A fascinating kaleidoscope of shapes, colours and impressions. The "Gebilde" exhibition in Vienna
On Wednesday, 26 June 2019, 140 art lovers, friends, customers and colleagues came together for a sneak preview of an exhibition hosted by foryouandyourcustomers in Vienna. The event gave attendees the opportunity to mingle with the four artists behind the “Gebilde” exhibition, spend time with other guests and enjoy the works on display, which all centre around form, shape and structure.
“The art has to work in harmony with the surrounding environment: it has to have space, the scope to come into its own, to unfold and change the space it has been given.” It’s a task that curator and artist Sali Oelhafen has “handled beautifully” in the eyes of art historian Lisa Ortner-Kreil. From now until next May, the foryouandyourcustomers Vienna office will be home to a kaleidoscope of shapes, colours and impressions. The works are by various artists, from different creative phases, and brought to life through a wide variety of media including paintings, photography and object art. Despite their undisputed individual achievements and the uniqueness of their works, the exhibitors do have one thing in common: “The artists have remained true to a single form of expression over the years and yet still managed to evolve. And this is exactly what we do here at foryouandyourcustomers: we’re constantly developing without ever losing sight of who we are,” explained Board Member Robert Josef Stadler in his welcoming address.
“Gebilde”: special in its own way
“Gebilde” is not the first group exhibition to be hosted at – and created for – foryouandyourcustomers Vienna, but it’s certainly a special one in some ways. Four Austrian artists, all from Vienna and including two employees of foryouandyourcustomers in Sali Ölhafen and Tina Lechner, were offered a platform to showcase their work and were introduced to the visitors by the art historian in her introductory speech.
“The malleable body is the golden thread that shines throughout this exhibition,” explained Lisa Ortner-Keil from Kunstforum Wien in her address. “Tina Lechner covers female models in elaborate paper sculptures for her analogue black and white photographs, conceptualising the human body and transforming it into abstract warriors of the self like something straight out of science fiction. Sali Oelhafen takes round, interconnected shapes and transforms them into paintings, metal objects and cardboard pieces that unfold their simple magic within the space. In Eduard Tauss’ bodies of colour and coloured panels, his picture-perfect working material becomes a testament to itself in its poured, bent, folded and crumpled forms. Last but not least, Zea Fio injects organic-looking colour surfaces into her meticulously executed drawings, which seem to evidence the existence of an unconscious, secret world. The exhibition combines painting, drawing, photography and sculpture into an exciting conundrum. The artists’ very different works are united by their consistent reflection on a corporeal entity whose form they constantly redefine.”
In terms of numbers, the Vienna hub is home to 48 works that can be viewed, explored and experienced across 13 offices spanning around 300 square metres of space. In terms of the impact on the guests, reviews of the preview event included “wonderful”, “a truly unique collection and incredibly inspiring”.
“I would describe myself as a regular at the preview events hosted by foryouandyourcustomers,” commented one guest without tearing his eyes away from Tina Lechner’s “Sylvester”. “The synergy of art and space we have here creates a special vibe – I’ve never come across an office with an atmosphere like this before. The art communicates across each of the individual rooms. Depending on how you look at it, it has the power to connect, separate, close off and create new relationships,” he went on to say. But as the guests made their way through each of the spaces, they were inspired by more than just the way the pieces are arranged in the light-flooded rooms of this old building, with its herringbone parquet flooring, white walls and high stucco ceilings: “Especially in times of digital art, the selection of these artists and their works makes for a soothing and sensually enriching change. In fact, you could go as far to say that it stands in stark contrast to all that is digital,” commented one visitor. “With Tauss’ minimalist, sculptural works of flowing colours, Zea Fio’s peaceful drawings, and Tina Lechner’s photographs of vulnerable-looking, enveloped human bodies next to Sali Oelhafen’s object art. It is a fantastic opportunity to be able to experience the works of each individual artist on display here in their own right, but to enjoy all four together on my first visit to the exhibition? I think it’s more than I can take in all at once; it’s almost an overload of stimuli, so I will definitely have to come again!”