ZONE1 2023

The emerging section of viennacontemporary

One of the highlights of viennacontemporary 2023 was undoubtedly ZONE1, curated by Francesca Gavin. The special exhibition, dedicated to emerging artists under the age of 40 with a connection to Austria – be it through origin, study, or work – spanned the entire upper floor of the Kursalon. Each stand of the ten young artists on show was reminiscent of a carefully designed solo exhibition with a strong focus on installations and sculptures.

The artists were not united by their choice of media or subject matter, emphasizes curator Francesca Gavin, but rather by their approach to nuance. “What I find most interesting about the work of these artists is that whether their message is about feminism, immigration issues or mental health, none of it is presented in a didactic way, but with much more sensitivity.”



Not many visitors crossed the room without taking a ball bath in the installation by Christiane Peschek (ALBA, top). Equally fascinating were the suggestive ballpoint pen drawings by Assunta Abdel Azim Mohamed (Galerie Ernst Hilger, below), in which she explored the sometimes surreal, often painful aspects of interpersonal relationships.



Brishty Alam, represented by Wonnerth Dejaco, showed sculptures inspired by fish motifs.



At the entrance to ZONE1, Anthony Akinbola (Galerie Krinzinger) invited visitors to take part in his locker installation: Those who drew a waiting number could, with a bit of luck, discover and even keep an object behind one of the 100 or so doors.



Elisabeth Molin (Sharp Projects from Copenhagen, top) surprised visitors with aluminum casts of shadows of Disney characters, while Kogo Gallery from Tartu, Estonia, presented “Ways of Being”, an installation by Laura Põld, an Estonian artist who studied in Linz, Austria, and whose latest ceramic works were created during her stay at the historic Gmundner Keramik Manufaktur in Upper Austria (below).



Vienna-based Swiss artist Julia Znoj (Windhager von Kaenel, Zug, Switzerland) worked with the raw materials of metal, plastic, paper, sugar, and various found objects in her works, which were inspired by ideas about the female body and death in the 19th century.



Katharina Schilling, represented by house of spouse in Vienna, is known for expanding the traditional understanding of painting with her technically sophisticated works and moving on the border to photorealism.



Matthias Noggler (Layr) presented a large painting in a combination of blue and brown (top), which may at first appear to be an abstract painting, but on closer inspection shows human figures during a political protest.



No less political were the works of Irina Lotarevich (Galerie Sophie Tappeiner), whose sculptural works are designed as self-portraits made of handprints and skin structures – the works of the artist originally from Russia tell the story of identity as represented in the endless bureaucratic documentation that always accompanies immigrants.

Francesca Gavin aptly summarizes the importance of ZONE1: “This experiential section is a valuable part of what fairs can do to position emerging artists.”

ZONE1, with its exciting selection of emerging talents, not only offers insights into the current artistic processes in Austria and beyond, but also serves as an important platform and springboard for young artists to share their work with an international audience.

We already look forward to presenting ZONE1 2024 at Messe Wien, Hall D!

ZONE1 2023

Curated by Francesca Gavin

Assunta Abdel Azim Mohamed | Galerie Ernst Hilger
Anthony Akinbola | Galerie Krinzinger
Irina Lotarevich | SOPHIE TAPPEINER
Elisabeth Molin | Sharp Projects
Matthias Noggler | Layr
Christiane Peschek | ALBA
Laura Põld | Kogo
Katharina Schilling | house of spouse
Julia Znoj | Windhager von Kaenel


Photos: (installation views), Tim Dornaus, Matthias Jaidl, Niko Hawranek (mood shots)