Rene Matić “upon this rock” at Kunstverein Gartenhaus, Vienna

By Last Updated: March 9, 2023Views: 639

Rene Matić’s solo exhibition “upon this rock” continues the artists long-term interrogation of ‘Britishness,’ exploring how the nation’s previous manifests in its current. Presenting Matić’s work for the primary time in Austria, the works examine how household histories reverberate via completely different generations putting each subculture and spirituality in dialogue. Whereas recognising the pitfalls of each, it positions subculture as faith, as saviour or information, and vice versa. Matić notes: “it seems there may be religion and soul each in the perfect and worst of issues. There are parallels between discovering the church and discovering the pub. Or discovering God and discovering subculture. And in the long run, I perceive it because the seek for one thing larger than your self, one thing that received’t fail you when you’re being failed.”

The brand new movie work, Many Rivers (2022) takes the determine of Matić’s father, Paul, as a place to begin to replicate on diaspora and the expertise of rising up as a mixed-race individual in Britain within the Nineteen Sixties. Paul’s father Julien emigrated to the UK from St Lucia within the Caribbean in 1958. Paul’s mom, a white Irish girl known as Patricia, gave start to Paul in 1962 on the age of 19. Patricia—who was Catholic—feared stigma and expulsion from her non secular group as a consequence of giving start to a Black child ‘outdoors of wedlock,’ and finally returned to Eire leaving Paul with Julien and his new associate. This story is instructed from 4 views: that of Paul; Matić’s mom Ali; their grandfather Julien; and their aunt Lulu. Matić says: “Paul doesn’t know when he was moved to Peterborough. He doesn’t know when Julien was there and when he wasn’t. He doesn’t know who’s associated to him. He doesn’t learn about his Blackness, and he doesn’t learn about his whiteness.” By this movie’s four-way dialogue the gaps in Paul’s story are partially crammed.

Two vitrines, New City, (2022) include archival photos associated to Matić’s life.
The artist notes: “I’m at all times searching for the place I’ve come from. There are only a few photographs from my Dad’s aspect of the household, issues received misplaced or left behind. And so, what I’ve is what I’m providing and is that sufficient? Is it sufficient to assemble an id, or a life, or a rustic? This household archive reiterates an existence—a constructing of a church upon a rock. . . towards all odds.”

The framed {photograph} Vacation spot / Departure, (2020) reveals the artist’s tattooed again. The picture was taken by British photographer Derek Ridgers who documented subcultural actions together with skinheads all through the Seventies and Nineteen Eighties. The tattoo itself was carried out by Lal Hardy, who tattooed many punks and Skinheads in England in the identical period. By inscribing the far-right slogan ‘Born British Die British’ on the combined race, queer physique Matić’s irreverently derides and problematises the parable of a pure unadulterated Britishness, whereas concurrently claiming the phrase as their very own. The act additionally critiques violence enacted on Black and Brown our bodies all through British historical past and into the current day. By commissioning Ridgers to take the {photograph}, Matić inserts themself into a selected visible historical past of Skinhead subculture.

Additionally featured are new photos from the artist’s ongoing images sequence entitled flags for nations that don’t exist however our bodies that do (2018 – ongoing). This sequence is a private diary documenting Matić’s group and household (chosen and in any other case), in addition to being a portrait and deconstruction of latest Britain.

at Kunstverein Gartenhaus, Vienna
till March 18, 2023


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