Saturday, June 07, 2008

Private Viewing

The original plan was to see the Julian Opie exhibition at the MAK, but I hadn't looked at the start date properly. When I arrived there, it turned out that it isn't on until the 11th. Instead, I vistited the "minor" current exhibits and then headed towards the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contempory Collection that Frida had recommended to me. It's located on Himmelpfortgasse right in the city center and admission is free. Nevertheless, I was literally the only visitor there. The main exhibition space on the first floor was dimly lit for the various videos on show. The young man sitting in front of a computer in the small space marked "shop" was hidden behind shelves and when he shouted "Grüß Gott" upon hearing my footsteps on the parquet floor, I almost jumped out of my skin. Spookier things were yet to come - when I followed the arrows on the staircase two further floors up, I had to stoop and climb over a step to get into the attic. It was even darker than downstairs and Pippilotti Rist's light and sound installation coming at you from unecpected directions behind the many lace curtains that partitioned the truss was more than a bit eerie. I was reminded both of the open-air museums I was so fascinated by as a child, rebuilt villages where you stepped into other people's farmhouses and imagined how they had lived all those centuries ago, and of morbid films where attics always mean someone has hung themselves from the attic beams. If someone else had been up there, I'm not so sure I wouldn't have screamed. Even so, I enjoyed it, if only for the privilege of walking on a makeshift footbridge in a beautiful old buidling.


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