10 Questions to ...

Lives & Works

Hannes Zebedin

Hannes Zebedin & Anna Witt, Dammbruch, installation view at Ve.Sch, Vienna, 2013
1. What are you working on at the moment?
I just did a joint project with Anna Witt at Ve.Sch. The exhibition was called Dammbruch and looked at the current political situation in Hungary. To supplement our artistic analysis we invited Hungarian artists working with similar themes to exhibit works. We are now planning to transfer the project into the public arena through interventions by artists and activists in front of the Hungarian Cultural Institute. This will be realised without institutional ties or within a specified timeframe. In January I’ll be doing an exhibition at Schneiderei project space in the 2nd district, for which I’m currently developing work. I’m also gathering ideas for HOTEL CHARLEROI 2014, a project in and around the Belgian city of Charleroi that was initiated in 2010 together with Adrien Tirtiaux and Antoine Turillon.

2. What does your schedule look like?
I have a somewhat ambivalent relationship to the concept of the everyday. I’m often realising projects in different locations. Every little activity or plan presents a new challenge. You have to learn to organize yourself anew, which of course can be very stimulating, but at the same time it does generate the desire for some regularity, for a non-site-specific everyday workday.

3. Do you work in a studio? What does your work space look like?
I share a working space in an apartment with two friends. This functions more like an office than a studio. I don’t need a permanent studio space for my artistic practice as my art tends to be rather ephemeral and a lot of it is assembled during installation in a given exhibition space. Sometimes when I have bigger things to make or need to simulate certain exhibition environments I go out to the farm where I grew up, where there’s plenty of space. I also do a lot of projects and interventions in public space, which requires more continuous observation.

4. What do you get outsourced or find ready-made, and what do you make yourself?
As I already mentioned, for me a lot of things come out of observation. For some time now I’ve kept a kind of journal or diary, where I log both general thoughts and ideas for artistic approaches. Then I try and formalise these approaches and set the useful ones against each other with appropriate tension. This is the real »beginning of the design process«. The subtle approach in my work sometimes resembles the form of an essay. The works are like reproductions of particular situations realised through a simple choice of materials and therefore don’t require large-scale production. But I’m always happy to discuss installation options with artist friends, or plan and collaborate with the technicians at institutions during the install.

5. What does the internet mean to you in relation to your work / practice as an artist?
The internet doesn’t influence my work in any major way, to me its mainly just for organisational purposes.

6. What advice have you been given that you found really useful or helpful for you as an artist?
I once did a workshop with Alfredo Jaar in Hamburg. He said that the common denominator in the production of artworks shouldn’t be the form, but rather the soul of the individual works. That stayed with me and has remained important.

7. What can you imagine yourself doing if you ever stopped making art?
Agriculture and forestry, or something to do with professional ice hockey for either the KAC, Jesenice or Ambri-Piotta clubs. But then again, I feel like there’s always the danger of seeing these professions through an artistic lens, which wouldn’t be the reality of them at all.

8. What are the pros and cons of working as an artist in Vienna?
I don’t think Vienna is the city that artists necessarily wants to boast about »living and working« in, but that’s also an advantage. Life is affordable, the funding structures function well, the education system is good. This results in a heterogeneity of working methods. Unfortunately, these different approaches seem to fade after a certain point, and you start seeing them less and less. Which I think is a shame, because its an angle Vienna could use to position itself internationally.

9. What is the most absurd thing you’ve ever heard or read about your art?
I’ve never read anything about my work that I consider absurd, just plain good or bad, well-researched or poorly researched.

10. Which show have you seen recently that you really liked and why?
Danh Vo at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. I find his way of dealing with material in connection to personal stories really interesting and his exhibitions are extremely well installed. The Song Dong exhibition at the Barbican Art Centre in London really stayed with me too, as well as last year’s Henrik Olesen retrospective at the Kunstmuseum Basel.

Hannes Zebedin, born in 1976 in Lienz. Lives in Vienna. Recent exhibitions include: Dammbruch, (mit Anna Witt), Ve.Sch, Vienna; ReCOCO, Museum of Bat Yam, Israel; Desiring the Real. Austria Contemporary, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb/Arte Merano/Contemporary; 24 spaces - A Cacophony, Malmö Konstholl, Malmö; RESIDUE (with HOTEL CHARLEROI), Wiels, Brussels (2013); 4 Interventionen, (solo) galerie.kaernten, Klagenfurt; Zweifelskontinuum, (solo) Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg; Szenarien über Europa 3, GfZK Leipzig (2012).