ACFNY SUPPORTED | Mario Kiesenhofer “Surroundings” Exhibit at PETER HAY HALPERT FINE ART
JUNE 2 – JULY 2
Peter Hay Halpert Fine Art is pleased to present Surroundings, an exhibition by emerging queer artist Mario Kiesenhofer. For his first solo show in the United States, Kiesenhofer blurs body representations and maps queer surroundings. He focuses on safe spaces used by the gay community for intimate encounters and sexual interactions, as well as representations of gay men in virtual settings reflecting how they create and control these spaces. The artist explores these surroundings with his camera, appropriates pictures of online dating profiles and covers the photographs with grey or etched glass, creating highly formal lens-based objects that blur realities.
The artist’s exploration of queer spaces and architectures manifests in the black-mirror-like photographs of his Indoor series, presenting filtered insights into selectively accessible queer underground sex venues, darkrooms, gay-clubs and saunas around the world. Kiesenhofer captures these safe spaces during day-time when the clubs are closed, using only the light that is present on location. Captured in geometric compositions, we find ourselves reflected in the grey glass that covers and protects the sensitive motifs, exploring their intimate atmosphere.
These works contrast with the blurred portraits of the series You Are Here, where Kiesenhofer presents another side of the contemporary gay cruising culture. Protected by etched glass the appropriated profile pictures of gay online dating platforms are telling an opposing visual story. Blurred and alienated, these selfies and body close-ups offer insights into the mechanisms of a market yet create a portrait of vulnerability and self-projection. In 2018, it was disclosed that the gay dating app Grindr was sharing sensitive user data such as their location and HIV status with third parties. In this context, Kiesenhofer’s use of blurred glass to protect the profile images and queer surroundings can be read as an allegory for data privacy at a time when democratic values and the right to freedom of sexuality are once again at risk in certain parts of the world.
In the context of the pandemic, the associated social restrictions and the shift into virtual space, Kiesenhofer’s work depicts an even more thoughtful picture of this current void and loss. His specific use of display materials plays with queer visibility and augments the relationship that the artworks form with the exhibition space and its viewers. Combined with text fragments on the walls of the gallery space, Kiesenhofer’s lens-based objects connect different layers of queer presence, creating an immersive tension that invites the viewers to become involved.
Tue – Fri: 11 am – 6pm
Sat: 11 am – 4 pm
and by appointment:
+1 646 220-8657 | email@example.com
ARTIST RECEPTION 9 JUNE 2022, 6 – 8 PM
The exhibition will be accompanied by a panel discussion at the Austrian Cultural Forum New York:
Mapping Queer Surroundings
A Panel on Visibility and Space
14 June, 2022, 7 pm
Austrian Cultural Forum New York
11 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10022
RSVP required: firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Mario Kiesenhofer’s work deals with the dispositive of photography and how it sharpens the view onto realities that are not perceived as such. He maps surfaces and addresses the constitution of social spaces and landscapes used for intimate encounters and sexual interactions by the gay community. How are these queer safe spaces formed, where do they emerge, and how do they change? With these questions in mind, Kiesenhofer focuses on in-between spaces, following Foucault’s concept of heterotopia. He explores these ephemeral spaces with his camera, creating photographic objects and video installations that blur realities.
Mario Kiesenhofer lives and works in Vienna and is represented by Peter Hay Halpert Fine Art in New York. Kiesenhofer studied Photography and Video Art under the guidance of Matthias Herrmann and Dorit Margreiter at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. His works have been shown in London (Austrian Cultural Forum), Tokyo (A- Gallery), Poland (BWA Gallery, Tarnów) and at the Vienna Museum (among others). He is a co-founder of STREULICHT – a publication series on photography & related arts. The Austrian Federal Government granted him a 3-months scholarship for Artistic Photography in New York City in 2018 (as part of the International Studio & Curatorial Program) and a 6-months scholarship for Artistic Photography in 2015. He was a finalist for the Wolf Suschitzky Photography Price in 2018 and received a special mention. In 2020 Kiesenhofer was awarded a special mention by the expert jury at the Portfolio Review at Fotomuseum Winterthur.
Artist website: https://www.mariokiesenhofer.com/
Peter Halpert Fine Art: https://www.phhfineart.com/