Over the years, Maria Anwander and Ruben Aubrecht realized their works unconsciously overlap each other. Through their mutual obsessions for collecting, ownership and appropriation, the artists question the ephemeral aspect and intrinsic value of an artwork taken out of its context, of its museum, dissociated from its authorship. By the means of subtle interventions, they develop strategies to free the artwork from its usual presentation mode or from its materiality itself, reducing the art to its own idea, to its own memory or imagination.
With her work My Most Favourite Art, a collection of 80 stolen museum labels gathered for more than 10 years in international galleries and museums, Maria Anwander presents the catalogue of her favourite works of art, as a virtual exhibition in which artworks are only visible through their simplest description.
In her work The Kiss (MoMA) from 2010, the artist doesn´t steal a label but infiltrates and installs an artwork into the Museum of Modern Art in New York. After having entered the museum as a regular visitor she gives a ‘French kiss’ to one of the empty museum’s walls. Next to the invisible kiss, she fixes a label using the font and layout of the regular MoMA labels.
In an attempt to establish strong visual identities, important Institutions such as the MoMA, the Tate Modern or the Mumok (Museum of Modern Art in Vienna) have created their own brands, fonts and logos. Over the years, however, similar exhibitions have been travelling throughout those larger museums. Hence branding and corporate design have become one of the only aspects of their differenciation. For the work Untitled, 2011 Maria Anwander collected museum stickers and lapel pins, which she fixed onto her leather jacket, exhibiting them ironically as keepsakes from the hunt.
During his residency in Mexico City Ruben Aubrecht started to collect art videos, illegaly captured from several museums and galleries. The copies, wrapped up in specific catchy packaging, were meant to be displayed in Mexico City’s markets, next to the common sellers of hacked Hollywood movies. The process of appropriation of the artwork, leading to the fundamental question of its borders, can also be seen in the work Untitled, 2014: for this work, Ruben Aubrecht visited the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles for three weeks. During each visit, the artist collected one candy from Felix Gonzales Torres´s work Untitled (USA today). Although the original intention was to transfer the whole work from Gonzales Torres, Ruben Aubrecht succeeded to assemble a small heap of candies, ultimately presented as his own artwork.
Maria Anwander (*1980 Bregenz, Austria) studied sculpture and performative art at the Academy of Fine Art in Vienna, where she graduated in 2008. She lives and works in Berlin. Within the last years she had solo-exhibitions in Spain, Austria, Sydney, Berlin, Los Angeles and New York. Her work was shown in numerous group-shows in Europe, Mexico and the US, including the 4th Moscow Biennale and a show in the Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil in Mexico City. She received various prizes and residency-grants including one in Casino Luxembourg and a residency award for the Cité des Arts in Paris.
Ruben Aubrecht (*1980 Bregenz, Austria) is a conceptual artist who studied computer and video art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Within the last few years he participated in exhibitions throughout Europe including shows in Berlin, Vienna, Milan, London, Venice or Istanbul as well as in New York, Mexico City and Moscow. In 2011 he received the advancement award of the Darmstädter Sezession and was awarded residencies in New York City, Bilbao, Mexico City and Istanbul.