Spatial Dispositions : Albertina
Inviting Aldo Giannotti to conceive an intervention means viewing its location—in this case Vienna’s Albertina and its different collections, which are complexly structured for historical reasons—from completely new perspectives on the basis of his highly imaginative drawings. The artist, who was born in Genoa, Italy in 1977 and has lived in Vienna for some years now, mostly relies upon black felt-tip pen drawings reduced to concentrated outlines on A4 paper as his primary means. The drawings are documents, feasible suggestions or fictitious instruc- tions, grounded, in his research-related working and reflection processes. They capture concepts of performative-installative as well as purely intellectual approaches in a humorous, sometimes socio- and institution-critical way. The basis for his concepts and associative and intuitive pictorial solutions are literary research and conversations with people working at the Albertina, who, because of their different fields of activity, have developed different views of their workplace. Especially for those people who have worked at the Albertina for many years, or even decades, Giannotti’s “investigations” and “interviews” have marked a pause in their everyday routine and offered an opportunity for informative self-reflection.
Giannotti reassembles the various elements making up the Albertina, its architecture, its rooms, its artworks, and its people—employees, visitors, and passers-by—into new networks of relationships. Breaking with tradition and conventions, he unfolds new spatial-architectonic, historical and social contexts.
Probing into the past and present of an art institution, its structures, possibilities, successes, and possible downsides is something Giannotti and his pen have already tried—on the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of the Kunstverein AR/GE KUNST Bolzano in 2015. The Albertina, whose historical foundation and structure are completely different, is now the next stage, of his publication project, after its beginnings in Bolzano. A publication, comprising fifty drawings each, will be dedicated to each of the places. The project, which runs under the title “Spatial Dispositions”, will be concluded with a third drawn analysis of an institution with an entirely different historical background, which the artist has not yet settled upon. For Giannotti, an artist always finds himself connected to certain institutions and their politico- cultural, cultural, architectonic and social possibilities, orientations, and claims. Social aspects, dependence, and conditions arise from this relationship. This naturally entails, as Giannotti points out, a reflection on the various roles of art, artists, cultural institutions, the art market, and their relationship to each other.
This is not the first time that artists have dedicated themselves to the Albertina as a “model” in drawings. Following an invitation from Konrad Oberhuber, the director of the Alberti- na at that time, Alexander Roob, born in Germany in 1956, captured the conversion of the building and its Graphic Collection with hundreds of drawings on A4 paper from February 1997 to April 1999. He entitled the work “CS-VII: Albertina. Bildroman” (CS-VII: Albertina. Picture Novel). Camilla Barbara Tucholski, born in Germany in 1947 and employed at the Albertina during that time, also drew the Albertina at the moment of its disappearance and architectonic transformation. These two bodies of drawings have become series of recollec- tions which have turned into abstract spatial constructions through the radical change and extension of the original venue.
Features that the three groups of works share, are the reduction to a small paperformat and the preference for a pen with which the respective motifs are developed from simple lines. Yet unlike his predecessors, Giannotti uses the intimacy of drawing to shake the viewer up in an often humorous way. He questions established ideas of the past and the present, of rules of behaviour and internal processes, as well as ways of dealing with historical awareness, social traditions, and irritating “foregone conclusions”, conjoining them to innovative worlds by means of pointed word-image combinations. Lines of text explain, correct, instruct, suggest, scruti- nise, daydream—frequently disregarding space-time, socio-political and social structures and norms. There are only a few sheets that show nothing but text; the contents of most lines enter into a close dialogue with the drawn pictorial element. Some drawings confront us with feasi- ble plans or suggestions for temporary performative installations, partly involving the public; others provide ideas for spatial interventions concerning the architecture. The three proposals, based on the drawings on pages 59, 81, and 95, will be realised in the form of an intervention on the occasion of the presentation of the book at the Albertina. They thematise the interac- tions between artistic offers, social sculptural concepts, spatial-structural redesign, and the visitors’ possible responses to the transformation of social space that result from Aldo Gian- notti’s investigations.
text : Antonia Hoerschelmann