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Africa Shafted in the Béton Exhibition in Vienna, Austria




25/6 2016 until

16/10 2016

We truly think your film “Africa Shafted. Under One Roof” illustrates the social perspectives of living in a landmark like Ponte in a poignant way. It would be a great contribution to our exhibition since it depicts a portrait of a community that consist of migrants from all corners of Africa that share not only the same residence but the same experience of being a foreigner. It reflects on the history of South Africa and illustrates how the purpose and the meaning of a landmark can shift over time. It would be an honor to include your film “Africa Shafted. Under One Roof” in the context of “Baton”.

Juliane Bischoff, Kunsthalle Wien

Kunsthalle Wien exhibition entitled “Béton” deals with modernist architecture and the social implications embodied in housing projects beginning from the 1950s.

In the 1950s and 60s, concrete was regarded as the epitome of modernism. An individual architectural style based on concrete established itself, so-called brutalism (originating from the French word for exposed concrete: béton brut). Brutalist architecture not only distinguishes itself through an expressive application of concrete but through a distinct social element; brutalist architecture stands for social housing, municipal educational establishments, cultural centers, and universities. Aiming to change society, brutalist architecture virtually gave shape to utopia. Today, many of the buildings built at the time are threatened with demolition; they are considered to have failed their purpose. In light of a modernism stained by dystopia, contemporary art once again carve out its original ideas, its euphoria, but also its failure. Not out of a nostalgic longing but for the sake of remembering that architecture was once more than enclosed space, and concrete was not merely a building material but was historically and ideologically charged.

The exhibition is curated by Vanessa Joan Müller and Nicolaus Schafhausen and will be on view from June 25 to October 16, 2016 at Kunsthalle Wien. Taking social housing projects as a point of departure, the exhibition will look at past architecture’s ambitions to change society for the better. Brutalism, an architectural style based on concrete, virtually gave birth to concrete forms of utopia, however many post-war buildings typical of this architecture are now under threat: by both demolition and slanderous remarks upon their shortcomings. Artists take up these concerns, throwing light on the historical and ideological underpinnings of this highly charged matter. The exhibition will feature works of more than 20 international artists, among others Heba Amin, Tom Burr, Cyprien Gaillard, Isa Genzken, Liam Gillick, Annette Kelm, David Maljkovic, Sofie Thorsen and Tobias Zielony.

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