2018 Kunsthalle wien Exhibition
The Weather is Quiet, Cool, and Soft shows works from different phases in the career of the Belgian artist Guy Mees (1935–2003) to shed light on his intuitive and conceptual approach. The selected works range from early lace pieces generically titled Lost Space, to the films and the photographs of the Portraits series (Level differences), never before shown structuralist works from the 1970s, pastel on paper series from the mid-seventies, the Lost Space paper cut-outs from the 1980s, and his last works with watercolours on tracing paper from the 2000s.
Together, they allow a study of Mees’ practice and his ideas of mutability, fragility, porosity and the shattering of pictorial space in ordinary space. The title of the exhibition (borrowed from a note by the artist on a work on paper) characterizes the atmospheric impermanence in Mees’ work, and his relativist poetic approach.
As a member of the “New Flemish School” he was in touch with an international network of artists affiliated with the neo-avant-garde from Europe, Japan, and North and South America (Spazialismo, Zero, Nul, G.R.A.V, Azimut/h, and Gutai, to name but a few), who shared an interest in light, serial structures, movement, and monochrome. Guy Mees quickly gained recognition among the transnational avant-garde from the early 1960s onwards. However, his non-authoritarian attitude and conceptual approach to deconstruct any form of classification soon led him to take an alternative path where the liberation of systems, structures and media, in order to create freedom and openness, became both idiosyncratic and tangible.
The films and photo series Portraits (Level differences) with groups of three people spontaneously placed on different levels of three moveable concrete blocks are reminiscent of amateur works. Apart from the six possible positions (1.2.3, 1.3.2, 2.1.3, 2.3.1, 3.1.2, 3.2.1), the series can vary ad infinitum, thus demonstrating the changing nature of a phenomenon and the arbitrary nature of the norm. The subsequent works on paper 1, 2, 3 use photos from contact sheets and place them according to a grid, like a sensitive mathematician’s notes. Apart from the absurdity of the mechanistic endeavours, these films and photos depicting friends and family provide a fascinating portrait of the Belgian avant-garde gravitating around the MTL (Fernand Spillemaeckers) and X-One (Marc Poirier dit Caulier) galleries, in addition to international views such as the 1974 series portraying Nicholas Serota at The Museum of Modern Art in Oxford.
The principle of six positions brought Mees to a new formal exploration of combinations according to a chromatic chart that features lines in six different colours drawn by hand on thin paper (i.e. newsprint), which he then organised in columns and grouped in multiples of three. While the overall composition, its automatic nature and repetition of pattern and gesture belong to a mechanical process close to the printing press, the sheets’ character distances from these initial references as we move toward a random reading. Slowly the lines begin to reveal a sparse universe of marks of colour on thin paper whose design at times almost mirrors the wall and pierces its interior, thus opening the way for the paper cut-outs, Lost Space, and later for the Imaginary Ballet.
The Lost Space works also summon the idea of a deconstructed frame. Support, form, and color become fused in the concrete space and reveal the interstitial zone through which art can connect to reality, with the former as an emanation of the latter. The white panels and structures of the early 1960s, made from industrial lace, mix minimalist forms with sensual if not erotic textures, exposing a diffuse interior space. The more volatile shapes of cut-outs pinned to the wall from the 1980s whose color fragments sculpt the density and voids of architecture activate the space as an image and reveal the inbetweenness of gaps and remainders. Whether pieces from either period the Lost Space recall the starting point and culmination of conceptual and poetic reasoning in the work of Guy Mees. They are “filled with that of which it is its outcome, filled with its loss.” (Dirk Pültau).
Apart from being Guy Mees’ first exhibition in Austria, and one of the few international ones so far, it will also be the first time that archival materials from his estate will be presented. This will provide further insight into the mind of an artist who, during his entire lifetime, rejected any analytical discussion about his work in favor of its perceptive experience.
Curator: Lilou Vidal
The exhibition and the publication are a co-production between Kunsthalle Wien and Mu.ZEE, Ostend with the generous support of Micheline Szwajcer, Antwerp and the Estate of Guy Mees.
The exhibition was accompanied by a publication tracing the artist’s path and following his gaze via a tactile and archival approach to his work. The book is edited by Lilou Vidal, and published by Sternberg Press, Berlin.
NO MATCHING PROJECTS
Curating contemporary art against the backdrop of a local context 2019 TEACHING
Heinz Frank. The Angle of the End Always Comes from Behind 2019 EXHIBITION
Kunsthalle Wien Prize 2018: Ting-Jung Chen & Hui Ye. Keep Me Close To You 2018–2019 EXHIBITION
Olaf Nicolai. There Is No Place Before Arrival 2018 EXHIBITION
Ieva Epnere. On water, wind and faces of stone 2018 EXHIBITION
Guy Mees. The Weather is Quiet, Cool, and Soft 2018 EXHIBITION
Kunsthalle Wien Prize 2017: Marlene Maier & Olena Newkryta: Everything a Hand Can't Take 2017–2018 EXHIBITION
Florian Hecker. Hallucination, Perspective, Synthesis 2017–2018 EXHIBITION
Publishing as an Artistic Toolbox: 1989-2017 2017–2018 EXHIBITION
Marlene Creates. To the Blast Hole Pond River 2017 EXHIBITION
Marcel Odenbach. Beweis zu nichts / Proof of Nothing 2017 EXHIBITION
Marcel Odenbach. Beweis zu nichts / Proof of Nothing 2018 PUBLICATION
Kunsthalle Wien Prize 2016: Margit Busch, Andrej Polukord 2016–2017 EXHIBITION
Kunsthalle Wien Prize 2016: Margit Busch. IF—THEN—ELSE. Welcome to Transciency 2016 PUBLICATION
Kunsthalle Wien Prize 2016: Andrej Polukord. The Sarcophagus 2016 PUBLICATION
Nathalie Du Pasquier. BIG OBJECTS NOT ALWAYS SILENT 2016 EXHIBITION
Wilfrid Almendra. Light Boiled Like Liquid Soap 2016 EXHIBITION
Wilfrid Almendra. Light Boiled like Liquid Soap 2019 PUBLICATION
Kunsthalle Wien Prize 2015: Karina Mendreczky, Anastasiya Yarovenko 2015–2016 Exhibition
Kunsthalle Wien Prize 2015: Karina Mendreczky 2016 PUBLICATION
Kunsthalle Wien Prize 2015: Anastasiya Yarovenko 2016 PUBLICATION
Charlemagne Palestine. GesammttkkunnsttMeshuggahhLaandtttt 2015 Exhibition
Charlemagne Palestine. GesammttkkunnsttMeshuggahhLaandttttt 2016 PUBLICATION
Individual Stories. Collecting as Portrait and Methodology 2015 Exhibition
Individual Stories. Collecting as Portrait and Methodology 2016 PUBLICATION
Pauline Boudry & Renate Lorenz. Future Light 2015 Exhibition
Function Follows Vision, Vision Follows Reality 2015 Exhibition
Flaka Haliti. Kosovo Pavilion for the 58th Biennial 2015 EXHIBITION
Pierre Bismuth. The Curator, the Lawyer and the Psychoanalyst 2015 Exhibition
Pierre Bismuth. Things I Remember I Have Done, But Don’t Remember Why I Did Them 2017 PUBLICATION
Tony Conrad. Two Degrees of Separation / Über zwei Ecken 2015 PUBLICATION
Gareth Long & Melton Barker. Kidnappers Foil 2014–2015 Exhibition
Kunsthalle Wien Prize 2014: Leander Schönweger. The Fog Disperses 2014 Exhibition
Leander Schönweger. Die Nebel lichten sich 2014 PUBLICATION
Hannah Rickards. Grey light. Left and right back, high up, two small windows 2014–2015 EXHIBITION
Isa Genzken. I’m Isa Genzken, The Only Female Fool 2014 Exhibition
Isa Genzken. I’m Isa Genzken, the Only Female Fool 2014 PUBLICATION
Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys. Das Wunder des Lebens (The Miracle of Life) 2014 Exhibition
Zin Taylor. The Story of Stripes and Dots 2013–2014 EXHIBITION
Zin Taylor. Lichen Voices/Stripes and Dots 2013 PUBLICATION
WWTBD – What Would Thomas Bernhard Do Festival 2013 EVENT
Act I: Beautiful from Every Point of View 2009–2010 EXHIBITION
John Kormeling. Dutch Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo 2010 2010 EXHIBITION
Liam Gillick. German Pavilion 53. Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte La Biennale di Venezia 2009 2009 EXHIBITION
Liam Gillick. How are you going to behave? A kitchen cat speaks 2009 PUBLICATION
William Hunt. Tempting Fate, Swimming Alone 2008 EXHIBITION
Liam Gillick. Three perspectives and a short scenario 2008 EXHIBITION
Isa Genzken. Deutscher Pavillon 52. Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte La Biennale di Venezia 2009 2007 EXHIBITION
Die Frage des Tages / The Question of the Day 2007 PUBLICATION
Michael Beutler. Nicht drinnen, sondern draußen 2004–2005 EXHIBITION
Gerard Byrne. Books, Magazines, and Newspapers 2003 PUBLICATION
Alex Morrison. Giving the Story a Treatment 2005 PUBLICATION
Adorno: The Possibility of the Impossible (Vol. II) 2003 PUBLICATION
Adorno: The Possibility of the Impossible (Vol. I) 2003 PUBLICATION
Marcel Odenbach. Even If The Driver May Be Different, The Truck Still Remains The Same 2002 EXHIBITION
Jeroen de Rijke and Willem de Rooij. After the Hunt 2000 PUBLICATION
Man muss ganz schön viel lernen um hier zu funktionieren 2000 EXHIBITION