The Kunsthalle Wien Prize is a cooperation of Kunsthalle Wien with the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and the University of Applied Arts Vienna For the ﬁrst time, the exhibition showcasing the winners of the Kunsthalle Wien Prize 2021 will take the form of a group presentation, gathering eight artists, who graduated last year either from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna or the University of Applied Arts Vienna: Anna Spanlang and Diana Barbosa Gil – winners of the ﬁrst prize – as well as Cho Beom-Seok, Jojo Gronostay, Ani Gurashvili, Lukas Kaufmann, Nora Severios, and Chin Tsao.
✴ Could you briefly describe the art- works you presented?
I am represented with three works in the exhibition—Corporate Synthetic Felt Carpet, Untitled, and Chateau Rouge Displays. Corporate Synthetic Felt Carpet is a floor installation with sculptures: pants scattered over gray felt carpets. They are part of my project DEAD WHITE MEN’S CLOTHES. DWMC is an art project and fashion label. The label’s name originates from the Ghanaian expression “Obroni Wawu”: when the first waves of second- hand clothes arrived from the Global North in Ghana in the 1970s as help aid, the cloth- ing was of such a high quality that locals assumed that the previous owner must have died. The photo installation Untitled consists of edited photographic imagery taken in Barcelona of the hands of street merchants. They hold ropes connected to blankets, which serve as display surfaces for their products, mostly fake designer goods. The ropes are an aid used to pack up things as quickly as possible, should
the police turn up at the scene. Chateau Rouge Displays is a photographic work, too. The photos show typologies of abandoned cardboard tables, which I found in the eighteenth district near the Château Rouge metro station in Paris. The cardboard boxes were used as pedestals for the presenta- tion of pirated merchandise.
✴ What are these artworks about? The works pose questions about
hierarchies (between the Global South and the Global North and between “high” and applied arts), identity (my own and
the collective), power, and value. Two aesthetics collide in Corporate Synthetic Felt Carpet: the cheap office (non-)aes- thetic of the tiling and the bleached look of upcycled secondhand clothes. Through the cropped detail and the technique, Untitled transforms the holding hands of the street vendors, which are intended to present but also protect their goods, into abstract and quasi mannerist gestures. In their diversity and multiplication, they become an alphabet of signs. In Chateau Rouge Displays, precar- ious sales pedestals become fragile (and precious) architectures.
✴ What are your main interests in your artistic practice?
In my work, I deal with notions of
identity, display, and “recycling.” It is im- portant to me to create works that are not clearly categorizable. They are intended
to illustrate the complex and paradoxical nature of the relationship between Europe and Africa. Furthermore, I am interested in concepts of value and economy as well as spiritual, human, and material exchanges in different social contexts.