Kevin Space is happy to present the first solo exhibition of Swiss artist Stefan Sulzer in Austria. In his video works and multimedia installations, Sulzer investigates the boundaries between fiction and reality, history and historiography, narration and re-narration, experience and memory whilst drawing on socio-political, historical or autobiographical events.
His new video work Unausgesprochen (Unspoken) lies at the core of the exhibition. In fall of 2010, Sulzer travelled to Vienna and spent several days at the Simon Wiesenthal Archive, the Documentation Centre of the Association of Jewish Victims of the Nazi Regime. Unausgesprochen (Unspoken) processes the results and unresolved questions of the artist’s research based on a long standing and exceptional correspondence and evolving amicable relation between Third Reich architect Albert Speer and Holocaust survivor Simon Wiesenthal who fought insatiably against those responsible for the crimes of National Socialism. Interpreted by Hilke Altenfrohne, a member of the Schauspielhaus Zurich ensemble, Sulzer translates this exceptional exchange into a polyphonic monologue of unleashed meanings and memories; a space for discrepancy and inconsistencies of history and ideology, carried by urging presence and humanity.
The video work Heim (2015) shows images of the social housing inhabited by the artist’s father, Karl J. Sulzer, for 20 years. Following an intimate look at his home, the artist takes an observing look at his origins. Following the meticulous recordings of personal objects and memories, Heim performs both an archivist and restrained glance simultaneously – formally mirrored in the artist's book of the same name: the modified copy of the Sulzer’s father’s autobiographical book "Soldat schweig!” on his time at the Austrian Armed Forces, published in 1988, now contains a photo series of 14 photographs of the same apartment.
In the context of the present political climate and increasing emotionalization in the “populist moment”, Untitled (Soundpiece) positions itself deliberately as disruptive moment of disturbance in the exhibition. Different auditive manifestations of euphoria – recorded on concerts as well as demonstrations of radical right and left winged groups – pervade the exhibition space and interfere the subtle rehabilitation of private and historical narratives for brief moments. These affective interventions reveal a fragile and porous relationship between past and presence and systemically question moments of continuity and repetition.
"Unausgesprochen (Unspoken)" is the first exhibition of the new series Heimat that invites local and international artists to test out this conflicted and unresolved term from a variety of perspectives: What is Heimat in the face of increasing globalization, mobility and migration and simultaneous inward looking, stagnation and delineation on the other hand? This series of exhibitions and interventions explores different concepts and developments of spatial, social, cultural and personal borders and challenges myths and narratives of nation and identity. Enabling pluralist articulations of continuously shifting thresholds between us and them, me and others, as well as past and present Heimat understands itself as a locus of narrative, encounter, and critical reflection.
Stefan Sulzer lives and works in Zurich. Born in 1978, he studied visual arts at Zürcher Hochschule der Künste, the Glasgow School of Arts and received his Master’s Degree at Goldsmiths College in London. His solo shows include “The Day my Mother Touched Robert Ryman”, Title Date Duration (Manchester) and Galerie Bernhard (Zurich), “Anthem” at Swiss Church in London, “The Reading Room” at Duplex (Sarajevo). Among others his works has been presented at Centre Pompidou, Paris, Tate Modern, London, Salon Dahlmann, Berlin, Manifesta 11 and at Helmhaus Zurich.