Maja Osojnik’s (Mamka Records) concert (April 8th) and adjoining exhibition, “FOLLOW ME…” (April 8th-29th) at Echoraum, Vienna happened, but didn’t happen. Kind of. Not really. Yes really. It’s corona. It’s confusing. Read on.
What has the past year-and-a-bit taught us? For one: that life doesn’t always go as planned, and sometimes not even close to it. A true absorber of that lesson is internationally renowned, experimental electroacoustic musician, composer, vocalist and, perhaps lesser-known, visual artist, Maja Osojnik. After years of working on her handmade prints, collaborative graphic images, and, ultimately, sculptural installations, in which her music and visual expressions inspire, interact and merge with one another, she was finally ready to release them from the atelier to the world.
Unfortunately, the world didn’t cooperate.
Reality and wishes crashed, and her exhibition opening and closing dates (April 8th-29th) have both fallen under yet another Austrian-mandated lockdown due to the pandemic. (Sigh.) The irony, if not the beauty of it, is that the glitches, imperfections and unexpected challenges that the exhibition-now-behind-closed-doors represents, in fact, mirror that of the artist’s work itself. Maja’s music is not inherently “easy” nor does it represent any “ideals”; not in its sounds, lyrics, intentions or approach. The artist always gets down to the grime and the grit of human experience and musical expression. And it ain’t always “pretty” (or it is, but in a heart-wrenching sort of way). Therefore, it is miserably fitting that the presentation of her work naturally includes the dark side of life as well, with all the anomalies, disturbances and improvizations, baked in, from start to finish.
All this being said, we can indeed see her exhibition (hurrah!), if not in physical presence, then at least in real time. The exhibition is up until April 29th, and as it sits there, in pitiful solitude, we can in fact transport our eyes and ears directly to it, through video. Maja has created an online virtual tour of the exhibition. This way, we are able to experience and learn about the works from the artist herself, engaging with and explaining them, their origins, meanings and desired impressions. To join Maja in the virtual tour of her exhibition “FOLLOW ME…”, you are just a click away.
A note from the artist:
“Life is a plan B. In case you were wondering why this video suddenly stops in the end! The virtual tour was supposed to end with a concert, which I played afterwards (April 8th, 2021) and was streamed at echoraeume.klingt.org. But the file got corrupted right there. After two days of trying to save it, we gave up and can not show it here, which makes my team sad, as it was really beautiful and worked really well as whole. Well, nevertheless, I would be very happy, if you visit my sound pages and engage with my work.”
About the exhibition
“FOLLOW ME…” / April 8th-29th, 2021 / Echoraum, Vienna
The title of the exhibition is “FOLLOW ME…” (jokingly reflecting on the absurdity of this current moment in history, where artists are practically handcuffed due to pandemic restrictions, and left with nothing but pleas for attention and support online). It includes 161 hand-printed linoleum block prints and hand-woven singles in the form of “paintings”, 23 graphic sound scores, 4 videos, 2 installations and 1 sculpture. All of the artworks relate to Maja’s music, composing and self-created label Mamka Records, the “slowest label in the world,” as she calls it. Each of Mamka’s releases is brought to visual form in the exhibition. The works span mostly the last 3 years, though some, such as the sound scores “Doorways,” date back much farther.
One feels the blood, sweat and tears and labor-intensity, as they peruse the abundance of hand-made, hand-printed artworks. Equally, they feel the heart behind it. In “Mi Corazón”, prints for the 2nd release on Mamka Records with Natascha Gangl and Rdeča Raketa (her duo with Matija Schellander), the “sweetness, bitterness and pain” are palpable in the penetrating strokes of the carved-out prints. Whereas with “Where do the flies go at night,” graphic sound scores inspired by the patterns of movements of flies, one is transported to a feeling of childlike wonder and naivety. Moving on, one experiences an air of both humor and heaviness in the ready-made sculpture, “Where have all the brownies gone,” where the artist draws an unexpected parallel between the famous story of m&m’s in Van Halen’s hospitality-rider and views on European democracy and the critical masses. Finally, in “Peel,” which is the foundation of the upcoming album, “Die Revanche der Schlangenfrau” (“The revenge of the snake woman”), one is reminded of the relentless creative force that Maja embodies as an artist and musician.
In a nutshell, you’ll find a lot in this exhibition. As colorful, strong-minded, innovative, uncompromising and a little crazy as the artist is known to be as a musician, she is just as much so in her visual expression and thereby exhibition. “FOLLOW ME…” is for sure worth a visit, and in this case, more than worth a click.
List of works:
#01 DOORWAYS (2008-2020)
#02 CHICKEN (2018)
#03 MI CORAZÓN (2019)
#04 WHERE DO THE FLIES GO AT NIGHT (2019 – 2021)
#05 SUPERANDOME – SUPER RANDOM ME (2020)
#06 CONTROL (2021)
#07 PEEL (2021 – )