LOOK DEEPER

BENEATH THE FLOW

at the VENICE BIENNALE 2015

The Project

“De Neige´s works cannot be contemplated or consumed. And this is their strong point, precisely (…). Adam de Neige smartly shifts our view: the focus lies no longer on the artworks, which he withdraws from sight, but on what is going on around.”

– (Günther Oberhollenzer, Curator/ Essl Museum)

At the occasion of the Venice Biennale 2015, artworks by Adam de Neige have been sunk at four different locations in the Venice Lagoon within waterproof boxes. A guided boat visit, free-of-charge (by reservation), will be available during the Biennale preview.

The four artworks bear a message from a future where we cannot reach yet. For this special occasion, they were realized in what the artist imagines to be his work style in a distant future.

This year´s Biennale Title, “All the Worlds Futures” focuses on the information exchange between countries whose relations underlie unpredictable geopolitical and environmental developments. Nothing is stable, not even Venice, a huge artwork itself: It is an island sinking slowly. Every two years, the Art Biennale comes a few millimeters closer to the sea level. The days of the art show venue seem to be counted. “Due to De Neige, the event, the spectacle, the money often attract the main attention. When looking at the international art scene, all the fairs, auctions and biennales, one will find some truth in his critic. Isn´t Venice and its Biennale turning around itself, like in a crazy dance on a sinking ship?” (Günther Oberhollenzer, Curator/ Essl Museum)

“Even in the era of globalization, the Biennale show takes place in country pavilions. But to which Nation are to be attributed the works of Adam de Neige – born in Iran, grown up in France, currently based in Vienna, Austria and about to move to New York? Where and what will he expose in Venice? Here, De Neige has adapted a way of deterritorialization and not-showing.” (Manisha Jothady, Art Critic)

“De Neige´s works cannot be contemplated or consumed. And this is their strong point, precisely (…). Adam de Neige smartly shifts our view: the focus lies no longer on the artworks, which he withdraws from sight, but on what is going on around.” (Günther Oberhollenzer, Curator/ Essl Museum). Through their hidden state, the information they contain is controlled by no one but themselves, in a kind of self-censorship. The only thing we know and can access is their exact location. The four spots in the Lagoon are forming a perfect square (inspired by The The City of Glass by Paul Auster, 1985), with the Giardini in its center. It’s a 2d projection of a classical (white) cube, an art venue both in its abstract and extended form.

Restricted or universal in access, knowledge resources dominate both over objects and individuals in the Information Society: While we trace them on our boat, guided by navigation data, these artworks have left us behind. They have arrived in a future when everything will be under water.

Locations

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Video Documentation

Artworks out of Water

At each spot, Adam de Neige extracted the exact amount of sea water corresponding to the volume of the sunken cases (23,9L) – a poetic way of creating an equilibrium. The content of 4 jerrycans was taken to the artist´s studio and transformed into artworks of their own: transparent boxes, each engraved with one of the sunken spots´ GPS coordinates.

The square sides of the boxes remind of the extended show case in the lagoon that De Neige chose as his venue. In fact, the impact of the project was made by the spectator´s experience, not by the physical presence of the artworks, and minimized in a conceptual intervention most characteristic for the artist: Even though the Venetian sea level rises, it did not so when De Neige´s artworks where drowned, but the same volume of water taken from Venice to Vienna.

 

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Venice

During the Biennale Preview, signs on the ground showed the way to the boat tour. Later on, they indicated the locations of the four sunken artworks all around Venice.

 

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Adam de Neige

born in 1987 in Tehran, lives and works in Vienna.
Studied in Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts de Lyon and Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.

Exhibitions & Artistic Activities (Selection)

2015
Koschatzky Art Prize – MUMOK, Vienna – AT
Zukunftsvisionen – Festival for Contemporary Art, Görlitz – DE
Exhibition – Galerie Lang Wien, Vienna – AT
Exhibition – Galerie Gans, Vienna – AT

2014
VIENNAFAIR | International Art Fair – Galerie Lang Wien, Vienna – AT
Parallel Vienna 2014 | Art Fair, Vienna – AT
LegeArtis Lech | International Art & Music Festival, Lech – AT
Zwischenspiel – Verbund Vertikale Galerie , Vienna – AT

2013
Hrobsky Gallery Showroom , Vienna – AT
RemapKM 4 Art Biennal , Athens – GR
4th Independent Publishers Fair | Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna – AT
Basel Art Book Fair, Volkshaus, Basel – CH
ViennaArtBookFestival, Ostlicht Gallery, Vienna – AT

2012
Naoussa Film Festival 2012, with “Behemoth” – Won Best Experimental Film Award – GR
Exhibition in Gallery Lang, Vienna – AT
Founding UBIKSpace, Vienna – AT

2011
1min Filmfestival, with “back(to the)ground”, Lille – FR
Künstlerhaus, MetamArt, Vienna – AT
Leopold Museum, Eikon Photography Contest, Vienna – AT
Artelaguna Prize, Venice – IT

 

www.adamdeneige.com

Press

Please do only use the visual material for current reviews and reports and acknowledge the credits.

In case of further questions or interview requests, please do not hesitate to contact:

Eva-Maria Maurer, MA
press@beneaththeflow.com
+43 660 56 99 779

 

Critics and Texts About the Project

“Art, refusing to be consumed” – Günther Oberhollenzer (Curator/ Essl Museum)

The artwork needs the viewer. He is just as important for Fine Art as the observer is for performing arts, motivating the artist to do a show. In the eye of the beholder, the piece of art is recreated, truly called into being. But is this the only way it can exist? This very common view is provokingly challenged by Austrian-Iranian artist Adam de Neige in his work for this year´s Venice Biennale.

Four artworks in water-proof boxes are submerged at different locations of Venice. Their positions are chosen carefully, building a perfect square – with the Giardini being its center as well as the center of the Biennale. An imaginary exhibition space, outlined by the four coffers. They hide the artworks and keep them present at the same time, yet for eternity, not for our eyes.

Adam de Neige smartly shifts our view: the focus lies no longer on the artworks, which he withdraws from sight, but on what is going on around. “Venice is an island sinking slowly into the sea. Every two years, the Biennale finds itself a few millimeters closer to the water level”, the artist points out. For him, the lagoon city is doomed to sink and the Biennale a gigantesque marketing event, where the artistic content often falls from view: “What makes the success of the Biennale today? Is it the artworks and ideas? The artists? Or is it the marketing surrounding it all?” When looking at the international art scene, all the fairs, auctions and biennales, one will find some truth in De Neige´s critic. The event, the spectacle, the money often attract the main attention. Even if we seem to face art in front of us, have we lost our regard on it, being the essential? Isn´t Venice and its Biennale turning around itself, like in a crazy dance on a sinking ship?

De Neige´s works cannot be contemplated or consumed. And this is their strong point, precisely. The artworks are invisible, but still have the capacity to communicate with us. It can only be speculated about what they represent. They have, due to the artist, already “arrived at the liquid future of Venice”. There, they can be (re-)discovered, accessed, and presumably viewed, too – artistic documents, both of past times and a future that has already become present. Working on the project´s concept and realization since several months, De Neige tried to conceive this distant future and apply an approach he imagined to be his own at that time. Enigmatically, the artist states: “They deliver a message from a future we haven´t reached yet.”

read more

 

Manisha Jothady (Art Critic) about “Beneath the Flow”

In the global Art world, both information on current international tendencies and marketing have never been coordinated and connected as they are today. This has not only transformed art production itself, but also the conventional communication of art. It is no longer focused on the content of the artworks, when following the media coverage.

There, what we hear above all, are numbers, data, facts – the financial is omnipresent, if not predominant in the ongoing discourse. As everybody knows, however, the non-material value of a piece of art cannot be quantified. What I conceive of an artwork always has something to do with myself. As old Goethe said, “one doesn´t see what one sees, but what one knows”.

This kind of reasoning inspired Adam de Neige, and he could not have chosen a more suitable place for his artistic intervention than the Venice Biennale. It is known as the oldest and most influential platform for public dialogue on important questions of the time. Even in the era of globalization, the Biennale show takes place in country pavilions.

But to which country are to be attributed the works of Adam de Neige – born in Iran, grown up in France and currently based in Vienna? Where and what will he expose in Venice? Here, De Neige has adapted a way of deterritorialization and not-showing. In the context of the Biennale, this shows with no doubt his critical view on art as a product in the art market´s value chain. For this reason, he has submerged four of his artworks in the sea in water-proof containers, so-to-say in no-mans-land. Thinking of their positions as the corners of a geometric area, they make up a perfect square with the Giardini at its center. This reduction to the abstract is an elegant, artistic gesture in itself.

At the same time, the only thing we know about the artworks is that they correspond to their creator´s future oeuvre as he imagines it. And this is just what this year´s Biennale bears as its title: “All the World`s Future”. Adam de Neige uses it as an occasion for speculations in a double sense: When navigated to the locations of the drowned artworks in one of the guided boat tours, one may ask themselves how they look like and if they even exist. By that, Adam de Neige avoids being monopolized in any way. He challenges the viewers´ imagination, questioning what actually defines an artwork, what makes it valuable and lasting. The space he creates is for nothing less than self-reflection.

read more

 

Download

Beneaththeflow_EN_Günther_Oberhollenzer.pdf

Beneaththeflow_EN_Manisha_Jothady.pdf

CV_EN_Adam_de_Neige.pdf

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