Welcome to the press section of our website where we provide you with press releases and images on the current programme of WestLicht. Schauplatz für Fotografie.
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Udotopia. Udo Proksch
by Luisa Jean Cooper
Book launch: Monday, 02.12.2019, 7 pm
In conversation: Erika Pluhar, former wife of Udo Proksch, Robert Dornhelm, director of the movie Out of Control, and Peter Pilz, chair of the parliamentary investigation committee on the Lucona affair in 1988/89
Display of original documents from the Udo Proksch Archive
Udo Proksch was a man of many faces: a swineherd, an artist, a man about town, an exceptional networker, a “fisher of men”, a convicted murderer, and in the grey and dull Vienna of the 1960s and 70s he was the shining star of the high society. 30 years after his arrest Udotopia presents the first comprehensive survey of his oeuvre as a designer.
The focus of the new luxurious volume – hardcover 26.5 x 36 cm, 456 pages, title imprint, colour gilding, kept in an equally luxurious box – is Proksch the restless designer. Way ahead of his time in his creative vision and his understanding of marketing and PR, Proksch brought fame to the international eyewear brands Viennaline and Carrera, before launching his eponymous brand under the alias name Serge Kirchhofer, creating his most elaborate collection.
For her research Australian author Luisa Jean Cooper has deeply immersed herself into the archive, which was acquired by WestLicht chairman Peter Coeln in 2005. A selection of 1000 eyeglass frames, 6000 drawings, 100 artworks from the archive is now revealed to the public in this lavish publication and allows for a study of the inner workings of Proksch’s creative mind. His eyewear designs are being reissued by Brando Eyewear and will also be presented at the book launch.
“Udo Proksch was anything but predictable. He had ideas that were ground-breaking in concept and potential, but between the perfectibility of his creations and the darkness of his lust for power, he came unstuck. In a country like Austria, the long history of which is studded with brilliant, unconventional men and women in the field of art and culture, it could be said that Udo, polarised as he was, was a rarity. However, at the end of it, he was consigned to history more as a criminal, and much less as a creative genius. Here we celebrate Udo Proksch—creative genius”, says Luisa Jean Cooper, author of the book.
“With this book we open up a window to our recent past, a window which until now had been closed”, says WestLicht chairman Peter Coeln. “In our politically eventful times, taking a look at the life and work of Udo Proksch is by all means important, because it shows us what people are capable of—for better or for worse.”
By Luisa Jean Cooper
Preface by Peter Coeln, 456 Seiten, 26,5 x 36 cm, Hardcover in a box
Toran Press 2019
Alison Jackson. Fake Truth
Press preview: Monday, 28.10.2019, 5 pm
Opening: Monday, 28.10.2019, 7 pm
Alison Jackson is present
Imagine The Queen taking a selfie, Kim Kardashian giving birth for reality TV, Lady Di giving us the finger, Donald Trump with Miss Mexico in the Oval Office. Really? In this fake news era separating facts from fiction is harder than ever. Alison Jackson explores the blurred boundaries between reality and the imaginary – and the gap and confusion between the two. For the first time ever, WestLicht brings the work of the internationally awarded British artist to Austria.
"My work reflects the public's voyeurism, the power and seductive nature of imagery, and the viewers' need to believe. I use lookalikes and actors crafted so they look convincingly real - then stage them in the scenes we have all imagined but never seen before.”
The photographs are mostly shot on location to fit the celebrity, and sometimes Jackson takes to the streets and lets the camera run, such as when she brought a Donald Trump double to Trump Tower, New York, escorted by some women protesters causing a roadblock. Nobody is spared; Boris Johnson or Vladimir Putin have made an appearance as well as Brangelina, Marilyn Monroe and many more.
Jackson examines our celebrity culture, which is fuelled by the vanity of its protagonists as much as by our obsession with them; a culture that made a phenomenon like Donald Trump possible in the first place. Against the background of buzzwords like alternative facts and post truth Alison Jackson’s staged photographs deftly toy with our expectations craving for disclosures. Her pictures take to the extreme what our reality-TV-fed minds are constantly making up anyway. It presents us with a garish idea of what it could be like when everybody shouts fake news just long enough: in the end, you either believe everything or nothing at all.
The exhibition Alison Jackson. Fake Truth has been organised in cooperation with Anke Degenhard.