Simon Preston is pleased to present Let’s Call It Heimat, the first solo exhibition of work at the gallery by Austrian artist Hans Schabus. The show will open to the public on Sunday 29 April and run until Sunday 15 June, 2012.
Hans Schabus is known for his ambitious, radical gestures to deconstruct and restructure space. The studio often appears as the matrix of his work, a place of conflict, where life and thinking are transformed into sculptural space and material. Simultaneously fertile and challenging, the intimacy of this space is referred to in the show’s title. ‘Heimat’ is a German word with no direct English translation. It denotes the relationship of a person towards a certain spatial social unit. People are bound to their ‘heimat’ by their birth and childhood. It is fundamental to the formation of a person’s identity .
Many of these preoccupations merge in the large-scale cinematic video titled ‘Atelier’. Beginning with a succession of broad outdoor establishing shots to the soundtrack of a Western: horses, Mexican singing, a village band, fragments of dialogue, etc., the video is a meticulous shot-for-shot re-creation of the infamous shootout scene from ‘The Wild Bunch’, the 1969 American Western. The original scene, notable for its pioneering and intricate multi-angle editing, is transposed to the artist’s studio in Vienna. As the editing of the shots accelerate towards the denouement, the intensity of gunshot fire contrasts with the still, empty images of a disciplined, austere studio. Temporal and spatial cuts are interrupted by an architectural intervention in the gallery, purposefully de-centering the viewer and further invoking the artist’s exploration of spatial experience. Accompanying the video is an original framed movie poster, re-folded to highlight the film’s enduring, political theme.
In the front gallery, a work titled ‘Béton’, is shown on a floor-based monitor. In contrast to the human absence in ‘Atelier’, this video shows the artist filling a mysterious hole in his studio: carrying aggregate, mixing cement and troweling the surface. In 2003, for an earlier work titled ‘The Shaft of Babel’, the artist dug a hole to create a tunnel from his studio to the underground sewers in Vienna. In 2008, he re-filled the hole in a symbolic exercise to conserve a trace of the original creative act.
Coinciding with his exhibition at the gallery, Schabus is included in The Locus of Control, curated by Patrick Gibson, a group exhibition at The Austrian Cultural Forum, New York, from 30 April – 5 May, 2012.
Hans Schabus was born in 1970 and lives and works Vienna, Austria. He has exhibited internationally, most notably representing Austria at the 2005 Venice Biennial. He has recently participated in the Colombo Art Biennale, Colombo, Sri Lanka; Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany; Biennale of Sydney 2008, Syndey, Australia; Liverpool Biennial 2006, Liverpool, England; Turin Triennial 2005, Turin, Italy.
Recent solo presentations at SITE Sante Fe, New Mexico; Secession, Vienna; MAK Center Los Angeles; The Curve, Barbican. London; Kerstin Engholm Galerie, Vienna; Galerie Jocelyn Wolff, Paris; Zero, Milan and James Cohan, New York. The artist has also exhibited at numerous international institutions including Witte de With, Rotterdam; CoCArt Centre of Contemporary Art Znaki Czasu, Torun, Poland; Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Detroit, USA; Institut d’art Contemporain, Lyon, France; Wien Museum, Austria; Santiago de Compostela, Spain; MUMOK / Museum of Modern Art, Vienna, Austria; Art Metropole, Toronto, Canada.