The event series Rehearsals of (...), taking place in different iterations throughout the year, explores the potential of embodied and situated artistic critique. Kevin Space invites artists and writers to site-specifically think and work through ways of shaping the frameworks within which they operate – including the respective relationships to bodies, places, knowledges, and histories that these infrastructures allow for – and to push their material and ideological boundaries. After six years of exhibition making, Kevin Space furthermore aims at critically reflecting on our own involvements, desires and motivations.
In today’s landscape of contemporary art, conditions that are seemingly criticised–through claims to diversity or capitalist critique–are often structurally reproduced, sedimenting in recognisable and consumable codes, images and language, as currencies in exchanges of “difference.” Well-intended measures of transformation can easily ossify the structures of inequality that are meant to be targeted and oppose the lived experiences within the walls of the same spaces. These institutional walls are here not understood necessarily in an architectural sense but as sets of beliefs, affects and desires, perpetuated by bodies participating in the field of art.
The first iteration of the three part series Rehearsals of (...) focuses on affective and psychoanalytical investments into institutions. Rehearsals of Madness takes the fundamental anti-psychiatric idea that the definition of “insanity” is contingent on social norms as a starting point to engage in its potentially emancipatory character as a form of resistance, being able to break with liberal morality. It presumes that a certain normative behaviour is determined largely by economic dependencies, may these be characterised as cultural and social capital. Laura Hatting, Krõõt Juurak, Sophia Roxanne Rohwetter and Miriam Stoney address madness in its multiple meanings as insanity, folly, irrationality, anger, and despair to respond to instrumentalizations of criticality within the field of art: when critique is accepted as long as it is not too uncomfortable or distressing and the consumable play between transgression and acceptance remains a performative tool to secure the status quo.
Rehearsals of Madness is also inspired by Andrea Fraser's idea of “splitting” according to which “what we take as critical negation in art discourse often functions as defensive negation in a psychoanalytic sense: disowning the parts of our own practices, interests and institutions we judge as bad, which also enables us to persist in them.” Such splitting offers a seeming, yet distorted resolution that we together with the invited artists and writers seek to undo.
Laura Hatting lives and works in Vienna. Hatting refuses to be categorised into a single narrow field of practice. The main content of the artist's work is capitalist alienation, clinical monstrosity, disgust and despair.
Krõõt Juurak, born 1981 in Tallinn, is an artist and performer, whose work often deals with de-professionalization. Juurak graduated from ArtEz, Arnhem, in dance and choreography and obtained an MA in Fine Arts from the Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam. Their work comprises of performances and performative conditions, presentations, texts, workshops, moods and conflicts. Juurak lives and works in Vienna.
Sophia Roxane Rohwetter is a writer and researcher working in cultural theory and art writing. She currently completes a Master in Critical Studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, where she works as an assistant at the Institute of Art Theory and Cultural Studies. Her research focuses on visual cultures of anti-psychiatry, feminist poetics of madness and psychoanalysis. She writes for Texte zur Kunst and Spike Art Magazine and is the co-founder of the digital literature magazine &SHY;.
Miriam Stoney works with text. Often working collaboratively, her practice incorporates art writing, audio, performance and installation. Having completed studies in art history at Oxford University and architectural history at UCL, her work now explores architectures of selfhood in the various ecologies we inhabit. She received the Broken Dimanche Press Writing Prize in 2020 and will soon publish her debut novel. Her first solo exhibition was in 2021 at Kunstverein Kevin Space in Vienna, while other works have been shown at Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich and Mumok in Vienna among other venues.