Starting on the 25th of March and running until the 23th of May 2021, iMAL presents SUB, the latest installation in a series of 4 spatial environments created by Austrian artist Kurt Hentschläger. Set in complete darkness, SUB is an immersive and meditative environment conceived to tingle your senses by skippering between depriving and overloading them. iMAL is bringing the work to Brussels for its European première.
SUB induces a simple yet dramatic perceptual shift: Embarking into pitch black, with the work's gestalt both initially unsettling and then increasingly hypnotic, you are invited to drift off into an ambiguous state of sensory deprivation and overload. The predominant absence of light in SUB is contrasted, in intervals, by bright bursts of animated abstract forms and patterns. Returning back into darkness, ghostly retinal after-images linger, slowly fading until the next eruption of light.
Before entering the installation, your are asked to leave behind your phone and any other communication, photographic, or ‘light emitting devices’. This is to maintain the complete darkness in the installation space and to urge everybody to leave day-to-day habits at the door. In this space of repose, posting to social media, taking selfies, or texting are put on hold.
Experiencing SUB makes time and space for a meditative break, a moment of minimized visual sensing without the noise and distraction emitted by a hyper-mediated world. While light in SUB appears for fractions of seconds only, sound is present throughout and is both synchronized to the light events as well as continuously evolving and subtly re-arranging in the space. SUB has no beginning or end and you may enter at any time and stay as long as you desire. Depending on one's position in space, visual and sonic impressions will vary substantially.
About Kurt Hentschläger
New York based Austrian artist Kurt Hentschläger creates media installations and performances for both physical and virtual spaces.
Hentschläger’s works have characteristically been visceral and immersive, as in ZEE, FEED & more recently in SOL, SUB and EKO, and are known for their perceptual effects. They challenge an audience psychologically but also offer a meditative respite from the day-to-day stress of technologically accelerated life. His representational body of work, including MEASURE and ORT, suggests a semi-synthetic nature that serves as a metaphor for our life in the Anthropocene.
His work practice embraces experiment and interdisciplinary approach, most prominently displayed in his ephemeral audiovisual environments and live shows in between fine arts, music and theater. Between 1992 and 2003 he collaborated in the groundbreaking media art duo "Granular=Synthesis", known for emotionally intense works, developing what is now referred to as immersive art.
Selected presentations include the Venice Biennial, the Venice Theater Biennial, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, PS1 New York, MAC - Musée d'Art Contemporain Montreal, MAK – Museum of Applied Arts Vienna, National Art, ZKM – Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Museum of China Beijing, National Museum for Contemporary Art Seoul, ICC Tokyo, Arte Alameda Mexico City, MONA – Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Tasmania, Sharjah Art, UAE and the Power Station of Art, Shanghai.
From 2013-2018 he taught as a Full Time Visiting Artist at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
He lives and works in Staten Island, New York.
In the Press
LE SOIR: «SUB» chez iMAL, une évasion dans l’obscur. (FR)
Audiovisual composition and production by Kurt Hentschläger, 2019
Production residency by MANA Contemporary with additional support for installation premiere by the Austrian Cultural Forum New York & Hyphen Hub New York.
Initial project research and production supported by OK Center Linz, & CTM Berlin.
Production Assistance New York: Jonatan Martinez
Technical Supervisor Touring: Alexander Boehmler
Management: Richard Castelli / Epidemic
Thanks to: Isabelle Meiffert, Claudia Hart, Martin Sturm, Genoveva Rueckert, Richard Castelli, Chara Skiadelli, Florence Berthaud, Pierre Laly, Asher Remy Toledo, Richard Garet, Ysabel Pinyol, Rezarta Seferi, Liridona Seferi and everybody at Mana Contemporary.