Josef Strau and Clegg&Guttmann
Vienna and Jerusalem

10.03.10 - 11.04.10

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The exhibition Vienna and Jerusalem is the first step in an ongoing work by Josef Strau and Martin Guttmann to write a collaborative autobiography. Pro Choice is pleased to present the first installment of this project which will feature a performance by Lucy Indiana Dodd and Sergei Tcherepnin.

The work itself is an attempt to bring forth private ideational elements, weave them together and present them in an embodied material form as a collaborative ideational construction - a sculpture of ideas. Vienna and Jerusalem is the outcome of a process crystalized by a convergence of sympathy - the result of countless hours of conversation and exchange between the artists which created solid bridges between their separate inner worlds and resulted in mental connections strong and stable enough to acquire a visible form. The two stories which form the core of the project bear similarities to each other as they do to many other coming-of-age narratives. The basic story line concerns adolescents from comfortable, sheltered backgrounds groomed for successful if conventional lives who revolt against their teachers and their families and become bohemian rebels. The transgressions were neither violent nor extreme but were sufficiant in uprooting the aforementioned youths from their earlier social environments. The similarities between the two stories form a basis around which they can be weaved together, permitting the artists to 'crossbreed' their respective memories. The chief operation was to exchange aspects of the stories, namely, to delete some of the specifics of one of them and replace them with "equivalent" details from the other. A certain asymmetry entered the work due to the fact that it is developed for an exhibition in Vienna which is also where one of the childhood stories takes place. And that the former child of Jerusalem is currently living in Vienna, whereas the ex-Viennese in the meantime has developed a strong interest in Jewish mysticism while living in Brooklyn, New York. These factors form an added layer of complexity into this attempt at memory exchange and shared histrionics. The aim of Vienna and Jerusalem is not merely to create a specific assemblage of memories but to point to the processes underlying such things, namely the possibility of creating collective ideational constructions in general. To that end, the combination of the ideational materials will be presented in a manner that provides the viewer with insight into the mechanics of extra-mental constructions.