Many of Anne Speier’s works document the distensions and deformations that objects and figures undergo in order to both understand and transcend the limitations of the meaning ascribed to them, their potentials and interrelations. Yet the artist also subjects the media she works with to such stretching. Aesthetic qualities are one way to defy certain expectations; absurdity and otherness are another.
In her exhibition in the Secession’s sublevel gallery, Speier intertwines painting and sculpture in a kind of utopian architecture, short-circuiting its spatial premises with its metaphorical purport. The show examines the challenges that teachers and students at art schools face along images and installations that limn psycho-emotional topographies.
They counter the distrust of art education and the associated hierarchical understanding of aesthetic phenomena with an ambivalent desire for the responsibility that is needed for analyzing the objects in one’s environment and making something new out of them.
The point of departure is an empty space rendered in a series of industrially manufactured silkscreen prints on various media in colors determined by an algorithm. These elements serve to furnish the existing underground space with architectural components: exterior façades that address persistent stereotypes; niches in which scenes from a school production play out; roofs and additional basements. The middle of the room, the central and representative scene of the exhibiting institution, remains as a figurative blank space.