Imitation of Life Mathias Poledna

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

Price: €18

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