Mathias Poledna: A Village by the Sea

Mathias Poledna: A Village by the Sea

presented in Vienna Secession 27.2.- 21.4. 2013 a review of the exhibiton by Ren Fah

At first glance it appears to be a cinema, styled within an art context and indeed no surprise, it is.


Nowadays there seems to be some strange trend in contemporary art, that if you want to become known and recognised throughout the artworld AND DO MAKE SOME CASH WITH IT, you have to do films… Having this in mind, I went to the secession in vienna to meet mathias polednas latest oeuvre.

The commissioner of the austrian pavillion at the venice biennale – Jasper Sharp – sees in him one of the great austrian artists, who are in his words: “…ripe and on the edge to do there something now and not in twentyfive years.” …so he is one of those international living austrians who exiled and had international success but are not yet well known in their motherland and now as outsiders are voted by some brithish guy, to be the steckenpferd ridden by governement and state of austria, to do his thing at  one of the most commercial – but with attitude – festivals in the world – the biennale of venice, which is so to say a classical example of art basels all over the world.

What follows was an adaptation of given shallow amusement of last century´s hollywoods thirties and forties. Not analysing the grammar that was given there, nor the context, although it was technically perfect. SO here I am, in an empty black minimalized cinema lookalike, looking at a lookalike of a film, that never existed. Yeah, he rewrote Charles Trener´s song, but thats where it gets interesting and where the twist comes out, it is of course mildly critisizing the own message – but, not very thourough. Instead, Escapism and Phantasmagoria as it is written in the describing handout, which poses with numbers and facts of old hollywood references, but come on people, haven´t we all seen this redone better in the nineties by pulp with their epic video to the single “this is hardcore…”

So now this comes without any meta context or citing something political of that period, so it seems that f.e. even mad men more authentic or well written than this hollow rerun of former studio glory. At best a Readymade as we have to know of the folder it should appear… but as I mentioned before, the concept is NOT very new, and we´ve seen it all in nineties MTV, but this is 2013.

Well you might give a minute to talk about tropes and antithetics, and this as an epitaph for collapsing systems, and Russell Ferguson even thinks of Karl Marx, but this is where there is the real quality of doing such stiffy poses, comes out, the less you directly say something, the more the others can write about, and nothing else matters in the art economy. It is an economy with the currency of aufmerksamkeit whose fevercurve is the barometer of investors and cultural institutions. Sad for those, who dont want to go with the flow and swim against the stream. Who decides who is avant garde and who is recognised, with whom do you have to sleep to come into this position – you might ask, but this elusive club of decision makers is trying to glorify the attitude and effort, but not the so called inhalt.

The systems loves the most common denominator, because its bringing the best quote. So what comes out of this selling and profit interested money laundering scheme called artworld  is this resulting hybrid of art and real, like back in the forties and fifties, but without the following sixties this becomes just a pose.


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