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grafisches Element

too much, too soon!

15th December - 19th January 2019

OPENING: 14th December, 7 PM - 9.30 PM

PROJECT CURATORS: Gülsen Bal & Walter Seidl »

Participating Artist:

Mustafa Akkaya
Tim Brennan
Aydan Murtezaoğlu
Erkan Özgen
Milica Tomić
Lala Raščić
Christina Werner

In situ Performance: 14 December, 20.00
Fortress Europe #82 by Tim Brennan

Mekan 68
Neustiftgasse 68/1
1070 Vienna

The exhibition too much, too soon! resonates with recent political history, which reflects diverse perspectives on issues of then and now in addressing a reality in which “there is no state in Europe” beyond its borders. In this conviction, can Europe really make it when one considers what is marked by both before and after 1989 where “the notion of the East should be understood as the product of Europe as ideology”(1)?

What is interesting in this argument prevails in a deeper question concerning the so-called alternative left (meaning deprived) politics at the time when “democracy is suspended in the interest of European integration and the survival of the Eurozone” with the same token? Particularly by the disputable “trans-historical” claim on national prefixes as well as ‘sovereign’ nation states. So, what generates the emergence of necropolitical situations? And, what kind of changes are articulated in current artistic practices to create different forms of articulations?

This engages us with processes of returning to a lost “history” in critical dialogue where political developments overlap with unpredictable forces beyond “dialectical mediation.” Then, how is this reflected in the artistic production that is almost canonised, in which suppression becomes the way of their life and the prisons are almost their home while bedlam is their surroundings?

In this manner, the participant artists in too much, too soon! address when art ‘becomes’ art in its global appropriation with its sensitive momentous sovereignty within the current political situation globally as well as how it resituates truth of a world.


1. Buden, Boris (2007), ‘The post-Yugoslavian condition of institutional critique.’

Mustafa Akkaya

Mustafa Akkaya Link

The imputed Power

Installation, various dimension, 2018

Mustafa Akkaya employs particular facets in his most recent art practice with highly sophisticated sculpture-based 3D printed figures of ordinary people, animals, or objects, which are generally contrived elegant “yet potentially evil since they are strange and uncanny” regarding their multi-facetted tyranny of reality. His art works have the quality of bringing up what happens on most occasions or in most situations of declining hegemonic desire by revealing the symptomatic constructs of sovereign risks of our time.

Akkaya’s newly produced installation work The imputed Power deals with an issue of exemptions that preludes the history of Cyprus' migration, which began in the 1950s and makes us face the arbitrariness of the buffer zone – also called as ‘the Green Line’, a 180 km long strip of land dividing the island into two between the Turkish Cypriot community in the north and Greek Cypriot community in the south – which is marked with its unprecedented and relatively untouched landscape through featuring an unrealistic setting against an intrinsic resistance of processes.

Tim Brennan

Tim Brennan Link

Fortress Europe #82

Performance and Artist Edition, 2018

Tim Brennan's ongoing series of works, Fortress Europe started in 1990, two years before the signing of the Maastricht agreement and the formalizing of the EU under the then 12 star flag. The project was motivated by the then (1989/90) refugee situation in London in which Brennan was involved as a part-time volunteer at The Kurdish Workers Association (Hackney, London) and the political writings of Ambalavaner Sivanandan and Rüştü Yürükoğlu. It operates as an ongoing independent institution of works with 105 to date.

Fortress Europe #82 was first exhibited at The Northern Centre of Contemporary Art, Sunderland in 2015 as part of the exhibition ‘Happiness is A New Idea’ and in conjunction with The Sunderland Literary Festival. The work consists of a disjointed travelogue that discursively weaves in and out of an extensive tour of Kurdistan and Turkey Brennan made in the 1990s and includes aspects of writing made prior and reflections accredited since. It is structured in 12 sections or voices and is informed by histories of the ‘epic’ and prose poem.

Fortress Europe #82 is not limited to one mode of presentation/transmission and has surfaced via a wide range of modes that have included, wall mounting, choral recitation and an artist edition/book. The work exists as a boxed limited edition and performance for the too much, too soon! exhibition.

Photo credit:

Fortress Europe No.9
2 days Sculptural Performance
VIP Film, Berlin, October 1990

Aydan Murtezaoglu

Aydan Murtezaoglu Link

In Charge

Portfolio with 8 offset lithographs, 48,9 x 68,6 cm (x 7) and 68,6 x 48,9 cm (x 1), 2009

The artist Aydan Murtezaoğlu deals in her works with the boundaries and structural constraints of Turkish society and how gender roles are formed through family relationships - as well as with possible routes of escape, practices of disobedience and resistance, and gestures of disruption. She articulates these issues via a "perspective from within" that problematizes the artist's claim to an external position as critic of the culture s/he inhabits. The artist searches for ways to express her own embeddedness in the social structure and to articulate her responsibilities toward the social surroundings in which she is also involved as an artist. She formulates these same concerns in the eight offset lithographs comprising In Charge, the portfolio now being published by Edition Block. The motifs, based on her photographs, depict reenactments of situations from the domestic and public spheres. While the artist herself is always one of the central protagonists, her intent is not to resurrect autobiographical incidents. Rather, Murtezaoğlu assumes a proxy position, slips into a role in order to illuminate as many of its facets as possible. The artist is "in charge" in the sense that she assumes responsibility for examining different aspects of certain role models and the background for their development. Yet she eschews an emotional or accusatory critical stance. Instead she is concerned with differentiations: what similarities exist, what bonds us, what separates. Her investigation of social reality brings to light equivocal factors and ambiguities that disclose new, open-ended avenues of reflection.

Courtesy of Edition Block

Erkan Özgen

Erkan Özgen Link

First Untitled

Installation, 2012

In sense of a generational treating of existential meditations of what stimulates neoliberalism with a considerably broader resonance of what it comes beyond macro as well as micro emancipation in a similar line to Rancière’ argument on political significance of art; Erkan Özgen points out that the issues of a precariousness are hardly new by introducing a history of struggles in defying moments of becoming inert in singularities of a representational particularities. By this means, both sides of “representational negation” consist of “one and many” at the conjunctions “in which the resistance of art is a relationship of tension between two different resistances”; that is to do with everyday forms of resistance compared to forms of collective resistance. This is designated namely through a “skullcap.” The center of the created negative image captured in the First Untitled presupposes the non-representational process towards the longstanding consequential resistance residing within different scope of marginalisation thriving cultural force in which it is extended out of its visually intense object position. This almost invites us questioning of what transgress historically that could remind anyone of the mass protests from 68’s to Gezi Park.

Milica Tomić

Milica Tomić Link

One day, instead of one night; a burst of machine-gun fire will flash, if light cannot come otherwise (Oskar Davico – exempt of a poem)

Video, media documentation, 10 min

Artist statement by Milica Tomić:

Over a period of two months, in the autumn of 2009, I visited particular sites of successful anti-fascist actions that were carried out by the Yugoslav partisans and citizens of Belgrade against German occupation during the Second World War. The photos taken during these repeated walks are documents of an action/intervention of creating a non-material monument in places that are not part of the public memory, so it opens a question of anti-fascism today and its erasure from public history and public memory, of its actuality in regard to new circumstances and new forms of fascism. Today it is easy to recognize fascism in its excess forms, but what about the fascism that is all around us, which cannot be easily recognized at first sight, but which is built into the laws and administration? 

Milica Tomić installation One day, instead of one night, a burst of machine-gun fire will flash, if light cannot come otherwise named after a fragment of a poem by Yugoslav partisan and writer Oskar Davičo, consists of a video and newspaper documentation of walking actions she carried out between September and October 2009 in which she revisited forgotten sites in Belgrade where anti-Fascist action were mounted during WWII. Her work addresses social amnesia and the erasure of the memory of the anti-Fascist struggle of the People Liberation Struggle, and reveals its relevance to the present moment with its invisible forms of fascism embedded in the administration of social life. The shows a tall woman, the artist herself, walking down the Belgrade streets carrying a grocery bag in one hand and a machine gun in the other. The camera follows her from a distance, capturing indifferent scenery; she walks completely unnoticed, nobody reacts. The sound in the background is composed from series of interviews that Tomić conducted with protagonists of the anti-Fascist and Communist movements in Belgrade, people who took part in the historical actions she commemorates. The atmosphere of apathy on the street is juxtaposed with passionate statements and convictions expressed by real protagonists in anti-Fascist movements. The action bears a symbolic dedication to the young members of the Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative, who around the time the artist conducted her actions were accused of an act of international terrorism for protesting in front of the Greek Embassy in Belgrade in solidarity with demonstration in Greece. Her work is as a public intervention that symbolically rebuilds a non-material monument to the political imagination, its past and its present. By commenting the legislative limitations on the rights to engage in civil disobedience and to use public space in general, the artist indirectly questions the counter-violence against terror sanctioned by an idea of the nation-state that justifies the suspension of all constitutional procedures and legal protections.

WHW - Who, How & for Whom

Sound: Interviews with partisans, members of the IIWW People Liberation Struggle (On Love Afterwards, 2003) 
Interviewee: Šime Kronja, Jelena Kadenić, Radošin Rajević, Dimitrije Bajalica
Camera/sound: Staša Tomić
Editing: Miloš Stojanović
Sound design: Vladimir Janković Slonče
Photo credit: Srdjan Veljović

Dedicated to the members of the Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative - Belgrade, 2009

Action/intervention in the public space, Belgrade, 2009

Lala Raščić

Lala Raščić Link

Conflict Syntax

Sound installation, 2018

Conflict Syntax is an audio monodrama based on the artist’s attempt to conduct quantitative analysis of the language of the audio archive from the project Testimony – Truth or Politics. Conflict Syntax started as a concept, a proposal where the act of testifying is liberated from context, affect, emotion, memory, association—the archive is treated as a corpus of data to be dismembered into formal elements of language and analyzed with the aim of extracting objective sums and values. However, this process never succeeded in its entirety and the artist used the partial findings of such an analysis to construct her own testimonial of the process and difficulty of working with such material.

The interviews of the Testimony – Truth or Politics archive were automatically transcribed, and each individual interview was analyzed for the frequency of the occurrence of individual words. The results of this analysis are aggregated and the results are used for creating a spoken word script. At the same time, the analysis results are used as numerical values that are translated into sound events occurring in step with the monodrama’s duration.

Conflict Syntaxdeals with the contextually loaded material of the Testimony – Truth or Politics archive and within the issues the project is trying to cope with. Ultimately, the predicate of Testimony – Truth or Politics is a question of justice. Yet, justice is a neuralgic point of discourse concerning the wars in Ex-Yugoslavia and the transition that ensued—it is elusive, breaks and mutates. In Conflict Syntax, the deconstruction and re – signification of the material extracted from the archive through treating it as raw data is an attempt to homogenize the heterogeneous corpus of the archive, and reveal new insights and novel readings.

Conflict Syntax is written, performed, and engineered by Lala Raščić

Conflict Syntax was commissioned by Noa Treister and the Center for Cultural Decontamination, Belgrade

Christina Werner

Christina Werner Link

The Boys Are Back 

Single channel video, 2015-16

In her video work The Boys Are Back, Christina Werner deals with right-wing European networks and their representation and presence in the media. Werner emphasizes her thesis of the constant repetition of history in her deliberate choice of the act of repetition throughout the video. At a time in which the discourse on socio-political problems and questions is rapidly shifting toward the right in Europe, she seeks to sensitize the viewer to recognize the fragility of the democratic system and the perfidious strategy with which the right wing seeks to assert itself in society. “Save and expand Europe!” as the philosopher Susan Neiman recently stated as a motto for the times that we go through. This is the only chance “that this imperfect world has to preserve the important legacy of the “Enlightenment.”

The video shows Dutch right-wing politician Geert Wilders during a speech he gave at Vienna’s Hofburg in March 2015. However, what we can see is only a close-up of his feet while speaking on stage. In this controversial speech, Wilders criticized the Islam religion as an ideology of war and hate. After his speech, the Initiative of Austrian Muslims tried to sue Wilders for insulting Islam, yet the Dutch authorities denied the claim for legal prosecution on the grounds that criticizing religion is not considered a criminal act in the Netherlands. The video contributes to the debate about the rising right-wing tendencies in Europe at an early stage, which took place shortly before the “summer of migration” and the—at that time unforeseeable—governmental change in Austria in 2017.

Supported by:

Stadtteilkultur, Interkulturalität und Internationale Angelegenheiten
Magistratsabteilung 7 – Bildende Kunst
ERSTE Foundation

In kind support by:

Manchester Metropolitan University
ARUCAD - Arkin University of Creative Arts and Design

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