Exhibition project

at WUK Versuchsanstalt
curated by Natalia Gurova,
Rafael Lippuner and adO/Aptive
6.10. – 25.10.2023

open floor: practice of a common ground is an exhibition project inviting six collectives working in and around Vienna to establish a literal common ground, on which various practices converge and coalesce in a shared space. Tratado Material, TECHNOPOLITICS, AUSLÄNDER, Danube Transformation Agency for Agency, Office Ukraine, and MŰTŐ: we invited these six collectives comprising individuals from various backgrounds to lay out a segment of “open floor”, a common ground or field of various practices that converge and coalesce into a mutual, shared experience. During the show and discussion events, each collective will reflect on their modes of cooperation – how objects, knowledge, feelings, and experiences are shared among them and with an audience. The intervention on the floor of VERSUCHSANSTALT is intended to provoke a discussion of the venue’s industrial past, generate connections between artistic positions, and invite visitors to engage and enter into dialogue with the presented works.

building groups to make art
“open floor” is an exhibition project that emerged out of an interest in presenting modes of collective art creation. As the general understanding and validation of contemporary art is (currently) shifting and moving towards a political (and social) questioning of the conditions of art production, as well as a more general question of what art as a practice aims and should aim for; has the discipline become something that should somehow continue to value reflecting on itself as an ethical imperative?
The figure of the solitary creative generating ideas inside a single brain and studio space has been debated and questioned by art critics and also practitioners themselves, who present and propose an alternative to this myth.

it matters what matters matter
“open floor” is about assembling this kind of work and displaying it in a setting that navigates between different conceptions of the spaces a group show is capable of opening up. It is to be a break from the hermetic structures that commonly define exhibition-making. The exhibition focuses on the practices behind art production because showcasing art as a finalized product or even a state of affairs often neglects the radical potential art has as an epistemological mediator.
The exhibition display is not only a clearly defined plane where various practices share the space, but also creates tension between the different components – between work, ephemeral, and historic elements. This dialogue between the art, the stage, the floor, and the setting enters the discursive dimensions of infrastructure, path dependency, the attention economy, and many others addressed by the collective practices. The common (carpet) ground is separated from the historic wooden floor, creating the general expectation that everything on the elevated stage deserves more attention.
In order to disrupt these dynamics, visitors can for example enter the elevated stage that hosts Office Ukraine. By showing and accentuating the layers needed to find a zone of mutual understanding, we wish to subtly critique the formal-aesthetics driven contemporary art found in many exhibitions.

the floor is lava
In the vein of the tradition of the exhibition space VERSUCHSANSTALT, open floor calls for collective experimentation, conversation, and lingering in a space that several decades ago was an experimental workstation located on a pre-industrial wooden floor of a technical school. Visitors shall be encouraged to not only engage with the collective practices of each group involved but also to direct their attention toward this floor steeped in history. Take off your shoes and enter a path that leads you through a carpet-framed structure configured by the historical idiosyncracies of the floor itself.

With friendly support by:
Kultur im 9. - Alsergrund
Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

Exhibition Views

Photos: Wolfgang Thaler