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Kunstverein Medienturm
Josefigasse 1, 8020 Graz

Tue-Sat 10 a.m.-1 p.m. & Wed-Fri 3-6 p.m.

March 4, 2010, 7 p.m.

March 18, 2010, 7 p.m.
2nd opening & catalogue presentation
Artist talk with Marc Ries
March 17-21, 2010
10 a.m.-7 p.m.

aktuelle kunst in graz
April 17, 2010
2 p.m. guided tour with Martin Hochleitner (director, Landesgalerie Linz)
3 p.m. artist talk with Martin Sturm (director, OK Linz)
April 16-18, 2010
10 a.m.-20 p.m.

May 7, 2010, 7 p.m.
Wer macht Stadt?
May 7, 2010, 3 p.m.
Local Heroes 8020, Symposium
May 7-8, 2010
10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Catalogue: Verlag Folio (Bolzano/ Vienna) ISBN 978-3-85256-517-0

Cooperation: Diagonale Festival des österreichischen Films, series CONCEPT FILM

Supported by:
BMUKK, art section; Styrian Government, cultural department; City of Graz, cultural department

Thanks to: U.S. Embassy Vienna

Press talk: March 04, 2010, 11 a.m., Kunstverein Medienturm, Graz

In the solo show SILENT ALIEN GHOST MACHINE MUSEUM, the conceptual artist and experimental film maker Norbert Pfaffenbichler (*1967 Steyr, lives in Vienna) exclusively presents new works which were conceived especially for the exhibition at the Graz-based Kunstverein Medienturm: a series of video- and spatial installations as well as photo works are on display.

Norbert Pfaffenbichler deals with the “other“, the dark, grotesque and sinister aspect of Modernity. Central to his analysis are, in this context, the “historical“ media of film and photography. These “key media” of the twentieth century are experimentally questioned with respect to their efficiency and validity in the present by use of today’s digital production means. Pfaffenbichler particularly is concerned with the “spatialisation” of these twodimensional image media. He systematically deals with phenomena which inevitably occur when (moving) images are presented within a three-dimensional (art) space. The artist uses different forms of expression and media which range from painting, photography, video, collage and assemblage up to cross-media, extensive installations. All works have decided historical references with interwoven personal biographical instants. His utterly subjective re-reading of the twentieth century’s history of film, art and ideas turns out conceptual and sensual alike.

The exhibition title SILENT ALIEN GHOST MACHINE MUSEUM refers to the medium of film which, here, is titled „ghost machine“. The mechanical apparatus presents “ghosts”, meaning disembodied, moving images of individuals who often died a long time ago. The characters are, at the same time, (visually) present and (physically) absent. In early times of film, the cinematographic apparatus was also employed by magicians in order to let appear ghosts on an open stage. It is not a coincidence that the great pioneer George Méliès pursued the profession of an illusionist before he made his career as film maker. The cinematic ghosts are not our own, but aliens arriving on the scene from “remote worlds and times”. The added term “silent” refers, on the one hand, to the silent movies. Films, in early times of the cinema were, however, never screened silently, but always were accompanied by music and/or narrations. The “silent” screenings of early films is a museum practice, which corresponds by no means to the original screening practice. In addition, “silent” denotes also the actual setting in the exhibition spaces, since all works will be screened or showcased without sound. The ironical addition “museum” terms, on the one hand, the historical dimension of the exhibition project and refers, in addition to that, also concretely to the spatial, “museum” staging of the individual works in the framing of the show. The history of the medium of film which has characterized the twentieth century like no other is reviewed with respect to the political and artistic developments of the era of Modernism. The first decades of the twentieth century are of special interest. The character of Charlie Chaplin, for example, appears in the context of several works.

“Charlie Chaplin is the emblematic figure of the cinema and to a certain extent also the figure of the good guy, the human who does not strive for power, nor has any. At the same time, however, through metamorphosis the other one exists, appearing from behind, meaning the absolute dread, Hitler, who dwells not outside but inside the humans." Youssef Ishaghpour

Film is a historical medium and right this historicity makes it that attractive for current media artistic operations. With its „primitive“ forms of narration“ and anarchistic contents, the early cinema virtually comes to mind. A grammar for the moving images still had to be developed, formal aesthetical conventions were not defined to an extent than they are today.

The operational starting point of the entire show is the systematic analysis of the cinematic means and procedures. The construction of the cinematic space and the proportion of the montage in this process are of particular relevance. The result of the heuristic work process is not a theoretical text, but are conceptual spatial installations and photographic works. Here, the entire human body is addressed; its proportions, the possible positions in space and the relation to the showcased works become part of the staging. The exhibition is conceived as walkable spatial installation, whereas the arrangement of the singular works follows a calculated dramaturgy of a particularly arranged course where relations of body, space and image are topicalised by means of changing shapes and materials. The visitors are encouraged to observe themselves when perceiving the works in order to question trained habits of perception and patterns of reception.

The exhibition SILENT ALIEN GHOST MACHINE MUSEUM is documented by a homonymous, richly illustrated catalogue published by Verlag Folio. The publication in German and English comprises texts by Nina Schedlmayer, Marc Ries, Norbert Pfaffenbichler and a preface by Sandro Droschl.

Norbert Pfaffenbichler’s exhibition is the third part of the series CONCEPT FILM presenting cinematic procedures and strategies within the exhibition context, which was started in the frame of the Diagonale 2009 with the homonymous exhibition of Dorit Margreiter and Ursula Mayer. CONCEPT FILM (II) took place at Arti et Amicitiae in Amsterdam presenting works of the artists Dariusz Kowalski, Ben Pointeker, Lotte Schreiber und Gebhard Sengmüller.

Norbert Pfaffenbichler

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Norbert Pfaffenbichler, Glasses, 2009. Silver gelatine print on Barytpaper, 9 x 9 cm, diptych.