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]a[ exhibition space
Opening | 11.07.2019, 7.00 p.m.
Date | 12.07.2019 - 14.09.2019
Venue | xE – Exhibition Space of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Eschenbachgasse 11, Corner Getreidemarkt, 1010 Vienna

Opening hours: Tue–Fri, 11.00 am-6.00 pm, Sat, 11.00 am-3.00 pm, closed on Sun, Mon and holidays, free access

Curator: Mariel Rodríguez

Artists: Abdul Sharif Baruwa, Cana Bilir-Meier, Juliana Borinski, Guillermo Gómez-Peña & Balitronica Gómez (La Pocha Nostra), Verena Melgarejo Weinandt, Stephanie Misa, Érika Ordosgoitti

Field Within is an exploration into recent manifestations of the ethnographic turn in contemporary art through the works of six artists and one artist collective.


Verena Melgarejo Weinandt: Interfaces Entretelas I, 2017
(c) Verena Melgarejo Weinandt


The image of the ethnographer as a thrill-seeking outsider willing to withdraw from “civilization” and to immerse herself/himself into unknown faraway cultures to unveil them in the name of science is, of course, outdated. Is it an appropriation of this figure by the arts what Hal Foster sharply pointed at in his text “The Artist as Ethnographer?” (1995), have contemporary artistic practices been able to abandon this topos and conceive of other forms of engagement? Can the field of research be found within? Can we conceive the artist as someone whose practice consists of this form of estrangement?

Field Within is an exploration into recent manifestations of the ethnographic turn in contemporary art through the works of six artists and one artist collective whose various practices thematize and problematize different dimensions of self-ethnography. The dialogue between the assembled works and their artistic concerns focuses on how the concepts and methods of anthropology and art overlap. Referencing James Clifford and George E. Marcus’s “Writing Culture” (1986) debates on textuality and the crisis of representation of anthropology, Field Within proposes a reflection on the ever-changing articulation of the notion of difference, the tensions between belonging and marginality, and the conceptualization of culture in plural.

The exhibition might be read as a field of research and a journey into various notions of the self; as an invitation to move toward other forms of critical sensibility; as a place where the rearticulation of art within everyday life can occur, where positivist dichotomies can be fully abandoned to open up a space for contradiction; where reality can be suspended in favor of fiction and the self is no longer sought outside but can be discovered within.

1_Field Within_ Montage Field Within
© Mariel Rodríguez, Klaus Leidorfer

4_Cana Bilir Meier_Grundstein_Foundation Stone_2019_c Cana Bilir Meier Cana Bilir-Meier, Grundstein / Foundation Stone, 2019 (Still)
© Cana Bilir-Meier

16_Stephanie Misa_Eye I Ei_2019_c Stephanie Misa Mata Hari, 1931 (Still), Film with Greta Garbo and Ramon Navarro, director: George Fitzmaurice, as part of the installation Eye ( I ) Ei, 2019 by Stephanie Misa 

14_Erika Ordosgoitti_COMIDA DE MOSCAS_2013_ c Erika Ordosgoitti Erika Ordosgoitti, Comida de Moscas, 2014 (Still)
© Erika Ordosgoitti