Untere Augartenstraße 26, 1020 Wien

Loggia: Ringen

Eröffnung 09.04.2024 19:00 pm

Ausstellung 09.04.2024-02.06.2024


Katharina Schilling, Laura Hinrichsmeyer, Lisa Holzer, Len Schweder, Nadim Vardag, Stano Filko, Lucas Cranach the Elder & Workshop




I am not sure, but I think this exhibition has something to do with my deep desire for categories and definitions. A spectrum where on one end you have art, and on the other, grappling. Art blurs, complicates, and evades clear categories and definitions, yet the opposite seems true for modern submission grappling. 


Jiu-Jitsu in particular, the fastest-growing form of grappling, relies heavily on categorising techniques, positions, strategies, and skill levels. For every submission, there is an escape. For every defensive position (guard) there are several offensive counter moves (guard passes). This evolves into an algorithmic behaviour in which the participants essentially embody the flowcharts of their offensive and defensive strategies: 


'We attack the periphery – the arms, legs, and head – to gain access to Centre Mass. Once we gain access to Centre Mass, we immobilise it, so we can isolate and re-attack the periphery leading either to breaks or strangulation.'

–      Greg Souders, Standard Jiu-Jitsu 


Ideally, you win by submitting your opponent rather than by points. This way there is less ambiguity because it’s the binary model of winning and losing. To me, art is pretty much the exact opposite of that. 


Yet there is competition aplenty in this exhibition: image makers grappling with reality, mastering material, struggling with money, wrestling with themselves, contending with painting, confronting history, occupying space, arguing with language, and taking on form. 


A spectrum of engagement with reality: on one extreme is a highly active, physical approach, and on the other a purely passive, mental approach. Perhaps it resembles more of a cycle than a spectrum. 


Despite my fascination with categories, systems, and structures I’m inevitably drawn to reconcile the opposites. So instead of focusing on the grim reality of human conflict, I prefer to propose that sparring is the central activity in art, life, and grappling: rough-and-tumble play. 


Rather than optimising your strategy, perfecting your stance, conquering your opponent or winning in life, it is a process of exploring the possibilities together. Engaging in an endless game of creation and cultivation of knowledge about yourself, others or infinite reality. 


They are one and the same. 


Written by Yves-Michele Saß

Edited by Signe Rose


The exhibition was made possible with the kind support of Karl and Faber auctioneers, Stiftung Stark für Gegenwartskunst, Casandra Hermann & Tectus Insurance Brokers. Special thanks to the participating artists, Marc Reifberger & Ivan Zovko, Sophie Tappeiner and Olivia Thurn-Valsassina.