Artist: Cosima von Bonin
Venue: MUMOK, Vienna
Exhibition Title: HIPPIES USE SIDE DOOR. THE YEAR 2014 HAS LOST THE PLOT.
Date: October 4 – January 18, 2015
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna
In the fall of 2014 mumok will present the largest exhibition of works by Cosima von Bonin to date in Austria. Opening on October 3, 2014, this exhibition, HIPPIES USE SIDE DOOR. THE YEAR 2014 HAS LOST THE PLOT., will include more than 100 works by von Bonin, who was born in 1962 in Mombasa, Kenya, ranging from her earliest to completely new works. This retrospective exhibition will also show how von Bonin’s work has moved more and more in the direction of installations that increasingly come to take possession of the space they are placed in. Another typical feature of her work is a complex network of relations between the fine arts and music that she has established, including longstanding colleagues and friends in her exhibition projects. At mumok, Tocotronic and Phantom Ghost will accompany the exhibition with concerts, and two further new formations from von Bonin’s circle of friends and acquaintances, Die 3 Ypsilons and The Ypsilon Five, will perform at the exhibition opening on October 3. The mumok facade will gain a new balcony for this exhibition, with a vomiting figure standing on it.
On the Exhibition – Inside von Bonin’s Spinning Machine
This show is intended as a retrospective in which von Bonin’s oeuvre can be seen as a complex system full of allusions and references. In her works, von Bonin turns on a spinning machine that spits out reference after reference—to pop and high culture, and also to art history. This machine has quite clearly lost the plot. Very personal emotions enter via the side door, and—like ghosts—they play their games with the legacy of other artists. In her very first exhibition back in 1990, held in the exhibition space in Münzstrasse 10 in Hamburg and presented together with Josef Strau, von Bonin already asserted her own self-confident position vis à vis the male-dominated art world. The two artists filled the gallery with balloons on which they traced in felt- tip pen the names of important conceptual artists, their dates of birth, and dates of their first solo exhibitions. In this show, von Bonin placed herself very demonstratively on view—in a shop window.
The mumok show in Vienna includes a reconstruction of this Hamburg exhibition, and also further new editions of past shows: parts of von Bonin’s exhibition at the Cologne Kunstverein ZWEI POSITIONEN AUF EINMAL; a reconstruction of THE FATIGUE EMPIRE, which was first shown in 2010 at Kunsthaus Bregenz; and a new version of the last stage of von Bonin’s European tour, THE LAZY SUSAN SERIES (2010–2012).
Von Bonin resists the creativity mindsets of contemporary capitalism by cultivating an art of delegation. She rules over her ruinous empire like a couturier of a lost age.
Humorously paraphrasing Minimal Art, von Bonin had 70 men’s handkerchiefs sewn together to produce a full-wall tapestry that operated as a kind of protest against the formal severity of minimalist approaches. This work was first used in 1995 as the backdrop for the stage for the 1. GRAZER FÄCHERFEST, von Bonin’s first institutional solo exhibition. She was invited by the Graz Forum Stadtpark to show her own works, but instead organized a three-day happening together with 15 participants from Cologne.
Von Bonin’s congregation of stuffed animals will march into the Vienna show like her own entourage. Visitors will encounter a densely populated world of figures, and will accompany these on imaginary sailing trips. These creatures are brightly colored and some of them are made of the best designer materials. These squids, hares, and comic figures are only cute at first sight, and they are always pleasantly lethargic, lounging around in the museum space. Cosima von Bonin’s works frequently connote a sense of inability, incapacity, and even pointlessness. Through open saloon doors, questions and doubts as to identity and authenticity, contexts and frames of reference swing in. These works stand for the artist’s own decisions about her art, her “counteraction to the supposed active heroism of the [male] artist” (Oliver Basciano), and her immunity to all demands for continuous new artistic output.
A Balcony for mumok – Outside Installation
Anyone who has known the monolithic black basalt block of the mumok building since it was erected is in for a big surprise in October. During von Bonin’s exhibition, there will be a new balcony below the only window on the front facade of the museum. The artist’s first idea was to place a rocket ridden by a retching baby chicken on the museum roof, but in the meantime she has decided for a simple balcony of the kind often seen on single and multi-apartment dwellings. When we asked why she abandoned the very visible rocket for a sun balcony that might be overlooked at first sight, she answered in her typically restrained way, refusing to interpret her own work: “I have always thought that the museum needed a balcony.” On this new mumok balcony stands a rather clumsy and tense looking figure that von Bonin calls DER ITALIENER (THE ITALIAN). This figure has no resemblance to all the many other creatures behind the window and behind the DER ITALIENER that have occupied the museum, lounging on high seats and other items of furniture, drooping in exhaustion and sloth. This ITALIENER is a thin creature, standing there in a mix of bold grandezza and introverted introspection, and he is primarily an uncomfortable critic or a kind of agent provocateur. He is feeling unwell, and is retching. Whether this is because he has had enough of his toil and of himself, or he wishes to rebel against Cosima von Bonin and therefore stands with his back to her exhibition, or just because the height at which he is standing is too much for him, can only be decided by each visitor alone.