Statement #09 | Michaela Schwentner — re-ASSEMBLY

Performative setting, May 18 – 20, 2020
Presentation, May 21 – June 10, 2020

Historical, political, and social mechanisms are subject to a process of constant transformation. If you look at the details, certain movement patterns in society come to the fore. The performative installation re-ASSEMBLY by Michaela Schwentner investigates how these processes can be translated in the exhibition space and become tangible. To this end, the artist employs materials and everyday objects found on site to (re-)format Kunstraum Lakeside over the course of several days, interpreting the semantic potentials of the term “assembly” as gathering, accumulation, and composition.

The main element in this project is the high number of available chairs, which are time and again repositioned in the space as Michaela Schwentner searches for a balanced state. In re-ASSEMBLY the artist’s interventions leave traces in the exhibition space, creating both an expansive installation and a permanently changing sculpture. The assemblages that emerge in the production process are documented as spatial constructs throughout the various stages of their development until the tentative end. It remains open, however, whether the camera is a part of the performance or if it only serves as a documentary medium for the performative setting.

“The choreography and progression of the performance are based on the subject of and the search for the absent and its affect: the longing for balance, equality, desire, utopia. Historical and contemporary political and social mechanisms along with their movement patterns and processes are revealed; social and political powers continuously build up in new and different ways,” says the artist about re-ASSEMBLY. The reconfigurations of the spatial and infrastructural conditions of the exhibition space generated during the performative setting can be retraced on the basis of film sequences. But the question remains: Will the respective constellations of elements (as metaphors for all possible powers and mechanisms within society) ever arrive at a final arrangement?

Michaela Schwentner (b. 1970 in Austria) lives and works in Vienna.


Michaela Schwentner, EUROPEAN STANDARDS / Miranda‘s disappointment, 2020