Space. About a Dream was an exhibition at the Kunsthalle Wien. Taking the 50th anniversary of the Yuri Gagarin‘s flight into space as the occasion, the exhibition looks at how space has inspired us – in art, dream and science. There are paintings, videos and installations.
The exhibition starts with a timeline of space travel and a snippet of 2001: A Space Odyssey (of this scene in particular, which means that there was a one minute or so loop of the Blue Danube Waltz which must have driven the people working there completely mad). It then quickly goes to cover a lot of art forms and styles and I really enjoyed myself. It had the perfect length for an exhibition (though I admittedly skipped most of the video installation. Especially the three hours of circular camera movement. Though there was also a complete recording of Orson Welles‘ The War of the Worlds) and there was a lot of cool art. Also, did you know about Henrietta Swan Leavitt and the Harvard Computers?
In the end it was an exhibition that left me elated and inspired and smiling. I’m sorry that I went on the last day to see it because I seriously wanted to tell everyone that they should go and check it out.
[Vladimir Dubossarsky & Alexander Vinogradov: Cosmonaut No 1]
After the jump find my favorite pieces. [Since there are a whole lot of them, this post is pretty long.]
Angela Bulloch created the night sky over the planet Gliese 581 c.12 using LED lights. While the different star constellations didn’t throw me off – because I just don’t know our star constellations enough to know the difference – I thought it looked really wonderful. I would like to have a wall or a ceiling in my apartment look like that.
There were a couple of pieces by Jen Liu, where I mostly enjoyed the titles. Like this one, which is called:
The Sweet Spring, Is The Year’s Pleasant King; Then Blooms Each Thing, Then Maids Dance In A Ring, Cold Doth Not Sting, The Pretty Birds Do Sing. Cuckoo, Jug-Jug, Pu-We, To-Witta-Woo!
and this one:
Winter is icumen in, Lhude sing Goddamm, Raineth drop and staineth slop, And how the wind doth ramm! Sing: Goddamm
Another entry in the “awesome title” department was Gianni Motti‘s “Higgs à la recherche de l’anti-motti”. The video itself (of him walking along the Large Hadron Collider) is not very exciting, but that title is pure brilliance.
There were also a few more pieces by Dubossarsky and Vinogradov, which I liked a lot. Apart from Cosmonaut No 1 above, there were The First Flowerbed:
The Earth Wins:
And Tea is Ready:
There was Pawel Althammer‘s Kosmonauta 1: a project where he dressed up in a self-built space suit and walked around the city, filming people’s reaction, which was pretty cool.
Nives Widauer built a map of the world out of globes (Global Globes), which is an idea I just loved.
For “A Machine of Perpetual Possibility” Julieta Aranda shredded SciFi novels and displays the dusty remains of that work – which is all kinds of weird, but also a little awesome.
There was a photo by Thomas Ruff, of the star 07H 48M/-70°. It’s pretty. :)
There were a few paintings by Keith Tyson which were brilliant. My favorite was this one:
There were a couple of pieces by Lena Lapschina – one of them a pretty funny mural, the other an installation, most of which left me cold but a part was really creepy: there was a uniform hanging at the wall, a telephone on a desk and a child’s voice repeating in an endless loop, “Gagarin, come in. This is not a joke. Gagarin please come in.” etc. Gave me the shivers.
There was a couple of photos from Simon Patterson‘s Manned Flight project. He built a kite with Gagarin’s name printed on it and showed it in various crash locations. [Since Gagarin died in a plane crash, this is wonderfully macabre.]
But I think my highlight of the exhibition was William Kentridge‘s Journey to the Moon. A short film, a mix of animation and acting with beautiful, wonderful music by Philip Miller [you can download the music at that link].
Here’s a kinda video of it:
Wonderful ending to a great exhibition.