Presentation of the exhibition "Tele(visions)", Gabriele Mackert


Gabriele Mackert, is an art historian and curator. She organized and curate exhibition "Tele(visions)", which was held at Kunsthalle Wien between 18th October 2001 and 6th January 2002.

Gabriele Mackert, Vienna

Gabriele Mackert presented "Tele(visions)" exhibition and showed different artistic approaches to television phenomena, emphasized two basic elements of television: first, television as intimate, sensitive device, that is dealing with individual emotional investments; and the other, massive, influential on larger scale, dealing with collective imaginatorium. During the presentation there were shown several examples of artistic practice from second half of 20 century like works of Nam June Paik, Jan Dibbets, Gala Committee, Christian Jankowski, Association Apsolutno...

In the past 50 years, TV has become the most popular medium worldwide. Not only our main supplier of information, entertainment, and their crossbreed, infotainment, it is also a kind comforter to the lonely, a babysitter loved by parents and children alike, a relaxant for the stress-ridden, and, for some, the no. 1 cultural epidemic. TV is the largest reservoir of the collective memory, creating and transforming identities - not least because it makes the private public. TV is still stirring up public controversy, taking the role of the eternal scapegoat for the alleged 'dumbing down' of society or the decline of morals. TV is ubiquitous, and yet will always remain a usual suspect for cultural pessimists.

Tele(visions) shows how artists have absorbed, critically challenged, and occasionally reinvented their TV experience in their work, analyzing and ironizing couch potatoes, talk-show hosts, quiz shows and TV news, glamorous prime-time shows, the circus of afternoon talk-shows. The exhibition documents artists' initiatives for a different TV, presents ways of continuous image recycling and shows that tv is more than an easily accessible mine for video art. The various influences of, and responses to, TV in different generations of artists are presented here for the first time in broad range. The show is a unique compilation of more than eighty works with a special focus on the 1980s and '90s. Paintings, photographs, sculptures, installations, videos, and film excerpts illustrate the intense attention that artists from diverse social and ideological backgrounds have given to TV, both playfully and seriously. Far beyond the usual lamentation about the encroachment of the mass taste of mainstream cultural industry on visual art, "Tele(visions)" reflects the creative, critical, and complex potential of this reciprocal relationship.