LIAISON by LIESL RAFF at FRANZ JOSEFS KAI 3 curated by FIONA LIEWEHR [from 20230523 to 20230910]

[Photos: Simon Veres]

With Liaison, her first institutional solo exhibition in Austria, sculptor Liesl Raff transforms the exhibition space into a transitory experiential space marked by different atmospheres. For years, the artist has experimented with industrial and natural materials, transforming them into objects with an emotional life of their own. Latex, as a particularly versatile and tactile material, is one of her favorite work materials. Raff applies it over various  structures like a second skin. In combination with bamboo tubes, steel rods and ropes, she creates animistic-looking sculptures. Niches, shelters and protective zones evoke a feeling of retreat and security.

On the one hand, Raff uses latex as a painting material: either in its pure form or mixed with color pigments, she applies it thinly with a brush to walls or window panes. Surfaces thus acquire an opalescent appearance and let anything behind or in front of it shimmer through diffusely. On the other hand, the material is processed plastically. Raff pours the liquid onto a large floor area and, subsequent to the drying process, she peels off rubber sheets into which traces and irregularities of the floor surface are permanently inscribed. She folds the resulting translucent skins and turns them into massive, voluminous curtains or mounts them on steel rods to create objects reminiscent of banners or protective shields. In a concentrated and timeconsuming process, the artist often casts thousands of colored latex strings, which are then woven and knotted together. Combining latex and ropes, she produces tentacles with an almost animistic appearance. Slung over bamboo canes or hung from steel rods, they convey an impression of physical vibrancy.

The artist has transformed another area of the exhibition into an installation setting oscillating between vaudeville theater and underground pub: Club Liaison, with its stage and bar, is dominated by lushly draped latex sheets, oversized glasses, and dimmed lighting. Works conceived together with Nora Rekade and Bartholomaeus Wächter as well as „stools" by Eva Seiler are part of the installation“. On eight evenings during the Wiener Festwochen "the wicked and subversive, the melancholic and absurd" will find "a safe place" with performances, live concerts and dance.

Liesl Raff & Guests 
Club Liaison
Performance Program 
May 25-June 18
Curator: Carolina Nöbauer
A joint project with Wiener Festwochen

Opening hours Club Liaison:
Thu, 8 p.m. – midnight
Sun, 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Admission free (first come, first served)

[Text: Fiona Liewehr]

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