About the exhibition
Smolka Contemporary is proud to present Kai Trausenegger’s first solo exhibition Super AMOLED in the gallery space at Lobkowitzplatz 3 in Vienna.
Kai Trausenegger’s work focuses heavily on rituals of the art world and the spiritual role of artistic production in society. While being concerned with the constant charging and discharging of objects, a layer of historicism is cast over the formal praxis of the artist. With the use of state-of-the-art precision production techniques like laser-cutting and 3D printing, existing classical forms, shapes and symbols are re-interpreted and transformed into contemporary artefacts.
Super AMOLED specifically spotlights the feelings of guilt, shame and cleansing within the commodities of art combined with technological advancement as a driving factor.
The title serves as a direct reference to the screen technology used in specific smartphones, which allows for excellent colour and contrast brilliance through active-matrix organic light-emitting diodes. It becomes a metaphor for enlightenment and the creation of epiphanies.
Photos (c) Kaja Clara Joo and Manuel Carreon Lopez
Lobkowitzplatz 3, 1010 Vienna
When approaching the gallery, the installation Stellvertreter (2021) can be spotted through the display window. A prominently placed cast of a backside in concrete is presented to the willing voyeurs, who can observe how a mechanical whip continuously lashes at the sinners’ proxy at a periodical, but always slightly random rate. As the German title suggests, the object can be seen as a moral substitute for people who can afford to delegate moral responsibilities to a third party to avoid a deeper reflection and systematic change. It becomes an object entangled in the societal role of a wealthy elite that generously funds the arts as an ethical loophole. The punishment of the Stellvertreter is therefore eternal and it takes the medieval role of a royal whipping boy.
Right after entering the exhibition space, Straight Edge (2021) illuminates the space in an unnaturally bright white light. Repulsing and attracting at the same time, the sculptures cast in plaster welcome and lure beings into their influence. A barbed hook is installed in front of the light source, which can be used as an attaching anchor that is placed in the soft tissue beneath the chin. The light emitting from the sculptures operates at the wavelength used in heliotherapy. The light therefore gives direction and creates a tunnel vision, which ends in complete dissolvement.
Holy, Holy, Holy, 2021
85 x 85 x 85 cm
Mixed Media Installation / Aluminium, Stahl, Acrystal, PVC
The central installation of the exhibition Holy, Holy, Holy (2021), shows three heads that are being cleansed in a circular water basin. The constant movement of the water and inevitable collision of the heads slowly abrade the distinctive facial features. Serving as an apparatus of the purgatory, the fluid is pumped in a continuous cycle leaving the subjects in a constant state of re-enactment of the self.
Gaze (2021) is a relief carved out of 120 kilograms of aluminium depicting the angel, which is seen as the closest and the first physical manifestation of god’s will. The installation connects all the artworks in the exhibition and serves as the central element overlooking the exhibition environment. The choice of material is based on the artificial and immensely energy-intense process of the production of aluminium through electrolysis. The perceived purity and energetic charging becomes a symbol for the heavenly or divine, which cannot be found naturally on earthly matter but only as a cultural creation.
In the next room, Post Nut Clarity (2021) can be found. A series of photographs in steel frames are placed on one side of the room, facing a simple woodblock print.
The print depicts a man who is peeling off the outer layer of his body. The photographs on the other side show seemingly exfoliated, amorphous and not clearly definable organic forms. The process of cleansing of shame and the current topics of white guilt and skin colour, identity and representation as an identifying factor in the cultural institutional context is portrayed.
The borrowed term “post-nut-clarity” is loosely defined as the feeling of an elevated state of mind, which occurs after orgasming and is often described as the moment when important life decisions are made. It is an empty body without the haze of lust or sin.