New Friends 

Ulla von Brandenburg (D), Gelatin (A), Anna Jermolaewa (A),
Markus Schinwald (A), Andreas Slominski (D),
Nicoletta Stalder (CH), Charlie Tweed (GB)

Welcome speech by Mayor Dr. Hans Lintner, City Council Schwaz
Introduction by Karin Pernegger, new director of the Gallery of the City of Schwaz

Opening day Saturday, September 10, at 6.30 p.m. in conjunction with the “Klangspuren,” closes October 29, 2005

Exhibition forum with Karin Pernegger on Wednesday, September 21 at 7 p.m.

Friday, October 14, 7 p.m. an evening with
Ulla von Brandenburg and Julia Horstmann

Announcement Winter Exhibition 2006: We are pleased to announce that this winter, the young American artist Shannon Plumb will be holding her first European solo exhibition in the Gallery of the City of Schwaz (4 November – end of December 2005).

This year’s autumn exhibition at the Gallery of the City of Schwaz is dedicated to “New Friends.” Under this snappy banner the “holy exhibition hall” pays homage to friendship – as we have known it since the days of baking cakes in the sandbox.

The colorful ensemble, including Austrian artists such as Anna Jermolaewa, Markus Schinwald and the artistic team Gelatin, Charlie Tweed from London and Nicoletta Stalder from Switzerland and - last but not least - our dear neighbors from Germany, Ulla von Brandenburg and Andreas Slominski reflect humorously on the magic of friendship as it loves, teases, woos, mocks, fights and makes up. Appropriately, the “New Friends” motto also symbolizes the debut of Karin Pernegger as the new director of the Gallery of the City of Schwaz.

The exhibition is a loose knit of seduction, expectation and beguilement illustrating our rich network of friendships, often bringing a smile to the spectator’s face while at the same time critically exploring our friendship with art.

How else could we interpret the elusive humor lurking behind the dollhouse-inspired objects by Andreas Slominski, on display in the exhibition hall? A crookedly built police helicopter hovers over a child-size church next to a nuptial bed embroidered with little roses and nails. The allure of these tiny sculptures not only lies in their outward appearance but in the cunning trap they conceal, just as if one would send “lovebirds” to seventh heaven by express mail.

This deception is exposed by the London artist Charlie Tweed as he stalks through British underbrush. Moved by pathos and desperation, he courageously reveals the discovery of a deadly alliance between surveillance specialists and flora and fauna in his video „Let’s Start Again“: Its mission, to install means for our surveillance in the very lap of nature. This firm bond between friend and foe or hunter and hunted is the sour enamel of our time, placing our existence in the center between curiosity and knowledge, closeness and fear and gluing together the duo called life and friendship.

The Austrian group Gelatin on the other hand has literally snagged the rabbit and placed it - 65 meters long, 6 meters high, made of pink crochet and weighing as much as 103 elephants - on the peak of the Colletto Fava (1600m) of the maritime Alps near Artesina in the upper Italian Piedmont (opening on September 18 2005). Bowels spill out of the giant, lifeless body in which visitors to the mountain peak seem to disappear like little maggots. The rabbit becomes a memento mori of a commercialized cultural landscape as the surrounding mountain peaks bear mute witness to the irrevocable encroachment of the winter sport industry. The plan is to let the outcast bunny snooze there for 20 years to allow a tender young shoot to spring from inside it through the forgotten roots of the friendship between nature and humans. The exhibition shows a model and a drawing of this installation.

Ulla von Brandenburg from Hamburg, on the other hand, sends the rabbit in the top hat on a permanent vacation and with a smirk, orders her sorcerer’s apprentices back to training. In her video, she invites her friends to launch magic tricks, high-flying acrobatics of illusion that come closer to a charming shrug of the shoulders than a skillful high wire act. The theme is rounded off with a series of large and small watercolors on transparent paper and the landscapes, objects and portraits nicely counterbalance the character of the unfathomable.

The video “Children Crusade“ by Markus Schinwald underscores the serious note of the exhibition. The film takes us back to the ambience of Vienna at the start of the 1900’s, and the authentically captured pictures are supported musically by a contemporary children’s choir. Using a pictorial metaphor of the rat catcher of Hameln he shows a children’s choir following a life-size puppet whose face keeps changing expression. The film congenially expresses the dangers and promise of seduction and the bitterness of disappointed expectation.

For an entire summer, Anna Jermolaewa used her camera to observe the portrait painters in front of museums and monuments in various cities to illustrate the question “What makes art art?” For the exhibition in Schwaz, she initiated a drawing performance this summer where she invited the residents of Schwaz to have their portraits drawn. With the help of four Russian artist colleagues, Alina Fyodorova, Andrej Romasjukov, Alexander Frolov and Anna Frolova, who earn their living in Russia as portrait artists, portraits were created that at second glance answer the art viewer’s all-dominant “Gretchen question”: Where is the fine line between commission and art? What defines it? Is it the place? The reputation? The gallery? The museum? The curator or even art critics? Or does personal taste decide?

The Swiss artist Nicoletta Stalder also shows us how the relationship between outward perception and an artist’s life can be temporarily unhinged by turning role models around. Not as an artist but using the creative housewife pseudonym she launched, she placed a full-page announcement in the Swiss tabloid “Blick” with the headline “Housewife bakes monument.”

Without further ado she will move her kitchen to the exhibition in Schwaz and expand the monument on the spot where, with aniseed cookies and a baking performance, visitors will receive a friendly initiation into the cat-and-mouse game of how others see us vs. how we see ourselves.

On this note the exhibition closes the never-ending circle that puts the nature of friendship and the relationship systems it comprises in the foreground as a symbolic opening gesture for the City of Schwaz, its residents, its gallery, its new management and the artists.

Best regards,
Karin Pernegger, new director of the Galerie der Stadt Schwaz