Material Stories


Material Stories, curated by Helen Carey, exhibition view, © Matthias Bildstein

A group exhibition curated by Helen Carey, exhibited at galerie michaela stock, Vienna, from 09.04 – 11.06, featuring artists:

Patrick Baumüller
Cecilia Bullo
Elaine Byrne
Ingrid Cogne
Marie Farrington

For the exhibition clip click HERE

‘Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be.’
Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Benjamin championed the idea of the image being available to as wide an audience as possible. For people who were unlikely to visit works in a museum or gallery, they could become familiar with the image through photography and reproduction. This democratisation of access to ideas and form was exhilarating of course, which then progressed through moving image and television, and from there the internet gives an access that seems infinite.

During the pandemic, technology further provided the connection to the worlds of culture and art while isolated, was embraced. Notions of this ‘coming together’ was wrapped up in the technological revolution taking place as an explosion of potential. However, when restrictions lifted, the live event was yearned for, the in-person became laden with freedom and autonomy. If we just examine the basis for the exhibition to be experienced, it was to re-assert the need for physical presence. The exchange between Vienna and Dublin, between Austria and Ireland, between cultures is also important – but the key reason for this coming together is for the art to occupy real space and time.

This group show Material Stories at galerie michaela stock emphasises five artists engaged in the materiality of making or working with objects, in placing them in the gallery, thinking of gallery scale and character, and how the works relate to other work on display. Their separateness is clear. Their connection palpable.

Patrick Baumüller brings humour – he also grabs abstractions and make them physical, occupying space in a fleeting yet memorable way, with exuberance and joy. Cecilia Bullo mixes her materials and her objects combine fine sculpture and materials that are rough-hewn. Elaine Byrne catches a time and place in her photographs and video which are of a place that is gone but eternal. Ingrid Cogne manipulates basic materials to challenge the performance of vulnerable knowledge and further activate the viewers in questions about immateriality and sustainability in the 21st century. Marie Farrington explores materiality in her installation along with ephemerality in her prints which are beautifully strong and fragile.

The enquiries and concerns of these artists, their compositions and fabrications, their materiality, re-assert the idea of the encounter and the engagement with the visitor which develops into different stories for each person – these elements are all the Material Stories provoked by this exhibition.

galerie michaela stock and Fire Station Artists’ Studios continue to embed the connections between Ireland and Austria, establishing commonalities and exploring differences, in exhibitions, studio visits, working on exhibitions and events to create links between fellow Europeans.

Sponsor: Culture IrelandArts Council of Ireland

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