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25.02.2015 - 26.04.2015
The vertices of Michael Höpfner’s oeuvre (the artist was born in 1973 in Langenlois) are generated by a dynamic of deceleration, by reduction and retreat, by the exploration on foot of “foreign” territories and forms of life, and by the questioning of categories of perception and thought accompanying this process. In his months of wandering, Höpfner passes through the remotest regions of the Earth – desert-type, thinly populated terrain in West China and Central Asia, places on the margins of civilisation that defy global progress, only to be caught up by it in the end. In his photographs and diary notes Höpfner documents individual experiences of space and time that eradicate the images of the “exotic” moulded by western colonialism, likewise the wish-fulfilment projections of a type of nature that is authentic and untouched.
For his exhibition Lie down, Get up, Walk on/Niederlegen, Aufrichten, Gehen in the tresor of the Bank Austria Kunstforum, Höpfner roamed through the high altitude plateau of Chang Tang in the western Chinese province of Qinghai, which he sketches as follows: “I follow the few paths and roads on the plateau – 4000 metres high – that is walked and driven along by nomads, gold seekers, pilgrims, miners and the military. The nomads have entered into a bond with this landscape – they try to understand and signify the places differently from the way the new inhabitants do. For several years, a strange and brutal juxtaposition of pre-modern culture and post-modern consumer society has thus been trying to survive in this endless stretch of country. As I roam through it, I am of course preoccupied with my own physical and psychological efforts and stress, but also with the traces of those who live there or who are there only temporarily. The title refers to everyday human movements – which however could be interpreted in a different way: walking on as flight; lying down in order to subject oneself; getting up out of protest.”
Curator: Heike Eipeldauer
Opening: February 24th 7.30 pm
13/05/2015 - 12/07/2015