Galerie Eva Presenhuber is pleased to present a 10-channel film installation In the stranglehold of ivy by Antoinette Zwirchmayr, curated by Tobias Pils, in the basement of the gallery as part of Curated by 2023.
In the stranglehold of ivy
This film cannot be read linear in terms of time nor space.
Pregnancy is an intermediate state,
One person is two persons,
Reclaiming space as a natural notion,
From both humans and nature itself.
No beginning no middle, no end yet to begin again.
Antoinette Zwirchmayr (*1989) lives and works in Vienna, AT. She completed studies at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna (Fine Arts), University of Vienna (Romance Studies) and the Friedl Kubelka School (Artistic Photography and Independent Film). Her cinematic works have been presented at numerous festivals such as Berlinale (DE), Toronto International Film Festival (CA), International Short Film Festival Oberhausen (DE), FID Marseille (FR), CPH:DOX (DK), Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival (CZ), Viennale (AT), Media City Film Festival (CA), FICUNAM (MX), Festival de Sevilla (ES), Edinburgh International Film Festival (UK) and have been awarded several prizes and grants. These include a 6-month New York Residency (ISCP) 2022, the State Scholarship 2023, the Outstanding Artist Award 2020, the Annual Scholarship for Photography (Kultur Land Salzburg) 2017, the START Scholarship of the Federal Chancellery 2017, the Kodak Cinematic Vision Award of the Ann Arbor Film Festival 2016, the Diagonale Award for Innovative Film 2016, the Diagonale Award for Best Short Documentary 2014 and the Birgit Jürgenssen Award in 2013. Work has also been shown at Anthology Film Archive (US), Cinémathèque Québécoise (CA), CINEMATEK in Brussels (BE), Filmoteca Española Madrid (ES), Salzburger Kunstverein (AT), Filmmakers Fest Milano (IT), Monokino Ostend (BE) and Mumok kino, Vienna (AT).
Tobias Pils (*1971) lives and works in Vienna, AT. Solo exhibitions: The passage of time, On Kawara / Tobias Pils, Bibliotheca Reiner Speck, Oswald-Mathias Ungers Haus am Kämpchensweg, in Cologne, DE. In 2020, Pils’ commissioned fresco Alpha, Omega & Infinity was unveiled at the Renzo Piano-designed École Normale Supérieure (ENS) Paris-Saclay, Gif sur Yvette, FR. Recent solo museum exhibitions include Kunstmuseum Bonn, Bonn, DE (permanent installation) (2020); Josef Albers Museum, Bottrop, DE (2018); Kunsthalle Krems, Krems an der Donau, AT (2017); Le Consortium, Dijon, FR (with Michael Williams) (2017); Chinati Foundation, John Chamberlain Building, Marfa, TX, US (2016); Wiener Secession, Vienna, AT (2013). Recent group exhibitions include Enjoy - The mumok Collection in Change, Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna, AT (2021-2022); Au rendez-vous des amis, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, DE (2020-2021); Picasso et la bande dessinée, Picasso Poète, Musée Picasso, Paris, FR (2020); Spritmuseum, Stockholm, SE (2019); Le Consortium Collection, Le Consortium, Dijon, FR (2018); Jay DeFeo: The Ripple Effect, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO, US (2018); Mirroring Windows, 21er Haus, Vienna, AT (2017); ART UNLIMTED, ART 47 BASEL, Basel, CH, 2016. His works are in the permanent collections of the Mumok, Vienna, AT the Musée d’art moderne, Paris, FR, Josef Albers Museum, Bottrop, DE, Kunstmuseum Bonn, DE, and Le Consortium, Dijon, FR, among others. Exhibitions curated by Tobias Pils: The sky is thin. Standard Oslo, Oslo, NO, November, 2023. Paysage, Le Consortium Wing, Dijon, FR, July 2023. The Drawing Center Show, curated by Tobias Pils with Joe Bradley, Seungduk Kim, and Franck Gautherot, Le Consortium, Dijon, FR, 2022.
The film installation IN THE STRANGLEHOLD OF IVY grants entry into a house that has been reclaimed by nature. A key grants access to a house sticking out of a green thicket. The arrangement of the ten 16mm loops expands the architecture of the exhibition space and also opens up the filmic space. The space functions as a heterotopic labyrinth through which a ghostly presence wanders. The figure seems trapped in this labyrinth surrounded by rampant nature. In poses and gazes, the apparition, trapped in this surreal place, raises numerous questions about its history. The embodiment of pregnancy, this state of transformation, is multiplied in the juxtaposition of the loops. Simone de Beauvoir’s “ambiguous couple” of woman and child unsettles the categories of subject and object. “Flooded with life,” the woman possesses the child and is equally possessed by it. The uncanniness lies in the indistinguishability of the self and the other, the known and the unknown. Ghosts point to a trace of absence, bridging past and present, and thus also marking the relationship between mother and child. It is this uncanny prefiguration—the emergence of something hidden—that the installation takes on in the infinity of the loop, while still maintaining a firm grip on the secrets of the house. In the hopelessness of the ghost as revenant anticipated here, the film creates its own surreal phantasmagoria of corporeality, architecture, and nature, in whose expressive images we are as completely caught up as the ivy.
For over ten years Antoinette Zwirchmayr has been making films that give visual form to the fragile relationships between people, things, nature, and constructed spaces. Her work is scintillating, enigmatic, and experimental; it encompasses fragmentary image compositions and autobiographical memory narratives, filmic treatments of theoretical texts, and abstract fictional films. Bodies, objects, landscapes, and interiors are condensed in these films into precise installational arrangements and choreographic patterns of movement. The synergy of materials, colors, surfaces, and textures creates a sensory experiential space of hypnotic beauty that also harbors traces of the obscure and unfathomable. Zwirchmayr’s films are situated at the unfixed thresholds of filmic experiment, staged photography, minimalist theater, and performative art. The interstices are programmatic and resonate in the incongruous identities of the figures. Everything is in dialectical motion: the symbolic and the ambiguous, abstraction and concretion, conceptual distance and perceptual intensity, reduction, and amplitude. Disparate materials and aggregate states seek out the nearness of their respective others. The soft meets the hard, the fleeting meets the solid, the smooth meets the rugged, the organic meets the inanimate. The film material — Super 8, 16 mm, 35 mm — also becomes an essential element of the tactilely experienceable world of things. The sensitive contacts and reconfigurations presented and embodied by these works — literally from head to toe — speak not least of the wish to overcome the separation that constitutes individual existence. The utopia of belonging and of all-encompassing connection shines forth in them, but to quote one of Zwirchmayr’s film titles, it lies in shadow.