press release

Edgar Honetschläger is a traveller between cultures who, over the past two decades, has lived mainly in Tokyo, but also in New York, Los Angeles, São Paulo, Rome and Vienna. In reference to the theory of artistic disciplines, Honetschläger's practice combines two extremes: drawing, the quintessential means of expression (suffice to think of the Lascaux Cave paintings), and filmic work with moving images and sound, an art form which, for its unlimited technical reproducibility, has become a symbol of the modern, globalized world.

Honetschläger's work originates from his anthropological curiosity in the "Other". In his drawings and films, the artist reflects cultural phenomena and false assumptions with the distanced look of the outsider, combining them with his protagonists' introspective feelings. While Honetschläger's drawings retain a child-like spontaneity or freshness that betrays the artist's curiosity and amazement at his discoveries, his films are surprisingly complex in structure. Intertwining social and historic myths with personal experiences, their often critical stance is aimed at deeply rooted cultural characteristics, whose purported origins they ceaselessly question.

In analysing the tension that thus arises between the individual and the collective in various cultures, Honetschläger often chooses the world's big cities as context. The most recent work in this exhibition, for instance, a series of 27 drawings entitled Kappa Goes Tokyo, is an updated account of an old Japanese myth. It tells the story of a kappa (kappas are water goblins who live in ponds and fountains, eat small children and gherkins, and impart a very personal brand of wisdom) who heads off to the big city, where he discovers an entirely new world. After a series of adventures, he eventually even learns to fly.

Celebrating the constant shift between genres, elements and aggregate states, this story is a plea for the freedom of choice, which the artist sees hidden in the metropolis. The status of drawing in his work is itself related to this vision of freedom, as it reflects his ongoing struggle with two-dimensionality and the diktat of the central perspective. Similarly, Honetschläger's films frequently use two-dimensional drawings as stage sets. In Enduring Freedom, for instance, a filmic metaphor about the USA after 9/11, the actor is seen lying in an actual bed, while the other elements in the picture – a window, a bulb, a light switch, a fan and a mosquito – have been drawn on the wall. The artist's dismissal of the Western central perspective in an attempt to escape "absolute" ways of looking is a political manifesto in favour of cultural diversity and the freedom of the gaze.

The exhibition at Casino Luxembourg presents drawings and film works by Edgar Honetschläger from the past eight years. The selection intends to explore the artist's use of narrative structures, while surveying the wide range of approaches that characterise his work.

Edgar Honetschläger (*1969) was born in Linz and studied Economics and Art History at Vienna University. He lives and works mainly in Tokyo and Vienna. Among other places, he has exhibited at Documenta X (1997), the World Exhibition in Aichi, Japan (2005) and the Taiwan National Palace Museum. His films have been selected for festivals all over the world, recently the Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal Film Festivals, Rio de Janeiro Short Film Festival and Locarno Film Festival. More information on:

Curated by Dieter Buchhart & Enrico Lunghi

In collaboration with Kunsthalle Krems

Catalogue: Edgar Honetschläger. EDOPOLIS, Verlag für moderne Kunst, Nürnberg (German / English). Texts by Dieter Buchhart, Edgar Honetschläger, Enrico Lunghi, Gertjan Zuilhof. 96 p., col. ill. co-edited Kunsthalle Krems, Casino Luxembourg. ISBN 978-3-941185-26-5.

only in german

Edgar Honetschläger
Kuratoren: Dieter Buchhart, Enrico Lunghi