Alongside Our Material World

Groupshow / Art Installation

28. 9. – 25. 10. 2019

curated by Stephan Lugbauer

Dominique Koch (CH/FR)
Stephan Lugbauer (AT/FR)
Lina Morawetz (AT/DE)
Seijiro Murayama (JP/FR)

alongside our material world. 2019. poster

Art as magic and magic as the art of change.

Parallels between various theories on magic and artworks formulate the basis to this exhibition initiated by Stephan Lugbauer. The focus lies on these magic moments featuring images, objects or gestures which are able to transport specific ideas and atmospheres.
Alchemie served science as basis to continue researching and finding while searching and similiar to that magic builds the basis to this exhibition.
Magic as in the magic of coincidence, transfer, repetition, ritual. In this show artworks, respectively fragments of artistic positions, open up intervals to host abstract thought and communicate via hereby emerging atmospheres. This creates the possibility to form a new, mulitilayered entitiy with fragments taken out of context. In the process we pursue forms of transfer and perception of magic from a distance as well as through direct contact such as in Seijiro Murayama’s seemingly dadaistic spoken word performance, which could be a ritual of immortality. The DNA-code of the jellyfish Turritopsis Dohrnii which biologist view as nearly immortal serves Murayama as magic spell – comparable to magic rituals where the intonation of the words is often more important than their semantics. A fragment of Dominique Koch’s work shows a lifeless Turritopsis Dohrnii displayed in a test tube as used by scientists.
Lina Morawetz’s bases her search search for linguistic bundles and echos of transcontinental movements on Gerhard Rühm’s nähern und entfernen (1961). Traces of navigation, delays and silence accumulate into a debris of narration, which withdraws from the gaze, but not at all the sense of hearing.
In „This Law of Similarity“ Stephan Lugbauer displays friendship-wristbands bearing the inscription „I like my friends because they (are) like me“ and hereby paralleling social-media dynamics with essentially older theories of magic:
„Like produces like, similia similibus evocantur; and like acts upon like, and, in particular, cures like, similia similibus curantur.“ Marcel Mauss, A Theory on Magic.

Eating Secrets

Experimental Film
  • International Film Festival Rotterdam 2018
  • Magical Charm Festival 2018, NYC, USA
  • 2018 Film and Video Poetry Symposium, Los Angeles, LA
  • Les Rencontres Internationales Videolibrary, Paris, Berlin 2018
  • Figari Film Fest, Videolibrary, Olbia, Italy 2018
Eating Secrets. 2017. poster

„Eating Secrets“ was initiated after a Tarot de Marseille reading by Moreno Arco Fazari at the Le Viaduc Café in Paris, April 2017. It is based on psycho-magic exercises proposed by Alexandro Jodorowsky. In psycho-magic, images are used as symbols to appear to the unconscious mind as real events. A similar thing can be said about the impression of films onto the soul. In this film the rituals of psycho-magic are compared to the act of creating images itself and thereby this film comes about.
It creates a dynamic sense of time, something like a static and nomadic meandering for progress. Rituals for self-improvement come into mind. It feels like wandering in some sort of labyrinthian purgatory, if purgatory was a dream in my childhood backyard and I was nine years old again — not much happens, but the stakes seem startlingly high. The ground/earth becomes a complicit partner/collaborator in the ritual.

S16mm transferred to HD, 8min 41sec

Mika Vainio – Magnetia
Written & performed by Mika Vainio
Published by Touch Music/Fairwood Music UK Ltd

The Double and its Reflections

Art - Installation
The Double and its Reflections. 2017. Installation View. Detail.

Between magic and subjectivity spreads an uncertain nebula, which goes beyond man, without, however, detaching itself from him. We refer to or designate its manifestations with words of soul, heart, feeling. This magma, which has elements of both magic and subjectivity, is neither magic nor subjectivity, properly speaking. It is the kingdom of projection-identification or affective participation.
(the cinema or the imaginary man, Edgar Morin translated by Lorraine Mortimer)

Point of origin for this art installation was the quest for ghosts, revenants and phantoms, as observed by the Society of Psychical Research (SPR) starting around 1880. What interested me hereby was an abstraction of „presentness“ and „absentness“ in form and content. The search for spirits appeared to match a search for individuality outside prescribed borders. Spirits can act like the equivalent of light, leaving a trace of their insubstantial passage in material form.
Photography as impressions of mental powers, as translations of thoughts into images as psychographs.
Acoustic transmission modeled the spirits’ way of contacting the living, visual media were crucial to guaranteeing that the spirits were real, not invented, and had been truly present.
This art-installation can be compared to a making-off, where different parts of how the work came into being are revealed. Traces of influences, ideas, commentaries and research material remain visible.
Translated into the spatiality of the exhibition space in form of an installation which serves as a stage for these various elements.

mixed media, 327 x 262 x 242 cm,
coarse cotton cloth, stage molton, stage gauze, white dance floor,
2 ink jet prints each 180x100cm,
projection – S16 mm transferred to HD (loop approx. 5 min),
audio installation – generated for the duration of the exhibition,
audio narration – mp3 for headphones (approx 15 min.)
sculpture – unique exposed photographic papers, approx. 25x25x40cm

Fragments of a Jam

Performance / Art - Installation
  • Points of Passage, 2014, Stift Melk, Niederösterreich
FRAGMENTS OF A JAM. 2014. Performance View.

The project emerged as part of a group show of commissioned works on behalf of the Abbey of Melk celebratig the anniversary year of their patron. The topics of the curatorial notion circled the topics of the voyage, the quest and espionage. For Fragments of a Jam my intention was to stage and enact a choice of research material circling these topics.

On the opening night the audience could attend the filming of/and the theatrical enaction of my research in the abbey’s gardenpavillon. Similar to About Me and The Tour (from The Mackeys), forms of live performance were combined with filmic language.

For the duration of the exhibition, the various coloured frames/panels used as props for the set, then formed an environment/installation to present the resulting film of the opening night.

Helmut Bohatsch
Nora Jacobs
Albert Mayr
Dirk Nocker
Teresa Vittucci

Joe Berger – Dolly & Light
Stefan Fuchshuber – Best Boy
Barbara Kapusta – Focus Operator
Ulrike Köppinger – Assitant Director
Christiana Lugbauer – Stillphotography
Leon Naffin – Audio Recording
David Seitz – Audio Recording & Mastering

Research References
Guy de Cointet
Blaise de Vigenère
Streamside Day, Pierre Huyghe
Ghost without a Shell, Pierre Huyghe
Kunst des Handelns, Michel de Certeau
Eigenblutdoping, Diedrich Diederichsen
Atlas of Emotion: Journeys in Art, Architecture, and Film, Giuliana Bruno
Ghost-Seers, Detectives, and Spiritualists, Srdjan Smajić
Sympathy for the Devil, Jean Luc Godard
North by Northwest, Ernest Lehman, Alfred Hitchcock
James Bond 007 – Casino Royale, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Paul Haggis
Three Days of the Condor, Lorenzo Semple Jr. and David Rayfiel
A Spell To Ward Off The Darkness, Ben Rivers, Ben Russell
True Detective, Nic Pizzolatto

The North Capital

Experimental Film
  • Hors Pistes 2013, Centre George Pompidou, Paris
  • Hors Pistes 2013, Contemporary Art Center, Vilnius, Lithuania
  • Video Bureau Archive 14: Stephan Lugbauer, Video Bureau Beijing & Guangzhou
The North Capital. 2013. Filmstill

The goal of this filmproject was to transgress cultural, linguistic and structural borders and to bring this experiment via improvisation into the shape of a movie. As point of origin served a recorded conversation with the chinese filmcritic and curator Xian Min Zhan.
Our conversation did range from thoughts on independent cinema to the city of the future. Based on this interview an abstract script in form of notes and thoughts on scenes and conversations evolved. We shot for about 5 days in Beijing with amateurs willing to participate in this truly improvised movie. Rarely scripted dialogues, no rehearsals and improvisations on the spot. A movie about an utopia: The North Capital. The movie’s language is mandarin chinese with english subtitles.

„So visually this utopia will be transparent, almost colorless, washed out…
all the colours there are will be fabricated or fake and only for visual effect.
all the buildings will be mostly ruins.
if people dont procreate, they will talk or create. artist will make up the majority of the population and work under precarious circumstances – you know, minimal wages or unpaid labour, although the characteristics of their work would not really differ from the work of the privileged class. the privileged managing class will decide on who or what to support.
they will say that the real support is your dream.
they offer some kind of support for your dreams,
you excercise yourself in these dreams and wake up with bigger muscels.
in this kind of coming dictatorship of globalisation or pretended democratic system they will encourage people to commit suizide and use it for propaganda.“

HD, 40min, Color, Sound

Chen Lv 陈绿 Liu Tong 刘桐 Hou Zhen 侯震 Brendan Linane Huang Xiang 黄香Liu Bin 刘斌 Cui Kai 崔凯 Wu Ximan 吴析蔓 Yang Zhaoyu 杨兆宇 Jin Jiucheng 金久诚 Xu Ruotao 徐若涛 Mao Lu 毛陆 Zhang Xinyu 张新煜 Cui Zi’en 崔子恩 Richard Zhang 张腾 Jessica Wu 吴澄 Beatrice Leanza Gao Weizhong 高卫中

Sound recording: Lou Kun 娄堃
Sound assistant: Wang Lei 王磊

Piano: Nikola Stanosevic – recorded at and by: Tonstudio Wien Classical Arts
Audio postproduction: David Seitz
Audio mastering: Tony Tong Zhang

Color Grading: Andi Winter

English Subtitle Translation: Li Yakun 李雅堃

Line Production: Li Shanshan 李姗姗, Jenny Man Wu 吴漫
Camera equipment: Redgate Rentals 红门租赁
Camera technician: Zhang Haoyu 张浩钰
Grip: 北影厂 Grip assistant: Wang Jianxin 王建新
Driver: Shi Yumei 石玉梅

thank you

Ella Raidel, Katharina Schneider-Roos, Zhang Xianmin 张献民, Li Shanshan 李姗姗, Zhu Rikun 朱日坤, Fang Lu 方璐, Wang Chunfeng 王春峰, Jiang Shu 江树, Yan Dingcai 鄢定财, Xu Ruotao 徐若涛, Pan Junfeng 潘俊峰, Barbara Kapusta, Österreichisches Kulturforum Peking, Frau Gudrun Hardiman-Pollross, Anny Zhao, Christina Kapusta, Katharina Aigner, Lina Morawetz, Josh Müller, Amy Croft

The Set

Art - Installation
  • Conversation Samples, Unit One Gallery, 798 Art District, Beijing
  • Sleepwalking, Freies Museum, Berlin
The Set. Installationview. Unit One Gallery. 2012.

Der Grundtopos des fernöstlichen Denkens ist nach Byung-Chul Han nicht das Sein, sondern der Weg. Entscheidend ist diese Differenz von Sein und Weg, von Wohnen und Wandern, von Wesen und Abwesen. Im Gegensatz zum Sein lässt der Weg keine substantielle Geschlossenheit zu.

The Set, HD, Loop, 06:40 min, 2012
Portrait, Pigment print on Fine Art Paper, in artist frame, 60 x 43 cm, spruce wood, Paper, 77 x 245 x 77 cm

Voice and Performance: Delphine Mae
Light: Mathias Windelberg
Audio Recording: Barbara Kapusta
Audio Postproduction: David Seitz

About Me – A Scene

Performance, Experimental Film
  • Rencontres Internationales 2013, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin
  • Video Bureau Archive 14: Stephan Lugbauer, Video Bureau Beijing & Guangzhou
  • Hors Pistes 2013, Centre George Pompidou, Paris
  • Rencontres Internationales 2012, Palais de Tokyo, Paris
  • Vienna Art Week 2011, Freud Museum, Wien
About me – A Scene. 2011. performance view. Sigmund Freud Museum, Wien.

This work interlinks filmic, installative and performative layers. Joseph Kosuth’s compiled collection of contemporary art in the Freud Museum in Vienna is used as a filmset.
Accompanied by a cameraman and sound technician a journalist interviews an artist pacing through the exhibition.
The takes of this scene discuss conditions of myths of biographical narration and are repeated again and again for about 50 minutes.

mit / with
Axel Huber, Dirk Nocker

Hand Held Camera: Josh Müller
Sound: David Seitz

HD, 10Min, Colour, Sound

The Mackey’s Tour

Art - Installation
The Mackeys Tour. Installationview. 2011.

For the installation of The Mackeys Tour a set of sculptural elements was combined with the video documenting the performace which took place in March 2010 at Schindler‘s Mackey Apartment House in Los Angeles.

Signifying architectural elements of the tour through Schindler‘s apartment house, these abstracted sculptural remakes mark the stages which a spectator attending the performance would pass through.

Designed as theater props the stations give this multilayered performance further reference to its roots in Inigo Jones‘ Masques and Antimasques – a special and early form of institutional critique in late renaissance theater.


Experimental Film
  • Video Bureau Archive 14: Stephan Lugbauer, Video Bureau Beijing & Guangzhou
  • Rencontres Internationales 2012, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin
  • Rencontres Internationales 2012, FILMOTECA ESPAÑOLA, CINE DORÉ, Madrid
  • Rencontres Internationales 2011, Gaîté Lyrique, Paris
  • 20th anniversary of The Case of California, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Wäscherei (Kunstverein Zürich), Zürich
  • MAKnite, MAK, Wien
The Mackeys. Experimental Film. 2010. Videostill

The Mackeys evolved out of a six months residency during the MAK Schindler Program in Los Angeles.

A filmic collage on Los Angeles based on former residents‘s memories, diary entries, references to art, literature and film. It starts with a young woman talking about a confusion of two movies with nearly identical titles – L.A. Plays Itself and Los Angeles Plays Itself.
Subsequently follows a remake of the opening titles to Thom Anderson‘s Los Angeles Plays Itself. A couple of minutes later we hear the sound of an helicopter taken from the opening sequence of Robert Altman‘s Short Cuts while the camera pans in bird‘s-eye view across the hedge‘s and front yard of R.M. Schindler‘s Mackey Apartment House. A voiceover recites a passage from Memoirs of My Nervous Illness by Daniel Paul Schreber:

„To make myself at least somewhat comprehensible I shall have to speak much in images and similes, which may at times perhaps be only approximately correct. For the only way a human being can make supernatural matters, which in their essence must remain incomprehensible, understandable to a certain degree is by compairing them with known facts of human experience.“

Apotheose der Renaissance im sozialen Wohnbau

Installation / Wallpaper
  • Wohnen am Park, PPAG
Apotheose der Renaissance im sozialen Wohnbau. Installationviews. 2009

Special effect as camouflage

In Baroque theater however, sensing the fake was considered a glory.
Special effects were designed to suggest hoax; that enhanced their art.

Norman M. Klein, The Vatican to Vegas, p. 31

Apotheose der Renaissance (Apotheosis of the Renaissance) is the title of the fresco located on the ceiling of the entrance hall in the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien (Art Historic Museum of Vienna). It was based on Hans Makart’s drafts and executed in 1890 by Mihály Munkácsy.
From 1850 on Barock’s artistic special effects (awry perspective, trompe l’oleil) translated into industrial production. Commodity as a fetish merged with these special effects. That is how shrunken down representations (or toys) of art masterpieces for the home evolved.
These fetishised copies of Barock’s special effects constitute Classicism. The wallpaper directs towards ornament – away from the scripted space and by converting the fresco Apotheose der Renaissance via digital reproduction into a wallpaper used in a social housing complex, exact this transformation is hereby thematised.

Der Palast der schönen Künste

Art - Installation
  • Galerie Amer Abbas, Wien
Palast der schönen Künste. 2008. Installationview.
approx. 440 x 360 x 1000 cm. mixed media

The Palace of the Beautiful Arts

“We built a fantastic palace by night […] a very fragile palace of matchsticks; at the slightest clumsy movement a whole part of the tiny building would collapse; we always started again.” (Giacometti)

Entering the gallery one simultaneously enters a room that is indicated by a wooden scaffolding. This construction refers to Alberto Giacomettis “The Palace at 4 a.m.” – a model made out of matchsticks describing an important relationship to a woman in his life.
Like Giacometti, Stephan Lugbauer defines his artificially created space as a palace – not by reconstructing an emotional condition, but by deliberately creating a situation in which the process of artistic work and the process of the creation of work itself is being reflected.

By calling the installation: “Marble, Wood, Paper and Bronze – the Palace of the Beautiful Arts”, reference is not only made to Giacometti, but also to Carlos Fuentes who speaks in his book “The Diary of Laura Diaz” about the Palacio de Bellas Artes (The Palace of the Beautiful Arts) in Mexico City, Mexico. Thus, Lugbauer composes a collage of ideas combining individuality and history with narration and ideas to create a reflection on art and reality.

Stephan Lugbauer’s installations echo his modus operandi, they reflect the production of his work and thematically raise issues that surround exhibiting and the value of art. He strives to illustrate how complex an involvement with art is, which processes and mechanisms attract attention and how his modus operandi refers to the thing in itself.

In the “Palace of the Beautiful Arts” two large-scale works are presented: the room in the back contains a bunker, through which a glimpse of an original can be caught seen through a darkly toned window. It is a last relic of an ephemeral tangible image, which stands on the origin of the progress: it all starts with the subjective interest evoked by an object, sign or idea. The wooden scaffolding above the objects connects not only the bunker in the back with the second object placed in the front room of the gallery – it also puts the progress, the development of a structure and language into a continuum. It seems that a way is being carved out – beginning with an image of the original and culminating in an object, which refuses any connection to an anterior.

As soon as these objects are present (in the atelier, the gallery, the artspace, …), the strategy of transformation works in favor of the artistic matter. It seems that the artwork cannot be without context! It appears as interesting in inverse ratio: the artwork is the context!
In this transformation the original meaning is largely stripped off and this loss provides a basis for the next step, where Stephan Lugbauer appoints his objects to a new reality.
Following the subject matter of the continuum or the path, the reflection of the prisma appoints like a signpost to the photograph in the third room of the gallery and that’s located outside the palace. The picture shows the moment of an auction in the Viennese Dorotheum, where a globe is being sold. This shifts the focus onto the mechanisms of the market, which functions and holds true to art as it does to all other consumption goods. Both – the globe and the auction – represent symbols of power and control to “sell the world”. To measure the surplus value of artworks as commodities is not so simple. The mechanisms regulating the market are subjected to constellations of power that the artist is scarcely granted access to. Since these mechanisms play also an important part in the production of art, one cannot apprehend the palace solely as a place of reflection on the production of art, it also appears to be a reflection itself – in response to society and the art scene. The installation acquires and analyzes signs, systems and mechanisms of the period by the time it emerges. It also describes the artist as a subject, which is forced to position itself constantly anew amongst certain ideals and profit-oriented thoughts.

Stephan Lugbauer is fully aware of this fragility, when quoting Giacometti speaking about the (real and emotional) model of the palace: “We built a fantastic palace by night […] a very fragile palace of matchsticks; at the slightest clumsy movement a whole part of the tiny building would collapse; we always started again.”