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HALLE FÜR KUNST Steiermark presents Anita Leisz and Yalda Afsah

June 25–September 4, 2022

Two large solo exhibits of the work of the artists Anita Leisz and Yalda Afsah will be featured in the summer 2022 program at HALLE FÜR KUNST Steiermark. Intricate new creations and publications by the various artists are shown in both presentations.

Anita Leisz

Anita Leisz’s sculptures, objects, and installations frequently reference industrialism, non-figurative painting, and minimal art. Leisz favors materials that are quite restricted and have chilly colors and forms. Materials used in construction are created in a number of phases and positioned in relation to viewers and places, such as different types of fiberboard, metals, and sheet metal. With considerable presence and sensitivity, Leisz’s precise handling of these industrial materials yields astounding outcomes that stand for the caliber of her work and pose queries about contemporary art production and reception.

Anita Leisz always makes a connection between the settings in which her artistic creations are displayed and plans a specific intervention in those settings. Her shows are dramatic installations that use art to bring a space’s inside and outside together inseparably; as a result, objects and spaces gain meaning from one another. Leisz opposes standardized and consistent reception by employing this appropriation technique. This transformability is the distinguishing feature of the artist’s work since she provides her audience with precise and immediate settings that indicate several alternatives for using a particular place.As part of this initiative, the artist will approach the location of her upcoming solo exhibition with carefully thought-out pieces — very deliberate artistic positions that test perception and prompt us to consider what is seen and what is not. Leisz purposefully omits any sort of narrative point of reference in this passage, focusing our attention solely on the interaction between the object, the environment, and the recipient.

This exhibition project is one consequence of the artist winning the Styrian State Prize in Recognition of Fine Art in 2020.

Curated by Sandro Droschl.

Yalda Afsah

The German-Iranian artist Yalda Afsah’s work is heavily influenced by our interactions with animals and the agency that surrounds those interactions. Her first institutional solo exhibition, co-presented by Kunstverein München and HALLE FÜR KUNST Steiermark, focuses on issues of power, care, and control in connection to domestication. She explores the hazy lines between love and affiliation with animals on the one hand, and submission and human dominance on the other, using three examples: bullfighting, horse dressage, and pigeon breeding.

Anthropocentric power connections are made clear in the programming of animals. The contradictory nature of the energies at the core of these connections is made clear through Afsah’s works. She draws our attention to the instances in which the bodies of humans and animals are marked by an unsettling closeness: the camera lingers on the graceful but out-of-character movements of a horse, zeroes in on the focused aggression of a bull, or tracks the gazes of men scanning the sky for pigeons performing falls.

Exclusion has long been ingrained in early eurocentric notions of social space. “A place to which neither animals, plants, slaves nor women had access, but only the free anthropos loitering smartly,” is how philosopher Fahim Amir describes it. The others toil at the margins. Afsah concentrates on these edges since there is where we define who is considered an independent subject in the first place and who is cared for or subjugated. In Afsah’s works, the animals themselves make an appearance as protagonists and living creatures, not just for the benefit of their human companions.

Curated by Maurin Dietrich and Cathrin Mayer.

The HALLE FÜR KUNST Steiermark is supported by the Regional Government of Styria, the Austrian Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, Civil Service and Sport, and the City of Graz.

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