One of the phenomena to emerge from the transformations we have become accustomed to calling globalization is the challenge the individual is confronted with of trying to localize himself, in other words, to maintain a functioning sense of place. Without a doubt, the increased mobility of people, markets, images and ideas does not pose the same challenges to businesspeople as it does to the artists swept up in the global circus of biennials, or to migrants. Nonetheless, it is evident that various groups are directly affected by the changing speed and rhythm of transnational movement, by the need to adapt to different environments and to be in one way or another both here and there at the same time. The two exhibitions during the winter semester examine very different aspects of this push and pull between places and paths. The first exhibition, titled «A Sense of Place,» looks specifically at the working conditions of (young) artists who find themselves—often for the duration of a grant or project—at various points of the globe, who deal in their work with specific local contexts and whose artworks are then often the subject of discussion in completely ­different places from where they were produced. Based on their own experiences, Eva Engelbert and Katrin Hornek have organized an exhibition of work by colleagues they know in many cases through the temporary crossing of artistic paths in one of the numerous artists-in-­residence programs and with whom they share an interest in certain issues of how to translate in time and space works of art that relate specifically to the locale in which they were produced. What forms can the «sense of place» take under today’s conditions—both for the artists themselves as well as for their migratory products? The proposals put forward by the nine participating artists in this exhibition constitute a debate on the sense of place in art today. During the exhibition, a reading will be held by author Anna Kim, who has made a name for herself in recent years with her novels and essays on the relationship between travel and identity. This literary part of the program is designed to do justice to the frequent recourse taken in the visual arts to works of literature. The Iranian artist Ghazel is the focus of the second exhibition this semester. Her work is devoted to the ambivalences of routes and roots from the perspective of migration. Under the title «Geopolitics of Roots—No Man’s Land,» Ghazel explores the contradictions between the frequent need for people to make their way across borders and continents in order to survive, and the longing for a feeling of belonging and a place to call home. Characteristic of Ghazel’s work is the interlocking of the political and the personal, of practical and aesthetic aspects. The graphical gestures she incorporates into her revised world maps rebel against enforced national identities and deadly border policies, but also sketch images of rootedness and the search for family and social ties in a fixed place. In some of her videos, the stories of ­individuals are recounted symbolically, translated from the reality of the artist’s political and social work into a performative language. In the course of her exhibition, Ghazel will curate a film evening with works by other artists that deal with the issues she herself pursues, but in different geopolitical constellations.


Christian Kravagna, Hedwig Saxenhuber