Exhibition

Prosperous Poison. On the Feminist Appropriation of the Austrian Unconscious

10 Sep 2015 – 24 Apr 2016

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Structured as a narrative, exhibition Prosperous Poison arranges the holdings of mumok’s collection from 1945 to the present into five chapters.

About

Careful study of the artworks themselves, the artistic positions associated with them, and the structure of the collection as a whole brought to light the cultural, social, political, and economic developments and discourses that had influenced the works and their collection history. Questions came up: How to handle the texts, facts, pictures, how to turn them to one’s own purposes? And how to confront one’s own ambivalence—between desire and critique?

Feminist appropriation here means finding a way to circumvent the mere reproduction of existing categories in art and the history of culture without turning away from them completely. Such gestures in part already show up in established artistic practices included within the collection and among its protagonists. In addition, the curators deploy a strategy of feminist appropriation when other works, too, are reinterpreted or put into this context. This leads towards an assertively queer affirmation that simultaneously draws attention to gaps and blind spots.

The works in the collection here function as material in which the traces of an “Austrian unconscious” repeatedly emerge. Similarly, the exhibition architecture allows the past to be recognized in the present, in that it takes over and repurposes the installation design of the previous exhibition My Body is the Event: Vienna Actionism and International Performance (6.3.–23.8.2015).

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