I don’t want to. I can’t. I mustn’t! Not now. Maybe I’ll come back to it tomorrow. We’re perpetually compelled to postpone what we would want, should do, might wish for. Acting hasn’t felt like this in a long time: like an uncertain proposition that’s presumably inappropriate just now and may well be just as inappropriate the day after tomorrow.
Fourteen tondos by Sophie Gogl hang from the ceiling at KOW like an intimate question addressed to our own time: What can wait? And at what cost? Or gain. Should I really do or see this now, do I have to, do I want to? Do I risk mold, depression, failure if I postpone myself, my action, my gaze? Is it anarchy to simply say no to the world’s requirement profiles at this particular moment? Or is that everyday life? “Not Now,” that’s the concise formula that a synoptic reading of Sophie Gogl’s pictures, letter by letter, yields. Telling us what we’ve known for quite some time: that there’s not a whole lot of room for action right now?
No. Gogl’s “Not Now” is not corona painting for an audience paralyzed by uncertainty. Nor is it “I would prefer not to,” the philosophically tinged formulaic refusal repeated by Melville’s Bartleby. What she does mean is in the end much blunter. Do I really have to do this now? Can I take a rain check? Can I do something else instead? Saying it opens up fresh intervals and interspaces of indeterminacy. And that’s where painting can take place.
The exhibition is realised with the support of the Austrian Cultural Forum Berlin.
Downstairs: The Bell Project
The history knows situations, when cannons were made out of the melted church bells in war times, as the access to bronze was limited. The proposal is to make a reverse transformation and bring back to Europe the metal used for making arms and weapons and give it a form of a bell. The oversized sculpture will be too large to be mounted in a facade. The dysfunctional church bell will rest on the adjacent ground, a silent object which can neither call for prayer, nor raise alarm about imminent dangers.
The person, whose history and activity was a trigger for a project is a Kurdish entrepreneur named Najad from a settlement south of Sulaimany. His childhood passion for melting metal became a source of income – his business and mission is to recycle the battlefield waste as a professional ironmaster. It is of a controversial nature as the business that made him a rich man selling metal moulds globally would not be possible without the Iraq-Iran war (1980-88) and both Gulf Wars (1991, 2003). Najad utilizes mines, bombs, bullets, parts of military planes and tanks as well as other remnants of military operations.
In the accompanying video, he leads us through the world of his work and his life. What unfolds is his practical experience throughout the years that has accumulated a significant body of knowledge about both the metal itself and the circulation of the original weapons from which it was obtained.
Text by Hiwa K and Aneta Szylak
KOW Joint Ventures
Milena Büsch, Simon Lässig, Vera Lutz
presented by FELIX GAUDLITZ, Vienna
FELIX GAUDLITZ is a Vienna-based gallery exhibiting international emerging and established artists. The publishing house saxpublishers, which was co-founded in 2014 by Felix Gaudlitz and graphic designer Alexander Nussbaumer is adjacent to the gallery space and regularly publishes artists’ books and historical essays and hosts readings, lectures, book launches and film screenings in conjunction with the gallery. For Joint Ventures the gallery will show new works by Milena Büsch, Simon Lässig and Vera Lutz. On the occasion of the event, saxpublishers will launch Möbel und Lampen, Milena Büsch’s most recent artist’s book, and will present recent publications and editions.
Milena Büsch (*1980) lives and works in Frankfurt and Berlin. Recent exhibitions include Floater, Galerie der Stadt Schwaz, AT, 2021; apartmeant, forgo, Berlin, DE, 2020; Battle Royale, FELIX GAUDLITZ, Vienna, AT, 2019; Milena Büsch, Geld, London, UK, 2019
Simon Lässig (*1992) lives and works in Berlin. Recent exhibitions and projects include Not working, Kunstverein München, DE, 2020, projections with Vera Lutz, Nousmoules, Vienna, AT, 2019; Simon Lässig, FELIX GAUDLITZ, Vienna, AT, 2019 and Darcy Lange: Work Studies in Schools, Mavra, Berlin, DE, 2019
Vera Lutz (*1992) lives and works in Berlin. Recent exhibitions include Caspar, Sgomento Zurigo, Zurich, CH, 2020; ZTU⅃, Piper Keys, London, UK, 2019; projections with Simon Lässig, Nousmoules, Vienna, AT, 2019; LUTZ, FELIX GAUDLITZ, Vienna, AT, 2018