AUSTRIAN CULTURAL FORUM | ZAGREB
TOUCH NATURE | FLAGS
Opening: February 14, 2023, 7 pm
Duration: February 14 - March 4, 2023
Location: Galerija VN, Ilica 163a, Zagreb, Croatia
Curated by Sabine Fellner and Olga Majcen Linn
Touch Nature takes an artistic look at the unhindered exploitation and economization of our planet's resources and asks how artists can use their means to respond to the existential threat to nature for humans. After Rome and Budapest, Touch Nature is now stopping in Zagreb and presenting works by Austrian and Croatian artists.
Hope and optimism unite the view into the future of the works of Touch Nature and the belief that mankind can still succeed in averting the announced global catastrophe through their own conscious action.
The concept of the exhibition series Touch Nature developed by the renowned Austrian art historian and curator Sabine Fellner envisages a series of exhibitions of varying scope in several Austrian cultural forums in the period from 2022 to 2024. The individual exhibitions will be brought together in one large exhibition at the Lentos Art Museum in Linz in spring 2025.
Flag 8 | Gabon with Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Finland, Grenada and Georgia | Uli Aigner 2019 | 100 x 77 cm | Colored pencil on paper
FLAGS | EACH POPULATION IS A MULTINATIONAL ORGANISM
This is the title of the approx. 30-part series of medium and large format colored pencil drawings (and their digital reproductions) that I started working on in 2019. The total of 206 national flags - according to an alphabetical list of the United Nations - are converted into speculative forms in my drawings. They represent a dream: an anti-hierarchical cooperation of all states. Starting from the factual observation that every population is a multinational organism.
On the other hand, there is the nightmare that could materialize in a physical coexistence of all life on this planet, as in the 2018 film The Extinction by Alex Garland, meaning we are unable to comprehend. We learn from the natural sciences that bacterial strains are constantly changing people, plants and animals.
Quantum physics teaches us that there are no autonomous particles/bodies in the true sense. The theories of independent scientist, environmentalist and futurist James Ephraim Lovelock (The Man Who Named the World, 1990) and the theories of sociologist and philosopher Bruno Latour (ANT – Actor-Network Theory) forcefully introduce an expanded understanding of the possibilities of our planet and all life. The philosopher and literary scholar Armen Avanessian also formulated a speculative realism.
With my series FLAGGEN I offer a speculative surface. In my drawings I claim that nationhood is an obsolete system of order. The national state lies like a tattered dress over a destructive = renewing planet. While these nation-state clothes are maintained by state violence, I weave other narratives into this dress.
I want to create anti-chauvinist images. In the large-format drawings, 5-10 national flags are combined in alphabetical order to form organic structures. My first FLAGS (Nos. 1-12) refer to the plant photographs by Carl Blossfeldt. At the end of 1920 he published his manipulated plant photographs (“Urformen der Kunst und Wundergarten der Natur”). I counter Blossfeldt's idea that the construction of plants teaches what the ideal state should look like with the current facts of the multinational body politic. As an artist of the "New Objectivity", Blossfeldt was also accused of having paved the way for National Socialism.
The FLAGGEN series results from my experiences with the first ONE MILLION WORLD PERFORMANCE, which I was able to realize as part of the "100 Years Bauhaus Opening Festival" in January 2019 in the Academy of Arts, Berlin -> https://www.eine-million.com/en/news/akademie-der-kunste-100-years-bauhaus-the-opening-festival-one-million-world-performance/