „Puesto De Mando III“ (72-hours-live-performance, meeting point: Kulturdrogerie Vienna)

THU 03 11 2016, 7.00 pm performance EsRAP, “rap as resistance”

TUE 15 11 2016, 4.00 pm and 6.30 pm performance Naïma Mazic & William Ruiz Morales, “Sharing HOME” (as part of the VIENNA ART WEEK)

7.00 pm performance Jianan Qu, „Screening“

 THU 17 11 2016, 7.00 pm Masha Dabelka, lecture/sound performance „Music On Ribs“, and Pêdra Costa, performance „de_colon_isation part 2: The Southern Ass“ (as part of the VIENNA ART WEEK)


Pussy Riot, Ai Weiwei, Theaster Gates: Famous names for an art that aims to change the world through political and social interventions. With “Touch the Reality. Rethinking Keywords of Political Performance” curator Ursula Maria Probst examines such interventions – some loud and some also quite subtle – in relation to one another and in pursuit of today’s practices of political performance. The focus is on art from Cuba with Tania Bruguera, Fidel García, Susana Pilar, Grethell Rasúa, and Dania González Sanabria, but also artists from Arab, Latin American, Asian, and Eastern European countries and Austria are represented. Furthermore, the participating artists are invited to develop projects on site.

In 2015 Ursula Maria Probst curated the Austrian contribution to the Havana Biennial and researched the art scene in Cuba.


[A]rt needs to risk even more than what, fortunately, it’s already advancing in terms of the creation of truly hybrid forms; beyond the simple exchange of signifiers and postmodern techniques among the "educated," media-related, and popular spheres, which retain their own speeches, circuits, and aesthetic-symbolic systems, while power relations and processes are placed in parentheses, as well as contrasts of interest. Contemporary art thus sometimes builds a vicarious subordination expressed in "cultured" spaces” (Gerardo Mosquera in „Touch The Reality. Rethinking Keywords of Political Performance”, 2016,Verlag für moderne Kunst). What effect can art have today and what means of articulation does it possess in the face of current fields of conflict? To what extent do critical performance practices affect a repoliticisation of our apprehensive global society and art and how do they distinguish themselves from the notions of political art of the 1990s? These are the key questions along which “Touch the Reality” has been conceived.


“The mediatization of performance and action art transports the message of sociopolitical encounters in concrete space quite efficiently—and has triggered a trend parallel.” (see Holger Kube Ventura’s article in: Touch The Reality. Rethinking Keywords of Political Performance2016, Verlag für moderne Kunst).

Action art and political artivism both build upon public stagings and the presence of the body in public space. This exhibition reveals how artistic works can assume a sociopolitical dimension and presents their respective approaches to an aesthetic of the performative. It comprises artistic practices conceived as a political intervention or as an action in response to a political situation. The Kunstraum Niederoesterreich accommodates this discourse; in workshops it becomes a processual site for the exchange of questions, which also relate to the aspect of public space. At the same time, the encounters of people with different backgrounds shall establish new transcultural networks that strengthen segments of the public and their interests. In addition to artistic works there are also philosophical positions that address the key moments of political performance.



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