Kunsthalle Wien Prize 2016

16/11 2016 — 8/1 2017

Margit Busch and Andrej Polukord receive Kunsthalle Wien Prize 2016

The Kunsthalle Wien Prize is a joint project of the University of Applied Arts Vienna, the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and the Kunsthalle Wien.

It was established in 2002 in co-operation with the University of Applied Arts Vienna. In 2015, it has been presented for the first time to one graduate of each of Vienna’s art academies.

The prize includes an exhibition in Kunsthalle Wien Karlsplatz as well as prize money in the amount of 3,000 euros for each artist. In 2016 the prize money is made available by HS art service austria and Deko Trend GmbH.

To accompany the exhibition, two catalogues containing interviews with the artists and texts written by jury members and installation views will be published by Sternberg Press Berlin.

The jury in 2016 consisted of: Nicolaus Schafhausen and Lucas Gehrmann (Kunsthalle Wien), who participated in both selection processes, as well as Rector Gerald Bast and Roland Schöny as external jury member for the University of Applied Arts Vienna and Professors Mona Hahn, Erwin Bohatsch and Lorenz “eSeL” Seidler as external jury member for the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.

Curator: Lucas Gehrmann

Installation view Kunsthalle Wien Prize 2016, Photo: Stephan Wyckoff: Margit Busch, Transcientistischer Arbeitsplatz, 2016, Courtesy die Künstlerin; Andrej Polukord, The Sarcophagus, 2016, Courtesy der Künstler

Margit Busch (*1964 in Germany, lives in Vienna) receives the Prize for her diploma project Welcome toTransciency at the University of Applied Arts Vienna (Prof. Virgil Widrich, Department of Art & Science). The multipartite installation IF-THEN-ELSE. Welcome to Transciency is a (re-)construction of the research laboratory and workplace of Else Sibil Somone, a scientist who was conceived by the artist and only exists in the future. In her work, Busch uses both traditional and innovative means to explore phenomena which cannot be grasped sufficiently with purely classic scientific methods. The discipline she calls Transciency, applies various perspectives and unconventional cognitive models – many of which are interdisciplinary in character – in order to reveal the transcendent nature of things beyond perception.
In Else’s Laboratory, one can find apparatuses designed to determine the present, space, matter, and energy. The laboratory also provides room for exploring trans-rational phenomena, and performing ecologically and economically relevant experiments. One of Else’s projects, for instance, involves mealworms which can survive feeding mainly on polystyrene. Behind her desk, viewers can see a Transmap
a map showing the distinct regions of Transciency, which are explained in a supplement. In the Mountains of Variable Perspectives, we learn that a travel destination is never a specific place, but rather a new perspective. In the Valley of Reflection, on the other hand, everything is reflected to the extent that it is impossible to tell what is real. And in the Oasis of Undecidable Questions the customary “if/then” and
“either/or” approach proves to be futile, as the only thing to go by is intuition. The final step on the map – the Bay of Relativity
is infinitely deep. Many a diver who attempted its exploration disappeared without a trace.

Andrej Polukord (*1990 in Vilnius, lives in Vienna and Vilnius) studied at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna with Prof. Gunter Damisch, Department of Graphic arts and printing techniques.
Polukord’s installations, performances, and videos are based on double meaning and ambiguities understood in a poetical sense, in order to evoke feelings of surprise and absurdity. In the course of the opening performance, a brick cube – The Sarcophagus – reveals something of its inside. Chances are what is revealed resembles the cavities from the artist’s video piece Höhlen (Caves), recommended by him as a bountiful treasure trove for mushroom hunters. At any rate, a picture he painted of an array of mushrooms was found in the Sarcophagus. The artist also lets mushrooms sprout from the ceiling of the exhibition room, thus transforming it into a forest floor – Andrej Polukord feels particularly at home in the forest, at least more so than in air-conditioned exhibition rooms. ‘I am especially interested in generating a sense of surprise and unpredictability’, says the artist who perceives absurd situations as fundamental enrichments, also of everyday life: ‘Absurdity frees us from the gravity which otherwise always determines our lives. Performance, of all art forms, should be close to real life, only then can it be emotionally effective and understandable.’