Steinbrener/Dempf & Huber

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We are Everywhere
The Cliffhanger Collection

The works of the Vienna art collective Steinbrener/Dempf & Huber in urban spaces have repeatedly caused sensation. In September 2020, the trio caused sensation with their intervention “Cliffhanger” in the canyons of the Ötscher creek: A bright red tourist information booth in the middle of the steep gorge of the idyllic Mirafall waterfall reveals with a wink how much nature is being appropriated by the machinery of tourism. Anyone who wants to see the work must go on a hike.The installation will be accessible again from April through September 2021.
Now the artists’ collective is turning its attention to the genre of selfies, which depicts the phenomenon of tourism through a distorting mirror.

In quantitative terms, the selfie has become the most visually powerful genre of all times, so it is surprising that it has been given so little attention in the visual arts.
Places that were never a touristic focal point before are now suddenly overrun due to their “selfie suitability.” Some of these locations are presently being declared off-limits because people often died from falling off precipices while taking their photographic self-portrait. This self-presentation machine therefore not only encroaches on our lives but also alters our environment.

Steinbrener/Dempf & Huber invite us on an artistic parcourse that allows us to become an active part of the exhibition. A half dozen installations offer the opportunity to embark on a journey around the world via selfies. This foray, however, also takes one to the abysses of the tourism industry and to the ravages that have resulted from group travel. Here, the obligatory selfie smile becomes a caricature of itself.

Curator: Christian Bauer

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