monica bonvicini stages 'I cannot hide my anger' exhibition around a massive cube you can't enter
 

monica bonvicini stages 'I cannot hide my anger' exhibition around a massive cube you can't enter

the belvedere 21 museum of contemporary art in vienna presents I cannot hide my anger, an exhibition by monica bonvicini centered around a radical, space-consuming installation that raises controversial questions about society. exploring the architecture and exhibition history of the museum, the belrin-based artist has installed a massive cube wrapped in 112 aluminum sheets, which gives the exhibition its name and encloses the inside of the gallery room (over 1,600 m³), making it inaccessible to visitors and creating a negative space at its center.

monica bonvicini stages 'I cannot hide my anger' exhibition around a massive cube you can't enterall images by jens ziehe, © monica bonvicini and bildrecht vienna

 

 

since the mid-1990s, bonvicini has been investigating political, social, and institutional conditions and their impact both on society and on the conditions of artistic production, dealing with subjects such as architecture, gender roles, control mechanisms, and dispositifs of power, as well as how these behave in relation to one another. upon entering the I cannot hide my anger exhibition at belvedere 21, visitors first encounter the artist’s characteristic dry humor upon the cubical aluminum structure with hy$teria, a piece that explicitly uses language as a material, critically reflecting on and questioning it. by merely replacing the lettter S with a dollar sign, bonvicini opens up a vast discursive and political space and alludes to the frenzied state of the art market and consumer society in general.

 

 

 

on the other side of the aluminum walls of I cannot hide my anger, the print marlboro man reflects on the romantic and stereotypical male figure of the strong, freedom-loving cowboy. bonvicini portrays the cowboy near barbed wire, thereby combining this reactionary male stereotype with similarly resurrected right-wing ideologies that are driving geopolitical divisions by building walls and borders, a subject also referenced by the walls of the aluminum cube.

 

 

approaching the same theme more poetically, the sculpture double trouble comprises a metal bunk bed in which the mattresses have been replaced by three mirrors and a leather belt. often found in refugee camps and other transitional shelters, this kind of furniture is thus robbed of its restful function and no longer offers any privacy. in bonvicini’s work this simple design object becomes a symbol of social injustice and discrimination.

 

 

‘I cannot hide my anger is a political exhibition that has come at just the right time,’ notes curator axel köhne. ‘with anger and dry humor monica bonvicini reveals not only male-dominated power structures but also the consequences of our capitalist lifestyle—like climate crisis, migration, and the violence of (national) borders.’

 

 

like the mirrors in double trouble, the aluminum walls of I cannot hide my anger also have a reflective property: they generate distorted, fragmented, and unpredictable reflections of the artworks and the visitors. the current selfie trend is thwarted: on the surfaces the audience finds only vague similarities with their shadows alongside atmospheric displaced light and color that resemble a vehicle racing down a highway in los angeles at night.

 

‘every exhibition by monica bonvicini is simultaneously an intellectual and physical experience,’ explains belvedere 21 CEO stella rollig. ‘the artist redesigns spaces and confronts her audience with a constructed environment that makes it possible to come face to face with spatial planning and power structures. as a result she succeeds in exposing and questioning the legitimacy of narratives that have developed over time but that are perceived as natural.’

 

 

 

project info:

 

 

exhibition name: I cannot hide my anger

artist: monica bonvicini

curator: axel köhne

location: belvedere 21, arsenalstrasse 1, 1030 vienna, austria

duration: 28 june to 27 october 2019

opening hours: wed to sun 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. wed and fri to 9 p.m. (also on public holidays)

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