BIG IDEAS – Political Ideologies and their aftermath
03/12/2020 – 08/01/2021
Sarri Elfaitouri, Soukaina Joual, Yoshinori Niwa, Kosta Tonev
curated by Christine Bruckbauer and Elisabeth Piskernik
philomena+ project room, vitrine and garden, Heinestraße 40, 1020 Vienna
Due to the current governmental COVID-19 Regulations we adapted the exhibition scenography by presenting the art works in the big show window and on the pavement area in front of philomena+ !
The exhibition project BIG IDEAS deals with political ideologies and concepts for a better world. Often it was revolutionaries with promising visions, who gained a large number of followers, seized power and finally made their ideas the political programme of their country. They mostly failed and left a society in ruins.
BIG IDEAS brings together artists from several continents. Some of them were witnesses of a failed regime themselves and have been dealing with the subject artistically for several years.
Sarri Elfaitouri, Radical Libyanism, series of 10 digital collages
03/12 – 09/12/2020, philomena+ vitrine
The series “Radical Libyanism” by Sarri Elfaitouri showcases possible causes for the catastrophe, incoherence, and chaos in today’s Libya. The 24-year-old artist with an architectural and philosophical background reinterprets these attributes into new urban environments. Instead of fading them out, Sarri Elfaitouri incorporates them into his opulent collages consisting of neatly arranged living environments with a golden background reflecting utopian hope. “Radical Libyanism” is not only a critique of the radical era of the Libyan revolutionary politician Muammar Al-Gaddafi, but also of the difficult situation in the current day Libya.
Kosta Tonev, Dolls, video installation
10/12/ – 16/12/2020, philomena+ vitrine
Kosta Tonev’s artistic practice is characterized by a research-based examination of political issues. While in recent years it was the entry of liberal capitalism into the former “Second World” that was his interest, the Bulgarian-born artist, who lives in Vienna, now looks beyond Europe for this exhibition and delivers a play in which Mao and Gaddafi resurrect as mass-produced toy figures. In a turbulent, humorous conversation, the chairman and colonel reflect on their past rule, American imperialism, revolutionary ideas, and the fact that they may find themselves on the wrong side of history. There is also a competition in terms of the relevance/uniqueness of their ideas.
Soukaina Joual, The Arab World as Pieces of Meat, wall painting, executed by Thaer Maarouf
17/12/2020 – 08/01/2021, philomena+ project room
Strongly inspired by the world of butchery and the matter of meat itself, the Moroccan artist Soukaina Joual uses strange, disturbing and seductive images from slaughterhouses to question socio-political connections and grievances. Her wall painting The Arab World as Pieces of Meat in the exhibition depicts the Arab world through the figure of an ox. The ox, a symbol of strength, but also of submission and passivity, ready to be cut into numerous pieces.
Soukaina Joual’s painting refers also the Berlin Conference in 1885, at which the European states divided the African continent among them like pieces of meat only to then brutally exploit the colonized states. The artist refers to the consequences that are still visible today and criticizes a system that turned a region into a battlefield of extremist ideologies through political machinations.
Yoshinori Niwa, Releasing Euro Banknotes into the Danube River and Looking for them as Lost Items in the Countries Downstream, bill board
03/12/2020 – 08/01/2021, philomena+ garden
Yoshinori Niwa‘s works carry self-explanatory slogan-like titles and are mainly installed on the street and in public spaces. In recent years the artist has explored the history of communism and has been involved in projects that explore the nature of national history. Among his most famous works are, Looking for Vladimir Lenin in Moscow Apartments, 2012, and Withdrawing Adolf Hitler from a Private Space, created for the art festival steirischer herbst in 2018.
For BIG IDEAS, Yoshinori Niwa is starting a new billboard series in the public space of Vienna, with slogans inspired by Muammar al Gaddafi’s vision of a society without wage labour and the incident of 100.000 Euros found by Vienna police floating in the Danube.
in collaboration with:
collaborative interventions around Praterstern
01/01 – 30/09/2021
Oscar Cueto, Malek Gnaoui, Lisa Großkopf, Markus Hiesleitner, Soukaina Joual, Margareta Klose, Nourhan Maayouf, Bassem Yousri
curated by Christine Bruckbauer and Aline Lenzhofer