Indifference Mathias Poledna

Published by Galerie Buchholz, Köln; MUMOK, Wien & Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Köln, 2021, 102 pages (colour & b/w ill.), slipcase, 21.5 × 28.5 cm, English / German

Price: €39

Mathias Poledna’s film Indifference (2018) further advances the artist’s ongoing inquiry into modernity’s visual imaginary. The film unfolds as a series of brief, hallucinatory scenes set in the waning days of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy at the cusp of World War I. It details in elegant restraint the seemingly mundane routine of a single protagonist played by French actor Alain-Fabien Delon. His character – an Austrian officer / aristocrat – is drawn from types common in German-speaking fin-de-siècle literature, as well as from historical dramas and period films produced in the Cold War era. While evocative of the larger backdrop of traumatic modernization and conflict in early 20th century European history, Poledna’s film forgoes a broader narrative focusing instead on the transient and disjointed.

#2021 #galeriebuchholz #mathiaspoledna #verlagderbuchhandlungwaltherkonig
Western Recording Mathias Poledna

Published by Witte de With, Rotterdam, 2006, 206 pages (colour & b/w ill.), 17 × 23 cm, English / German / Dutch

Price: €24

Mathias Poledna’s artistic practice is informed by historical research, archives and collections. His film Western Recording shows a recording session in the legendary Studio 3 at United Western Recorders, a studio that has remained largely unchanged since the early 1960s because of its special sound. From the multiple referential fields alluded to by this setting, as well as the inherent tension between its current function and historical significance, Poledna creates a hybrid historical constellation that combines a reinterpretation of the 1969 song “City Life” along with the appearance, the habitus, and the performance of the musicians.

Designed by Mathias Poledna.

#2006 #mathiaspoledna #wittedewith
Imitation of Life Mathias Poledna

Published by Distanz Verlag, Berlin, 2013, 108 pages (colour & b/w ill.), 23 × 25 cm, German / English

Price: €18 (Temporarily out of stock)

Produced on the occasion of Mathias Poledna’s participation at the 55th International Art Exhibition — Venice Biennale, representing Austria.

A 35mm colour film roughly three minutes in length, Imitation of Life was produced using the historic, labor-intensive technique of handmade animation and is built around a cartoon character performing a musical number. Its buoyant spirit and visual texture evoke the Golden Era of the American animation industry during the late 1930s and early 1940s. In the preceding years, the time of the Great Depression, the medium had evolved from a crude form of mass spectacle into a visual language of enormous richness and complexity that shaped and continues to resonate in our collective imaginary.

Designed by the artist in collaboration with Martha Stutteregger.

A portion of the film can be viewed here.

#2013 #marthastutteregger #mathiaspoledna
Substance Mathias Poledna

Published by The Renaissance Society of Chicago, 2017, 132 pages

Price: €38

The Renaissance Society presents a major commission by Los Angeles-based artist Mathias Poledna. For this exhibition, Poledna has created an installation that juxtaposes a new moving image work with a comprehensive reimagining of the venue’s setting.

Poledna’s art most commonly takes the form of highly concentrated film works that unfold a complex tension between the visuals and their critical and cultural implications. His work, as Michael Bracewell writes, suggests “a form of conceptualism, philosophical in basis, which attempts to engage with paradox as a means of enquiry.” In Poledna’s films and the rigorously formal environments he creates for them, salient beauty and visual restraint collude in a viewing experience that encompasses both affect and detachment.

Poledna’s concise presentations underscore a mode of production in which he frequently involves specialist collaborators in order to articulate a highly specific frame of vision. The films draw on the artist’s panoramic range of interests, from the music of post-punk and a rainforest in Papua New Guinea to 1930s style animation, as in his seminal 2013 film, Imitation of Life. Although invariably newly produced, they often create the impression of having been found as they are, seemingly extricated from present-day or historic collective imaginaries.

#2017 #mathiaspoledna #MichaelBracewell #TheRenaissanceSocietyofChicago