SAMMLUNG FRIEDRICHSHOF premises in Zurndorf, as well as at the STADTRAUM in Vienna present an extensive show of Helmut Lang´s latest works, on view for the first time in Austria. For his exhibition Various Conditions, Lang has designed concepts of space based on the dualism of black and white.
The exhibition space in Zurndorf is dominated by white. The white, relief-like wall panels made from resin, fabric and enamel and the whitewashed forms of phallic sculptures plunge the room into contemplative silence. Complementing this is the black dominated STADTRAUM in Vienna. There the wall is clad in black panels and the space itself is defined by arrow-like black sculptures. A video in which black and white come together connects the two concepts.
Helmut Lang´s sculptures and objects oscillate between figuration and abstraction. They borrow from some forms of classical sculpture (wall reliefs, freestanding sculptures) and ritual objects (idols), which he deconstructs, abstracts and transforms during his artistic work process. Essentially, this is achieved via the radical reduction of form and colour, through decontextualisation, which is based on the variable integration of objects and sculptures into superordinately installative space design, and by the use of predominantly readily available materials such as scrap metal, fabric or industrial waste.
Lang has stated he prefers materials "with a certain history, elements with irreplaceable presence and with scars and memories of a former purpose."
The fabric scraps he moulds with resin into sculptures are, for example, the remains of his archive Seance de travail, which he shredded in an act of creative destruction in order to generate from it something new.
Lang´s dealings with material allows for contextualisations with Vienna Actionism, in which material collages and structural studies of a wide variety of materials play an essential role according to the equation matter = colour. Everything is material and is treated equally, whether it is mud, scrap, food, blood or, as a further consequence, the body.
Helmut Lang has exhibited since 1996 in Europe and the United States, among others, at the Florence Biennale, Florence (1996); Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (1998); The Journal Gallery, New York (2007); kestnergesellschaft, Hanover (2008); The Fireplace Project, Long Island (2011); Schusev State Museum, Moscow (2011); Mark Fletcher, New York (2012); Deste Foundation, Athens (2013); Sperone Westwater, New York (2015/2017) and Dallas Contemporary, Dallas (2016).