The Chicago-based Austrian artist Kurt Hentschlager’s installation ZEE, which just closed at Wood Street Galleries in Pittsburgh, is impossible to accurately document or describe. In this exhibition, Hentschlager creates an immersive environment of sight and sound reflecting on the nature of human perception and the accelerated impact of new technologies on both individual and collective consciousness. The installation is comprised of a room of an indeterminable size filled with fog such that each viewer is able to see their own hands at best. Somewhere within the space is a visual strobe-like component with corresponding audio. The effect is a completely immersive experience that lasts 17 minutes, and might best be described as pseudo-psychedelic.
Trained as a fine artist, Hentschlager began to exhibit his work in 1983, building surreal machine-objects and then video, computer animation and sound works. Between 1992 and 2003 he worked collaboratively as a part of the duo Granular- Synthesis. Employing large-scale projected images and drone like sound-scapes, his performances confronted the viewer on both a physical and emotional level, overwhelming the audience with sensory stimulation.
Hentschlager is a recipient of numerous prizes and large scale commissions. He has represented Austria at the 2001 Venice Biennial and has shown his work internationally for two decades. Selected presentations include the Millennium Museum, Beijing; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Anchorage (Creative Time), New York; MAC – Musee d’Art Contemporain, Montreal; MAK – Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul; Ars Electronica Festival, Linz; ICC Inter-Communication-Center, Tokyo; Fondation Beyeler, Basel; and Palacio de Bella Artes, Mexico City.
His recent performance, FEED, premiered at the 2005 Venice Theatre Biennial and is currently touring. The procedural installation KARMA/cell was commissioned in 2006 by Le Fresnoy, Studio National des Arts Contemporains, France.