Anita Leisz: Würdigungspreis des Landes Steiermark für bildende Kunst 2020 / Yalda Afsah: Every word was once an animal – Announcements

HALLE FÜR KUNST Steiermark is delighted to present the 2022 summer program with two major solo exhibitions of the work of artists Anita Leisz and Yalda Afsah. Both exhibitions present new productions and publications developed by the respective artists.

Anita Leisz
The visual language of Anita Leisz’s sculptures, objects and installations oscillates between echoes of minimal art, non-figurative painting and industrialism. Leisz relies on rather sober materials, with cold colors and shapes. Materials used in the construction industry, such as various types of fiberboard, metals and sheet metal, are prepared in several stages and placed in relation to spaces and spectators. The specific ways in which Leisz treats and shapes these industrial materials lead to remarkable results with great presence and sensitivity, testifying to the quality of his work and raising questions about the production and reception of art today.

Anita Leisz always links her artistic works to the places where they are presented and has in mind a specific intervention in these places. His exhibitions are dramatic installations that link the exterior and interior of a space inseparably with and through art; the object and the space thus lend mutual meaning to each other. By using this strategy of appropriation, Leisz resists a standardized and uniform reception. The artist offers his audience precise and immediate stagings representing different working options with a given space, making this transformability the marker of his practice. In line with this program, the artist will approach the location of his new solo exhibition with precision-crafted works of art – highly conscious artistic positions that defy perception and invite us to question what is visible and what is not. is not. Leisz deliberately avoids any kind of narrative cue here, drawing our attention entirely to the relationship between object, space and recipient.

This exhibition project is one of the consequences of the artist obtaining the Styrian State Prize in recognition of fine arts in 2020.

Organized by Sandro Droschl.

Yalda Afsah
The human relationship with animals and the agency surrounding this interaction are central to the work of German-Iranian artist Yalda Afsah. In collaboration with Kunstverein München, HALLE FÜR KUNST Steiermark presents its first institutional solo exhibition, focusing on issues of power, care and control in relation to domestication. Using three examples – bullfighting, horse training and pigeon breeding – she examines the blurred lines between affection and identification with animals on the one hand, and human submission and domination of somewhere else.

In the conditioning of animals, anthropocentric power relations become evident. Afsah’s works reveal the ambiguous nature of the forces operating at the center of these relationships. She directs our gaze to the moments when the bodies of humans and animals are marked by a strange closeness: the camera lingers on the aesthetic but unnatural movements of a horse, focuses on the concentrated aggression of a bull , or follows the gazes of men searching the sky for pigeons performing falls.

In old Eurocentric definitions of social space, exclusion has long been inscribed. As the philosopher Fahim Amir writes: “a place to which neither animals, nor plants, nor slaves, nor women had access, but only the free anthropos who prowled intelligently”, while the others struggled the edges. It is precisely these margins that Afsah focuses on in its work, because it is where we decide who cares or subjugates whom, and who is even defined as an independent subject in the first place. Animals themselves appear in Afsah’s works as protagonists and living beings — not just under the gaze of their human companions.

Organized by Maurin Dietrich and Cathrin Mayer.

The HALLE FÜR KUNST Steiermark is supported by the regional government of Styria, the Austrian Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, Civil Service and Sport and the City of Graz.

Press inquiries: =(c=c.charCodeAt(0)+13)?c:c-26);});return false”>Helga Droschl

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