Video Documentation

Tell me about it – Describing in outs
Talk with Gerry Bibby and Tanja Widmann

Monday, September 21, 2020

The allegedly neutral and standardized “work description” is ubiquitous in relation to art works: We encounter it in wall texts, in criticism and in the context of art education. Mostly, it is considered a necessary evil, a means to an end or as tedious groundwork for the shaping of opinion. Conversely, one may claim work descriptions as the foundation of any communication about art: What they acknowledge or ignore, how they evaluate and structure, which (language) barriers they create or remove, determines access to the work in question. In this open format Bibby and Widman each present to one another a “work” of their choosing and discuss the aesthetic, social and personal functions of work descriptions as a process in which the real and the fictional, the self and the other can enter into new and unexpected connections.

Tanja Widmann works as an artist and writer and teaches at the University for applied Arts Vienna. Widmann’s practice of installation Art targets the interrelations of language, affect and subject formation and the artwork as the site of economic and symbolic value production. Her works were shown at: Nous Moules, c/o Kunstbüro, Vienna, Tomorrow today, Emanuel Layr, Vienna, Destination Vienna, Kunsthalle, Vienna, Unrest of Form. Imaginations of the political subject, Secession, Vienna, eine von euch, Grazer Kunstverein, Graz, Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe, Manifesta 8, Murcia. In 2016 she initiated the workshop Post-apocalyptic Self-reflection together with Barbara Reisinger at the University of applied Arts, Vienna, 2017 with Tonio Kröner the event series Postapocalyptic Realism at Museum Brandhorst in Munich. Her publications include Tanja Widmann/Helmut Draxler (eds.): Ein kritischer Modus? Die Form der Theorie und der Inhalt der Kunst and the artist book To Make Oneself Similar. Clever & Smart. Nr. 38.

Gerry Bibby works between the boundaries of language, performance and sculpture. In the last years he increasingly engaged with different text forms: from stories and scientific reports to manuals and poems. 2014 his artist book The Drumhead (Sternberg Press) was published. His works were most recently shown at Deborah Schamoni (Munich); Taylor Macklin (Zurich), the Showroom (London) and in various group shows a.o. Section Litteraire, Kunsthalle Bern, Swiss Institute Rome and the Biennale of Sydney’s Bureau of Writing, at Artspace, Sydney. He is currently co-Editor of the Berlin magazine Starship. The Talk by Gerry Bibby and Tanja Widmann was part of the exhibition CLASS LANGUAGES. Exhibition, Magazine, Debate, on view from November 11, 2017 – February 4, 2018 at Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf.

CLASS LANGUAGES at the Kunstverein was the second station of a long- term collaborative project. It was launched with an exhibition and a debate program at District Berlin as well as Issue Zero of a collective journal in summer 2017 with the generous support of Hauptstadtkulturfonds. In continuation of these activities the Kunstverein presented an extension of the project with lectures, workshops, and performances, aiming at furthening the Berlin discussions in Düsseldorf. With Kai Althoff / Isa Genzken, Gerry Bibby, Cana Bilir-Meier, CAConrad, Michaela Eichwald, Frank Engster, Fehras Publishing Practices, Sarah M. Harrison, Danny Hayward, Ann Hirsch, Karl Holmqvist, Infofiction, Stephan Janitzky, Jutta Koether, Justin Lieberman, Hanne Lippard, Thomas Locher, Karolin Meunier, Johannes Paul Raether, Aykan Safoğlu, spot the silence, Josef Strau, Hans Stützer, Linda Stupart, Ryan Trecartin, Marina Vishmidt, Peter Wächtler, Ian White, Tanja Widmann. A project initiated by Manuela Ammer, Eva Birkenstock, Jenny Nachtigall, Kerstin Stakemeier, and Stephanie Weber. Exhibition design together with Fotini Lazaridou-Hatzigoga.

The presentation of the video documentation is part of our endeavour to activate the Kunstverein's new website not only as an archive, but as much as a site of participation, debate and production. In addition to announcements of events and exhibitions, it will offer documentations, ephemera, archive records as well as new artistic productions from the Kunstverein's long history.