artists & participants
From April 30 to May 6, 2012, the Austrian Cultural Forum New York is pleased to host a group show titled The Locus of Control. The exhibition was curated by Patrick Gibson, in association with On Stellar Rays, and will feature works by artists Zipora Fried, Christoph Schlingensief, and Hans Schabus.
The exhibition disentangles affinities and antagonisms in the work of three artists by looking at the notion of control, not as a theme or subject, but as constitutive element of their art production. Commissioned by ACFNY director Andreas Stadler, the show cites the social psychology of Julian Rotter and his popular personality test The Locus of Control. Accordingly, people are located on a scale: those with a high internal locus of control believe that events result primarily from their own actions. Those with a high external locus of control conversely believe that forces outside their control are primarily in charge.
Acknowledging that art objects also make claims and takes positions on how and why events unfold, sometimes contrary to the intentions of their makers, The Locus of Control playfully references Rotter's scale to consider how artists' methodologies are, like personalities, only a visible aspect of a larger complex character.
Zipora Fried, makes the private, repetitive labor she endures in the making of her objects—excruciating achievements of self-control—a very public and generous illustration of the creative process. Her objects confront control through detachment, repetition, and ritualization. Reality is both materially and symbolically transformed.
Hans Schabus' open ended performative strategies—journeys and other physical endeavors—self-reflexively document lived experience and artistic labor. Control is filtered through careful reflection on the mental and physical spaces in which artwork is made. Objects used live, frequently related to the motif of travel—such as boats, cars and planes—become sculptural material, accrued with history and temporal excess.
Christoph Schlingensief, a protean figure who worked across several different cultural fields, is most coherently described as a director. His work is dependent on an ideal of social participation and exchange. Correspondingly, he was acutely attuned to the pressing issues of society. Many of his projects functioned in an activist mode, looking to "initiate social energies." But the artist, and command structures at play in his work, required an ego-maniacal talent to control how and when he brought people together.
For these three artists, being "in control" or "out of control" is an essential feature of how work gets made. The binary of internal to external opens up surprising insights into how this informs both the viewer and the work. The Locus of Control explores production as personality and embodies the fluid relationship between intention and reception.
The Locus Of Control
Zipora Fried, Christoph Schlingensief, Hans Schabus
Kurator: Patrick Gibson