BIG IDEAS – Political Ideologies and their aftermath

03/12/2020 – 08/01/2021    extended until 30/01!

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 visible through 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
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 landscapes. Instead of fading them out, Sarri Elfaitouri incorporates them into his collages consisting of neatly arranged living environments with golden backgrounds. “Radical Libyanism” is not only a critique of the radical Gaddafi era, but also a radical representation of today’s Libyan ideology.


Kosta Tonev, Dolls, video installation
24/01 – 30/01/2021 Special Indoor Screening, daily 3 – 7 pm  cancelled due to the prolonged lockdown 
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
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, 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:


supported by:




18/02 – 05/03/2021

CAUD طراحان کالبدی معاصر, Challenge Studio استودیو چلن, Daneshgar architects, einszueins architecture, Logical Process Office فرایند منطقی, Metamorphosis Method شیوه دگردیس, PPAG architects, querkraft architects 

travelling exhibition from Vienna to Isfahan

curated by Negar Hakim and MaanMemar (Elham Geramizadeh & Ehsaan Hosseini)

philomena+ project room, Heinestraße 40, 1020 Vienna

In the context of the COVID-19 virus, similar measures have been implemented worldwide to prevent the further spread of the virus. It is a far-reaching crisis which also heavily impacts our living spaces and, as a consequence, alters our perception or rather our needs and requirements for what we consider “home”. There is a sudden change in significance and value of space and its qualities. The function of spatial mobility, natural daylight, tranquillity, a balcony or a terrace, a kitchen, but also the layout of (outdoor) spaces acquires a new meaning. How are we going to approach it?

The exhibition “Staying home, but how? Vienna & Isfahan” addresses the question of what or rather how we can learn from the COVID-19 crisis, especially in terms of architecture. A glance at architectural history shows that epidemics, crises and catastrophes have had an impact on urban planning and architecture time and time again. Is this to be expected from the COVID-19 pandemic as well? How helpful and important would a global exchange to find innovative solutions to a worldwide problem be at this very specific time? Following recent experiences, what does the population wish for the architectural future? In all these complex decisions, the question must be asked, what role politics, architects and occupants have to take on.

philomena+ has chosen Vienna, in the centre of Europe, and Isfahan, in West Asia – with both cities’ historical city centres inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List – as representative places for the research and exchange for this exhibition and publication.

supported by:


BANAL COMPLEXITIES  تعقيدات  عادية
collaborative interventions around Praterstern
08/03 – 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

Taking everyday practices as a starting point, the art project “Banal Complexities تعقيدات عادية” dives into complex socio-political issues such as social inequalities, sexuality, religious rituals, or civil disobedience. 
Through public art interventions four newly formed intercultural artist-duos open up safe zones, where encounters and discussions will take place between artists, passers-by and residents in the second district of Vienna.