Press Release
Linz, 27 May 2004

State Affair

28 May to 25. July 2004

In Cooperation with Villa Arson, Nice

Shake Villa Arson, Nice
3. July to 10. October 2004


Are we Austrians? French? Linzer? Niçoise? Or merely residents in a certain city district, somewhere, in a globally networked world?

Are thinking as nations and operating as states up-to-date political concepts? The exhibition project "Shake – State Affair" questions historically developed notions of "state" and "national identity" against the background of the new political order of the European landscape and the global impact of economic development. Still today, even in the age of growing trans-national networks and dependencies, our own identity and the identity of the group, the community, in which we live, are linked, first of all, with the concept of "nation" and "state".

The starting point for the exhibition is a playful mapping project by Juan Esteban Sandoval, who was commissioned by both art institutions to unite the regions around Nice and Linz and both cities themselves into a territory, a regional city-state.

On this shared plateau, the invited artists pursue different "national" aspects of state affairs. Some artists address the fictive connection to work site-specifically (Stalker, Luca Vitone). Others investigate what it means to belong to a nation, which "borders" are set for whom (Social Impact, Jota Castro) and which impact national symbols such as flags or anthems develop (Saâdane Afif, Stéphane Bérard, Antonio Gallego). Some artists grapple with the question of "citizenship", and how and in which form "foreigners" are perceived in one's own country and which attributions, exclusions and cliches this entails (Kader Attia, Lisl Ponger, Julian Rosefeldt, Jens Haaning, Jun Yang). They show that language skills are a crucial criterion for whether one "belongs" or not (Candice Breitz). Artists develop alternatives (Niek van der Steeg), investigate the historical dimension (Dennis Adams, Hoy Cheong Wong, Tim Sharp) and the social context (Adel Abdessemed, Dorit Margreiter), argue for an "Ethnic International" (Ben Vautier) or found new states themselves (SOS – Robert Jelinek).

In the selection of the projects, special attention was given to an ironically subversive tone of discussion.

The idea and concept of the exhibition were developed in close cooperation with the Villa Arson in Nice. The selection of artists was a joint decision. The Villa Arson is a highly respected French art institution for contemporary art and pursues a concept similar to that of the O.K: both institutions have a strong artist orientation, provide good production structures and studios for residency and scholarship stays.

The framework for the exhibition is a network of eight European art institutions currently organizing seven major exhibitions under the title SHAKE, which will take place concurrently in spring/summer 2004 and will be presented in a jointly published two-volume catalogue.

Concept: Laurence Gateau, Stella Rollig, Martin Sturm
Curators: Laurence Gateau, Genoveva Rückert

Adel Abdessemed /DZ
"Un cri court", 1998
A very personal video portrait of a friend, an Algerian conductor, who directs an orchestra oriented to classical western music. Requested by the artist to overcome his inhibitions and express his pain as loudly as possible, the man jumps and screams in time with a ticking metronome. In their uniformity and rhythm, the tormented cries seem like a strange expression from a ritual song or prayer.
Adel Abdessemed, born 1971 in, Constatine, Algeria, lives and works in Berlin

Dennis Adams /US
„Recovered“ /10 on 10”, 1993
In an edition of ten books, Adams combines screenprints of city districts of Marseilles, where Algerian migrants live, each with one photograph of an Algerian woman without a veil. The portraits are from Marc Garanger, who was commissioned by the French government to conduct a census after the Algerian War in the 50s. The portrait of a woman on the last page is half covered by the picture of the city, thus conveying how the photographs were perceived as a colonial humiliation and disregard for Algerian culture.
Dennis Adams, born 1948 in Des Moines, Iowa, lives and works in New York

Saâdane Afif /FR
„National (Linz)“, 2004
The simple color formulas of existing flags can still be read, even when they consist of clothing, as in the work by Saâdane Afif. Conceived as a series, the French flag is repeatedly recognizable in the composition of regionally typical articles of clothing, as in "National (Linz)" – an indication of the mingling of a foreign nation with a regional context.
Saâdane Afif, born 1970, lives and works in Paris

Kader Attia /FR
„Correspondance“, 2003
In dem zweiteiligen Video wird auf einer sehr persönlichen Ebene die Migrationsbewegung aus den Maghrebstaaten nach Frankreich und die Schizophrenität nationaler Identität greifbar. Die in Algerien und in Paris lebenden Mitglieder seiner Familie verbindet Attia in dem ersten Teil über Videosequenzen und Familienfotos. Im zweiten Teil des Videos stellt sich die heiratswillige, algerische Cousine des Künstlers, einem vermeintlichen zukünftigen französischen Bräutigam vor.
Kader Attia, geboren 1970 in Dugny (Seine Saint-Denis, FR); lebt und arbeitet in Paris

Stéphane Bérard / FR
Identification with a national state or a nation-state requires the performative repetition of constitutive elements in language, culture, sports and religion. National symbols such as cultural goods, flags and anthems are given an ironic turn in Bérards' work:
The competition among nations that is conventional in sports is undermined by an attempt to start for the Olympic Games under the Gabonese flag ("Attempt to participation to J.O. of Nagano, under the colors of the Gabonese Republic“)
The "Fire Proof Flags", 2002 – 2004 – the fire-proof flags of Israel, Great Britain, the USA and France – are a political statement.
In the newly produced work "Information Highway", 2004, the foreigner is called upon in a first lesson to learn German through highway and street designations using an Austrian road map.
Stéphane Bérard, born 1966, lives and works in Paca (Marseilles)

Candice Breitz /ZA/DE
„Alien (Ten Songs from Beyond)“, 2003
Language as exclusion or inclusion / acceptance / construction mechanism for belonging to a national "community" is the focal point of Candice Breitz' work. Starting from anthems and songs that are considered part of the cultural heritage of a nation, a strange charge arises in the installation "Alien (Ten Songs from Beyond)", 2003, as immigrant Germans simply move their lips in synch with traditional German songs against a background of representative buildings in Berlin.
Candice Breitz, born 1972 in Johannesburg, lives and works in Berlin

Jota Castro /PE/BE
„Willkommen Fremde“, 2004
With notices in the three languages most frequently spoken by illegal immigrants – Rumanian, Bulgarian and Russian – integrated into the Austrian flag, the artist and political activist Jota Castro welcomes those who speak these languages to the exhibition. These immigrants, who elude all statistics, are thus made visible.
Jota Castro, born 1969 in Peru, lives and works in Brussels

Wong Hoy Cheong /MY
"RE:Looking", 2002 - 2004
In a complex spatial arrangement, in "RE:Looking" Wong Hoy Cheong tells the fictive story of the rule of the Malaysian royal family in Austria – using the medium of the documentary film, enhanced with a homepage.
Wong Hoy Cheong, born 1960 in Penang , Malaysia; lives and works in Kuala Lumpur (MY) and London

Antonio Gallego /FR
„Trashflags # 3 – Linz“, 2004
25 cardboard panels, painted with the flags of the EU, are bent in the middle so that they stand like little huts, reminiscent of makeshift shelters – a metaphor for the unstable protection of the community of states expanded since May 1st.
Antonio Gallego, born 1956 in Villenne sur Seine/France, lives and works in Paris

Jens Haaning /DK
„Foreigners Free“, 1997 – 2001
With free admission for foreigners at the O.K Center, the institution is challenged to take a position and confront the definition of "foreigners" and the relevant "identification" with visitors entering the exhibition.
Jens Haaning, born 1965 in Copenhagen, lives and works in Copenhagen and Berlin

State of Sabotoge (SoS) / Robert Jelinek /AT
„SoS Gate - Territorial Phantom“, 2004
The micronation State of Sabotage (SOS), founded in 2003 by Robert Jelinek with artist colleagues, undermines existing national conventions. In addition to the temporarily established SOS consulate, the constitution of the state and its real territory, among other things, are shown in a four-part video documentation. In analogy to the moments of a nation on which identity is founded – from passports and flags to national monuments and a national dish – SOS develops its own forms of representation. As a subversive reference and visual sign, SOS leaves behind permanently installed drain covers (in Linz and Nice). Visitors have an opportunity to become citizens of the artist nation and participate in the ongoing process of recognition as a sovereign state.
Robert Jelinek, born in Pilsen, CZ; lives and works in Vienna and Baldrockistan, SoS

Dorit Margreiter /AT
„The World May Not Be Deep, But It Is Definitly Shallow and Wide“, 2004
In her video work, Dorit Margreiter portrays the "outdoor" Shopping Mall - "The Grove", which is built like the center of a small town as an artificial city-state, but is located in the middle of Los Angeles.
Dorit Margreiter, born 1967 in Vienna; lives and works in Vienna and Los Angeles, USA

Lisl Ponger /DE/AT
„Phantom fremdes Wien“, 1991 - 2004
The starting point of the work are Ponger's Super 8 films, created 1991 – 1992, which led to the publication "Fremdes Wien" ("Foreign Vienna") and the photo series of the same name.
In "Phantom fremdes Wien", 2004, Lisl Ponger reflects on her view of multicultural Vienna in a reassessment of the material. Pictures of minority Austrians from the first version are juxtaposed with a reflection on their creation and the view of "exotic" Vienna as a film.
Lisl Ponger, born 1947 in Nuremberg, DE; lives in Vienna

Julian Rosefeldt /DE
„Asylum“, 2001/02
Stereotype notions of ethnic minorities – from the exotic Thai woman to the Chinese cook and Turkish garbage collector – are exaggerated and contravened by Julian Rosefeldt in the meticulously staged "Tableau Vivants" of the spatially arranged video installation "Asylum".
Julian Rosefeldt, born 1965 in Munich; lives and works in Berlin

Juan Esteban Sandoval /CO/IT
„soundomat“, 2004
The merging of the two regions around Linz and Nice into a territory was the point of departure for the exhibition. Sandoval documents the ongoing continuation of the "merging territories project, 2004" and the documentation of his research and contacts (especially with MAIZ, Radio Fro and Medea) in the course of his stays in Linz and Nice with a wall work. The public transportation company Linz Linien AG agreed to a cooperation for public space, providing tram ticket machines for the audio installation "soundomat", 2004. At the tram stops Unionkreuzung and Taubenmarkt and in the Arena in front of O.K, conversations with and music by migrants can be selected from manipulated machines, making the often invisible cultures in urban space audible.
Juan Esteban Sandoval, born 1972 in Medellín, Columbia, lives and works in Turin and Biella, Italy

Social Impact /AT
„border rescue“, 2003
The long-term project dealing with illegal border crossings from Czechia to Austria is presented at O.K in the form of hiking guides. The brochure and homepage with instructions for illegal immigration has already triggered heated discussions in the media in the past.
SOCIAL IMPACT /// Harald Schmutzhard, born 1965, lives and works in Linz, founding of the artist group Social Impact (1997) with the aim of addressing sociopolitical conflicts.

Stalker /IT
„Kleinmünchen Gastmahl“, 2004
The group Stalker works with excluded groups and cultural groups within an urban community. In Linz and Nice they issue an invitation to a banquet in the form of a "Fraschetta" – an Italian tradition of celebrations, where drinks are free, but the guests bring their own food. The documentation of the "Gesture of Hospitality" that took place on the grounds of the Spinnerei, formerly a Voest residential area, is shown in the exhibition and illustrates different regional and social structures in a complementary show of the event in Nice.
Artist collective and activist group founded in 1995, Aldo Innocenti, Valerio Romito, Francesco Carreri, live and work in Rome

Niek van de Steeg / NL/FR
„Structures de Correction : La Table de Debat“, 2000 - 2004
In a series of installations, Niek van de Steeg investigates the "Structure de Correction", obvious but also hidden democratic structures, translating them into the form of an unstable negotiation table.
In the Installation at the O.K, the debating table is devoted to questions of national identity, in which the exhibition visitors are also included through art mediation programs.
Niek van de Steeg, born 1961 in the Netherlands, lives and works in Lyon/ F

Tim Sharp /GB/AT
„I_D_Entities / SCRAM“, 2004
Tim Sharp deals with the theme of the historical dimension of national identity and its visual representation using the example of Helgoland, for which the German Empire traded Zanzibar with Great Britain in late 1890.
A historical picture of an African woman in mounted into hand-colored photographs of Helgoland, underlaid with up-to-date instructions for attaining a new identity.
Tim Sharp, born in Perth, Scotland; lives and works in Vienna since 1978.

Ben Vautier /FR

„Ben Vautier kam nach Linz und sprach“, 2004
In his work for Linz ("Ben Vautier Came to Linz and Spoke"), Ben Vautier continues his work with ethnicism, which he has conducted since the 60s and which is extensively documented on the web site . His ideological starting point and his argument for an ethnic Internationale form a counterposition to national views and demarcations, promoting discussions particularly against the background of ethnically motivated wars. With a graffiti-like wall work, Vautier postulates a statement and illustrates his stance with the book "La clef".
Ben Vautier, born 1935 in Napoli, Italy, lives and works in Nice, France

Luca Vitone /IT
„Verso oltralpe, verso sudovest“, 2004
Luca Vitone builds a viewing platform on the roof of the O.K, from which the flag-bedecked Villa Arson in Nice can be seen in the south-west through a prepared telescope. The red wheel on a black ground – a conglomerate of anarchist and Roma flags – creates a subtle reference linking both institutions. At the symbolic level it refers to the pan-European phenomenon of the travelling and dispersed Roma. With his work "Wide City" 1998, which is also exhibited, he offers both institutions a common framework for exploring the European region, its minorities, its internal and external borders.
Luca Vitone, born 1964 in Genoa, lives and works in Milan, Italy

Jun Yang /CN/AT
"Camouflage. LOOK like them TALK like them", 2002/2003
Urban space is not only the etymological root of citizenship (citoyen), it also stands historically for the freedom of citizens.
Against the background of anonymity in urban space, Jun Yang tells three concrete stories of being foreign or illegal, blended in the person X.
Jun Yang, born 1975 in China; lives and works in Vienna

SHAKE NIGHT       9 July 2004

7 pm Moviemento Kino
Film, A 2002, Digi-Beta, color and black and white, 90 min.
Director: Paul Poet

9 pm Summer Cinema
Film, Germany 2002 - Director: Hans-Christian Schmid

subsequently, about 11 pm
Oliver Hangl: OK On Ear
Concerts and DJs parallel in the O.K Mediendeck and Summer Cinema and via headphones in double-channel sound.

Midnight on the deck of the O.K
State Banquet State of Sabotage

about 1 am Party Mediendeck

1 am Moviemento Cinema
Film, A 1977, color, 67 min.
Director: Franz Novotny

Press information: Maria Falkinger, t:+43.732.784178-203,