“TOTEM AND TABOO. complexity and relationships between art and design”
Curators: Elena Agudio, Bessaam El–Asmar, Tido von Oppeln, and Alexandra Waldburg-Wolfegg
The exhibition TOTEM AND TABOO at freiraum quartier21 INTERNATIONAL examines the relationship between art and design. It features works by contemporary designers and artists who work on the frontiers and crossovers of their respective disciplines.

International participants include Øystein Aasan, Stephane Barbier Bouvet, Paolo Chiasera, Jan De Cock, Martino Gamper, Jeppe Hein, Kueng Caputo, Lisa Lapinski, Rodney LaTourelle & Louise Witthoeft, Kai Linke, Studio Makkink & Bey, Michaela Meise, Mirko Mielke, Manfred Pernice, Gianni Pettena, Bertjan Pot, Stefan Sagmeister, Andrea Sala, Joe Scanlan, Clemence Seilles, Judith Seng & Alex Valder, Jerszy Seymour, Florian Slotawa, Albert Weis, Johannes Wohnseifer, and Heimo Zobernig. Some of them will be living at the MQ in the coming months as quartier21 Artists-in-Residence.
TOTEM AND TABOO views art as a relative of design. The eponymous collection of essays by Sigmund Freud defines totem as an object representing an absent relative. Taboo stands for the fear of incest, or excessive closeness among family members. Curators Elena Agudio, Bessaam El–Asmar, Tido von Oppeln, and Alexandra Waldburg-Wolfegg referred to Freud’s text as a model to describe the relationship between design and art.
The works shown include a piece by conceptual artist Florian Slotawa consisting of furniture from the local IKEA market. Designers Judith Seng and Alex Valder teamed up with glassmaker J. & L. Lobmeyr and created a series called “Misfits” with rejects of classic objects from Lobmeyr’s traditional collection exclusively for the exhibition. Artist Johannes Wohnseifer is showing sculptures made with parts of an assembly kit that Gerrit Rietveld created in 1923 for his “Berlin Chair”. Landscape architect and artist Rodney LaTourelle brings a site-specific color sculpture to the exhibition space and with this intervention responds to both the limits of the term sculpture and our conception of objects and environments. Designer Martino Gamper is showing “Arnold Circus”, a series of stools developed to resocialize a plaza by the same name in London.
Children’s workshops will be offered as well: “Crafts and Skills” will take place on October 15 and 16 with Clemence Seilles and Mirko Mielke, and on November 5 and 6 with Kueng Caputo and Stephane Barbier Bouvet.
During VIENNA ART WEEK, on November 17 at 18:00, Niklas Maak, director of the art section of the leading German paper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, will lead an artist talk with American artist Joe Scanlan with support from Dornbracht Culture Projects. The exhibition catalogue produced by art publisher SCHLEBRÜGGE.EDITOR will be launched that same evening.
The quartier21 series freiraum quartier21 INTERNATIONAL shows international exhibitions in the quartier21 core disciplines digital art, fashion, and design. Since fall 2009, it has staged seven exhibitions with a total of 100,000 visitors in cooperation with the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs and numerous partners from Austria and other countries.
All events at freiraum quartier21 INTERNATIONAL are free of charge.

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