PVC and metal (iron), dimensions variable

Seen as part of the exhibition ︎︎︎ Gegen den Strich. Interventionen im öffentlichen Raum curated by Vincent Elias Weisl at Wien MUSA, 2022. 

interface ist the result of an examination of the facades of former bank buildings in Vienna. The exhibited stretchable mock-architecture is applied, if a representative building is undergoing reconstruction and a gap in the city space would emerge. For Josepha Edbauer, this cover-up exemplifies the tension between the past of a space and its present use. 

Here, the surface of a bank that was Aryanizedin 1938 is on display. The material was only provided to the artist on the condition that she does not use it for public or political purposes. The exterior architecture of Aryanized buildings often remained unchanged. A possible artistic intervention is therefore not a question of facade design, but one that needs to be touched upon inside the building. 

Interface´s source material was taken down in 2020 after a renovation. Today the building houses a supermarket. 

In the aftermath of the recent Lueger monument debate, the remnants of the
darkest chapters of the 20th century in public space once again are in the centre of discussion. The controversies regarding a contemporary approach to monuments of anti-Semitic mayors are not new and the traces of the Nazi regime in Vienna's urban space remain visible.

Art Against the Status Quo presents contrary designs for the city's public sphere.
Collectively, the eight positions articulate an alternative approach to history and memory one that does not take the past as bygone, but as a space for ongoing critical intervention. Not least to keep the discussions in present memory.
The works shown here are conceived in conjunction with Vienna Falls in Line. New research results on the activities of the Reichskunstkammer give reason to advance the contextualization of art on buildings as well as monuments in public space. Using a sculpture by Josef Müllner (1926), a sgrafitto in Operngasse (1938) and the memorial to the Trümmer frauen (2018), the interventions address the precursors and aftermath of the Nazi-era.

The second approach sees buildings as mended scars in the historical urban fabric.The abstinence of historical reappraisal and the disappearance of context equally affects representative facades as well as non-sites.Using the example of the Palais des Beaux Arts Vienna, expropriated in 1938, a new wayof thinking regarding the function of places of remembrance is tested and the condition for an intervention, memorial or representational space are examined. Lastly, the exhibition asks about collective memory and its manifestation in private space. A letter to the housing office in 1941 is the starting point for documenting how Aryanize spaces have been handled up until the 21st century. The theme is continued in the reappearance of private memorabilia as merchandise for sales goods on flea markets and online platforms.

Art Against the Status Quo is not intended as a blueprint for memory culture in public space. The focus lies on a series of interventions, each of which proposing a critica aesthetic and examining its possibilities for implementation on a large scale. The aim remains to sharpen the perception of the city shaped by its past.

Text by Vincent Elias Weisl.