Artwork of the month October

Maria Anwander, Untitled (Why art now?) and Untitled (and what for?), 2014

Maria Anwander

* 1980 in Bregenz, Austria

Untitled (Why art now?) and Untitled (and what for?), 2014

Neon writing, 2 parts

30 x 110 cm, 30 x 130 cm


Not without humour, Maria Anwander interrogates the functions and mechanisms of art and the art industry in her work. In doing so she subverts established rules, astutely puts familiar things in a surprising new context, critically spotlights gender-specific discourses, and focuses the discussion on male dominance in the frame of reference of art history. The aspect of presence and absence form a constant in her work. One example is when Anwander detaches John Baldessari's Balls from the iconic photographic series Throwing Three Balls in the Air to Get a Straight Line (Best of 36 attempts) from 1977; or when she purloins the labels of works close to her heart from various art institutions. In the factual absence of her «favourite works», she installs them sign next to sign, as if in an imaginary exhibition, in a new constellation: «Instead of supplying didactic answers, my intention is to (formally) represent the process of questioning so as to prompt a possible discourse.»

Why art now?—in shiny white writing, reminiscent of the neon advertising signs ingrained in our cultural memory, Anwander asks why we need art now. To whom does she address this seemingly «harmless» question? The prepossessing way in which the "«lluminating» question is posed induces the visitor to put himself or herself in the position of the intended target and to imagine his or her associations with such a fundamental question: Why is art relevant (today)? What is and must art be capable of (and does it have to be capable of anything)? The follow-up question and what for? frames a kind of imaginary space for intellectual games that the artist deliberately encourages by hanging the two-part work separately: and what is art relevant for today? Taking a conceptual approach, Maria Anwander uses the formal expression of the question to probe the art system, at the same time prompting a process of reflection on the necessity and motivation of and the desire for art.

Denise Rigaud

<b>Maria Anwander, Untitled (Why art now?) and Untitled (and what for?), 2014</b>
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein highlights a work from the permanent collection each month throughout the year. Works from the collection of the Hilti Art Foundation are also included in this series on a regular basis.