curated by Luca Lo Pinto

Kunsthalle Wien

Oct 30 – Nov 1, 2020 

Share on:

Press Release

The 1990s: Think raves, when sportswear hits high fashion and unisex styles became popular, when political activism grew in the wake of the global AIDS crisis, and the end of the Cold War signaled the reorganisation of the world, think of the reunification of Germany, and how the mass-production and use of mobile phones came into being, as well as the prevalent spread of the Internet. Yet the nineties also appear to mark a point in history where the time horizon curves, and the future and the past seem set in some kind of loop. From then on, there is seemingly nothing culturally significant that hasn’t existed before, albeit in slightly different guises.

Time Is Thirsty is a journey through time and space in the form of an exhibition: A complex ensemble of contemporary artworks and artefacts from the early 90s – more precisely from 1992, the founding year of the Kunsthalle Wien.

Time Is Thirsty presents an immersive time-space in which the boundaries between the decades become unstable: Whether we are dealing with a relic from the 90s or a present-day phenomenon, what we encounter remains uncertain. Something that may perhaps be almost thirty years old, can be sewn almost seamlessly with the fabric of today.

In addition to the works of art and artefacts on display, atmospheric and ephemeral elements also feature to further heighten the senses of the years around 1990 in the exhibition. For instance, the Norwegian artist and smell scientist Sissel Tolaas reconstructs the smell of Vienna in 1992 to be dispersed in the exhibition hall. The British musician and founder of the independent label Mego, Peter Rehberg, and the Italian electronic music duo Vipra, each compile playlists that will acoustically accompany the exhibition. The designer Fabio Quaranta picks out an assortment of characteristic clothing from the nineties and contemporary garments of today to be worn by the visitor service team of Kunsthalle Wien.

The seminal exhibition Tattoo Collection will be partly reactivated within the context of Time Is Thirsty. The project evolved in 1991, initiated by Florence Bonnefous and Édouard Merino of Air de Paris together with Gilles Dusein of Urbi et Orbi. The exhibition first took place in the summer of 1992 at Galerie Jennifer Flay, in Paris, and subsequently showed at Daniel Buchholz in Cologne, and Andrea Rosen Gallery in New York. Hundreds of artists submitted drawings and ideas for tattoos towards the project, which were then unveiled in the gallery exhibitions with the possibility of acquiring the works and permanently realising the tattoos, in some cases rendered according to specific terms outlined by the artists. Most remained as sketches and have still yet to be acquired and created. Ten of the original works will be realized in Time Is Thirsty, in homage to the 1992 exhibition. The tattoos will come to life by being permanently etched on, and worn, by the participating bodies. The pieces are of political and art-historical relevance in equal measure.

The exhibition will also feature the historical work Felix Gonzalez–Torres, “Untitled” (It’s Just a Matter of Time), 1992. The billboard was originally exhibited in Hamburg in conjunction with the exhibition Gegendarstellung – Ethics and Aesthetics in Times of AIDS. It consists of a black background with white text in Gothic typeface inevitably linked to German history. The piece will be installed on several commercial billboard locations across the city of Vienna.

Time Is Thirsty offers an expansive installation of art, language, smell and sound, artefacts and everyday objects, in which the timelines shift and the past, as well as the speculative future, seem to merge into one another: a repertoire of gestures and emotions which can resonate physically and mentally as an MDMAdeleine to be swallowed. A kaleidoscope of signs between which one can lose oneself.

Ausstellungsansicht: Time Is Thirsty, Kunsthalle Wien 2019, Foto: Kunsthalle Wien 
Jason Dodge, Glasses, 2019. Photo: Kunsthalle Wien 
Cara Benedetto, AngryPorn, 2016, Courtesy of Chapter Gallery, New York and Night Gallery, Los Angeles; Georgia Sagri, Open Wound, 2018, Courtesy die Künstlerin & Collection 49 Nord 6 Est, FRAC Lorraine, Metz; DIE DAMEN, Fleck, 1992, Courtesy die Künstlerinnen; i ready made appartengono a tutti ®, Pubblicità, pubblicità, 1988, Courtesy Jan Mot, Brüssel. Photo: Kunsthalle Wien 
Installation view: Time Is Thirsty, Kunsthalle Wien 2019, Photo: Kunsthalle Wien: Anna-Sophie Berger, time that breath cannot corrupt, 2019, Courtesy Galerie Emanuel Layr, Wien/Rom, and JTT Gallery, New York 

Xavier Aballí, Lutz Bacher, Nick Bastis, Cara Benedetto, Anna-Sophie Berger, Maurizio Cattelan, Claude Closky, DIE DAMEN, Jason Dodge, Robert Flack, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Adam Gordon, i ready made appartengono a tutti ®, Ann Veronica Janssens, Pierre Joseph, On Kawara, La Blonde, Dorothea Lasky, Eva Marisaldi, Franco Mazzucchelli, Matthew McCaslin, Elisabeth Mercier, Eileen Myles, Fabio Quaranta, Peter Rehberg, Willem de Rooij, Georgia Sagri, Julia Scher, Heji Shin, Mladen Stilinović́, Sissel Tolaas, Gavin Turk, Vipra, Chris Wilder

Featured Image
Jorit Aust: Nick Bastis, Old Work, 2019, Courtesy the artist and Ermes-Ermes, Vienna

Here, in the building where Georges Bizet wrote his masterpiece Carmen in 1875, Matt Copson premieres a bildungsroman opera in three laser-projected parts: Age of Coming, Coming of Age and Of Coming Age. His opera tells the story of a baby at odds with a vengeful god, who tries to convince him that life is miserable and cruel, and nothing more. On view High Art, Paris
Sørlandets Kunstmuseum, Kristiansand
Der Tank of the Art Institute, Basel
Lafayette Anticipations, Paris
Kunsthalle Lissabon, Lisbon
JTT, New York
Édouard Montassut, Paris
Avant-Garde Institute, Warsaw