Sonia LeimerAutoterritorium

Museum Exhibition
Curated byJürgen Tabor
TAXISPALAIS Kunsthalle Tirol
4 Mar11 Jun 2017
read inGerman
Sonia Leimer’s exhibition Autoterritorium weaves a selection of her sculptures and multimedia installations into a complex narrative about the political as well as individual perception, definition and occupation of spaces. In the exhibition she confronts cultural narratives, such as the ideology of the space age, with personal forms of appropriating space. Leimer’s works are often conveyors and bearers of socio-cultural histories, but simultaneously their possibilities for use and activation prompt visitors to think up and define their own histories. The exhibition centres on the temporal and performative character of Sonia Leimer’s sculptural works. A key element in its mise-en-scène is an all-connecting spatial structure: a performance floor space, forming a stage area that interrelates the various works with each other and the visitors and frames them as performers.
In her performance and sequence of sculptures titled Eroberung des Nutzlosen [Conquest of the Useless], Leimer’s concern is with the bases of spatial perception and the relationship between subject and object. The piece draws on an experiment in perceptual psychology from 1959 involving a chimpanzee, which gave visible demonstration of a complex faculty for comprehending space and gestalts. Leimer’s modular sculptures are based on the historical research objects, and will be part of a choreography with a number of performers revolving around investigation, interaction and cooperation.
Leimer’s Untitled (Asphalt) is a walk-on floor-sculpture made up of fragments of streets. The pieces of asphalt, which have been cut out of various streets in Vienna, are not so much found objects as objects that have been deliberately torn from public space. The marks, traces, and abrasions on their surfaces form chance compositions that have however been consciously chosen, and which tell of occurrences and activities inscribed in them as compressed layers of time.
These forms of personal spatial perception and appropriation are juxtaposed by Leimer with political/ideological concepts of space in her multimedia works Neues Land [New Land] and Iwanowo [Ivanovo]. Neues Land is based on a journey Leimer took to the atomic icebreaker Lenin in Murmansk, and themes the pioneering Soviet spirit in the 1950s to 1980s that informed the claims to power directed to as-yet unoccupied territories, such as outer space or the Arctic. Like Neues Land, Iwanowo is also an installation that triggers associations with and themes the current political situation via materials from contemporary history. The historical fabric patterns that have been employed for the seat sculptures in Iwanowo point to the political penetration of everyday life in the Soviet Union and form a background layer to the video Above the Crocodiles. The video reworks recent film footage of two Russian cosmonauts in the space station ISS: they are observing the Earth’s surface from a great distance with a subjective camera, and commenting on what they see. Leimer intervenes in the shots on a verbal level by introducing the voice of a third, female cosmonaut who links the fascinated, distanced gaze at the world with political changes in the present times.
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  • Marina Faust
  • Courtesy: TAXISPALAIS Kunsthalle Tirol
  • © TAXISPALAIS Kunsthalle Tirol

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