HOME IS SO FUCKING COMPLICATED at Galerie Nathalie Halgand, Vienna

In his Letter on Humanism, Martin Heidegger declared that, “Language is the House of Being”. For the philosopher, language signifies both the essence of humanity and the dwelling of humans. Intrinsically linked to Heidegger’s understanding of language and the home is his lament view that defined postwar modernity as a state of homelessness, in which man lost his shelter and thus became a stranger to his own thought and language. Yet, it is exactly through thought and language that the concept of home and homecoming is developed. It is in this vein that the exhibition explores how language yields functions of home and cultural identity, as well as ideas of placement and displacement.

Ethan Hayes-Chute builds elaborate constructions, such as wall reliefs, portable interiors, full-sized cabins and tree houses using found materials that disentangle notions of home as a site of shelter or an alternative model of living. The self-contained environments are dressed with meticulously places familiar and unfamiliar items. Semantic clues in written labels and typed fragments convey a sense of humor, stemming from a bizarre inner logic that tips towards the absurd.

In the spatial interventions by Pilar Quinteros, past, present and future collide. The artist builds missing urban elements, duplicates existing ones and reconstructs large fragments of buildings that were destroyed or never completed. Permeated by thorough research and poetic freedom, it is her two-dimensional drawings and videos that capture the otherwise ephemeral quality of her trivial materials. Quinteros creates a dialectic framework of placement and displacement, imagination and reality, which reminds us that man-made structures are of fleeting endurance.

Investigating traces of personal language by merely sharing clues, imageless or silent indications defines Stéphanie Saadé’s intimate approach. Her work carries forth a private and autobiographical narrative that disguises past and at the same time uncovers present notions of homeland. Blending precious with ordinary materials allude to both sacred and cultural associations, as if Saadé wanted to hold on to valued traditions.

James Webb’s multidisciplinary practice focuses on the recontextualisation of language. Specifically, he explores its use in religious and philosophical belief systems prevalent in contemporary society. In lyrical sound pieces, subtle interventions and refined installations the artist creates conceptual settings where imaginative space overlaps with physical space that make the unhomely homely.

The exhibition looks at ideas of home as a linguistic and social construct. Drawn from life, memory and imagination, the works in the exhibition reflect a diversity of physical and psychological structures that become vehicles to form as much as preserve identity, culture and history.

 

Home is so fucking complicated
Ethan Hayes-Chute, Pilar Quinteros, Stéphanie Saadé, James Webb
Curated by Samuel Leuenberger

Galerie Nathalie Halgand, Vienna