Figura cuncta videntis (the all-seeing eye) / Homage to Christoph Schlingensief | November 16, 2010–April 16, 2011 | TBA21, Vienna

Christoph Schlingensief: Animatograph-Iceland-Edition. (House of Parliament/House of Obsession) Destroy Thingvellir, 2005.
Installation view: Figura cuncta videntis. TBA21, 2010. Photo: Michael Strasser

Figura cuncta videntis presents  a selection of eleven performative positions by international artists at Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary in Vienna. The exhibition revisits the performances commissioned by the foundation over the past years and tests the boundaries between art, performance, theater, and film and between the artifact and the exhibition space. Since 2004 Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary has developed an ongoing program of performances and performance-based works in various contexts and, more systematically, in the Relation in Movement series, realized at the Magazin of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin.

Figura cuncta videntis presents performative installations, documentations of past projects, and video-based installations that are informed by the aesthetics of the performative, as well as some new commissions created or re-created for this show. The exhibition seeks to underline the processual, durational, ephemeral, and dynamic nature of aesthetic production as well as the transformative quality (in the process of rapid development from articulation to dearticulation) of the residual or aesthetic production that possesses a performative disposition.

As live events, performances are time-bound and ephemeral, and in many cases they resist being transformed into autonomous artworks. Often existing or unfolding in between the aesthetic space of art, theater, dance, and film; performer and audience/participant; viewer and viewed; inside and outside; and real and imaginary space, they situate art as a temporal intervention within a specific spatial context. The artifactual residues of the performative are documentary (drawings, writings, records, relics, films) or spatial (environments, sculptural assemblages) or may consist of objects produced “out of actions.”

As its centerpiece, the exhibition showcases The Animatograph (Iceland Edition), 2005 by Christoph Schlingensief, the German filmmaker, artist, and theater director who passed away in August 2010. The Animatograph is a many-faceted installation that refigures the gaze as the all-seeing eye, providing both a metaphor for a universal ur-narration and an apparatus for its navigation. Realized at the KlinK og BanK exhibition space in Reykjavik, Iceland, it is the most prominent corpus of work by Schlingensief and will be reinstalled in Vienna as a homage to the artist. The show’s title, Figura cuncta videntis, is a term borrowed from Schlingensief’s extensive repertoire of appropriations and détournements.

“So we look at each other and cannot shake off the gaze. But we are also being observed. So who is really looking at whom when we stand before this icon figura cuncta videntis. Simultaneously? The icon stares at both of us even though we thought it was only us that could not longer evade its gaze. The room scrutinizes us rather than we, the room.” (CS)
Christoph Schlingensief, Nevin Aladag, Palli Banine and Davíð Örn Halldórsson, John Bock, Chicks on Speed with Douglas Gordon, Anetta Mona Chişa and Lucia Tkácová, Japanther, Ragnar Kjartansson, Jonathan Meese, Dan Graham, Tony Oursler and Laurent P. Berger featuring Japanther and The Huber Marionettes, Gregor Schneider
Figura cuncta videntis: the all-seeing eye.
Homage to Christoph Schlingensief

Edited by Eva Ebersberger and Daniela Zyman
Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary 
Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König

Texts by Gudrun Ankele, Aeneas Bastian, Diedrich Diederichsen, Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza, Alexander Kluge, Susanne Pfeffer, Mirjam Schaub, Andreas Schlaegel, Christoph Schlingensief, A.L. Steiner, Markús Thór Andrésson, Raluca Voinea, Slavoj Zizek, Daniela Zyman

English, 182 pages
Graphic design: SCHIENERL D/AD
ISBN: 978-3-86560-938-0
November 16, 2010 – April 16, 2011
Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna
supported by
Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein