Sovereignty in Chaos
11 december 2019 - 3 january 2020

Kunstraum LLLLLL Verein für Kunst der Gegenwart
Seidlgasse 14, 1030 Vienna, Austria

This exhibition is not only concerned with how our global governing bodies are free falling from one catastrophe to the next, but it also draws on Neurohacker Jordan Greenhall’s strategy of self determination and drawing the idea of Sovereignty inward. By using our individual agency to contribute to collective multimodal action, we can ride the storm of flux that we increasingly find ourselves caught up in.

All of the artists in this exhibition: Julia Belova, Katharina Cibulka, Luisa Kasalicky, Gašper Kunšič, Christiane Peschek and Céline Struger offer alternatives to our predetermined frameworks.

As democracy rose in strength, placing power in the hands of the people, we realised that there could be no peace without law, and these laws inherently bound Sovereignty's powers. Alarmingly, today these democracies are struggling- slipping back towards authoritarian control, while simultaneously social structures such as politics, gender, identity, religion, and even basic premises of truth and justice- are now mercurial and we need to reconsider our positions on what we thought we knew, and why we believed it in the first place. The adjustment of these structures is typically considered to be a paradigm shift, and today these paradigms are collapsing too quickly and we cannot adjust quickly enough leaving us in a period of crisis.

To respond efficiently we must perceive reality, then use our perception to create meaning and finally - take direct and efficient action. Katharina Cibulka’s almost activist practice addresses the need for creative (= active) re-authorization in a time of unreasonableness- symbolic of this is her plaque that reads “"Vivat Ratio / Irratio” (To Live Ir/rationally). Her work sees injustice - the way women are treated in the artworld, or artists not being paid, but then uses her visibility to call this out, and change the status quo. Christiane Peschek’s “Girls Club” 2019 also has agency to redefine normalised conditions of female beauty -  in an act of rebellion that rejects the objectification of the female face, she distorts selfies taken with plastic surgery apps to a point where she can no longer be recognised.

By Sovereignty, Greenhall doesn’t just mean independence of thought and action, but also a deeper sense of integrity beyond ego and ideological frameworks. Instead of there being a hierarchy, we need to work simultaneously - be multimodal, collaborative with no ownership. Blockchain is one example of this decentralisation, and we should apply this way of thinking to  our relationship with machines, animals, and vegetation. Celine Struger’s “Limbic Resonance” and “Tender Prey” (2019) raises the question of who is doing the reclaiming (e.g. marginalised groups, future generations, alien invaders, machines, nature) and at the expense of whom. The works exhibited indicate vegetal growth and tackle issues such as animacy and mimicry. 

Each generation has to take responsibility for their actions and recognise that the societal structures that worked before no longer do - we cannot strive to return to the past and instead should anticipate the future.  In “Medley: Silber” (2016) Luisa Kasalicky reimagines old structures, environments, architecture. A painter, yet her works rarely conform to a two dimensional painting frame. While simultaneously dismantling old structures, we also need to employ the notion of the “myth” more readily. We used to use allegories to represent morality (religion is representative of this), but in a secular society that is facing extinction we need to utilise this method of communication once again to unite us against seeming abstract notions of the End Time. In "Upward Tears" and “Silent Mountain" (2019) Gašper Kunšič delves into source material discovered in archives and breathes new life into it by inserting nostalgia, melancholy and loss. The emotions that are woven into the symbols and situations could be read as a strategy of the feminine - destroying the predetermined framework of gender constructions.

Another aspect of Kunšič’s practice is to dismantle our depiction of heroes- in ancient times a man had to appear strong and brave, but now society considers men to be strong when they show weaknesses. Society needs to adopt to these traditionally “feminine” qualities - we need to nurture and care for ourselves, each other and our environment. This is the most crucial strategy Greenhall prescribes -  we have to give space and energy to the rise of the feminine. Julia Belova’s “More Tenderness...More” (2017) explores femininity, creating soft sculptures which are very tender, erotic and powerful at the same time. The phallic forms made out of white fabric, velvet and plastic-  decorated with pearls, sequins and plumage. Verging on the edge of kitsch, her work is a challenge to cult of the phallus. By extension, this is not the idea of the feminine as an attribute that only cis females have. It is a restructure of the framework that we have been living with. The feminine, once deemed as weak, now is a universal power that we can all employ and is crucial to our survival.
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In 2015, Christoph Srb and Reinhold Zisser founded an artist run space in Seidlgasse 14, 1030 Vienna. The name of the space □□□□□■ (also written LLLLLL) was created from the light boxes which are attached to the exterior facade. In 2018 Zisser started an artistic project that used his artist run space as material for a conceptual artwork, by showing off the room at Parallelvienna, transferring these light boxes as a central element of a room installation to the fair. The following offer was made there: Each artist, each curator, who has the symbol, the name of the space □□□□□■ tattooed received a solo exhibition in 2019.