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Ane Mette Hol, 25 Color Drawing (2021)

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Ane Mette Hol
25 Color Drawing (2021)

The work 25 Color Drawing (2021) has a special role in Ane Mette Hol’s exhibition Becoming (Working Title). A color chart of the kind used in reproduction photography to calibrate exposure settings, but here drawn by Hol, is included in the solo exhibition of the Austrian artist Heimo Zobernig, on show at mumok at the same time as Hol’s exhibition. If visitors actually notice this artistic intervention, then it might look as if museum staff had forgotten to remove this color chart after making a photographic reproduction of a painting by Zobernig. By responding to Zobernig with 25 Color Drawing, Hol shows appreciation of the work of a fellow artist. Hol’s appropriation of Zobernig’s methods, in which the artist maps out the field of art as an object of research and poses questions relating to the production of art, to the aesthetics of materials, to display and architecture, and also concerning the mechanisms of showing in a museum context, demonstrates, as Jan Verwoert argues, that appropriation as a critical practice is still highly relevant in the context of the heightened power of capitalist commodity culture in the twenty-first century:

“The force that underlies the belief in the potential of appropriation is the hope that it should be possible to cut a slice out of the substance of this commodity culture to expose the structures that shape it in all their layers. (…) The object of appropriation in this sense must today be made to speak not only of its place within the structural order of the present material culture but also of the different times it inhabits and the different historical vectors that cross it. So there is a positive hope that the exhibition of the appropriated object could today still create this sudden moment of insight that we know it can produce ever since Duchamp put a bottle dryer on display in a museum, namely that it could show what (in a particular social context at a specific historical moment) it means for something to mean something.”*

Marcel Duchamp’s idea of the ready-mades, which runs through Ane Mette Hol’s complete oeuvre on a conceptual level, is also intrinsic to 25 Color Drawing. The original that the color chart attached to Zobernig’s work is based on comes from the museum inventory, namely the tool kits from the in-house photo lab. But Hol does not present the color chart as an objet trouvé, rather it is a manually reproduced copy, including traces of previous use, such as scratches or folds. The choice of the color chart as a motif in combination with its photorealistic representation technique exemplifies the reflection of the photographic medium as one of the integral means of contemporary artistic (re-)production.

Franz Thalmair

*Jan Verwoert, “Living with Ghosts – From Appropriation to Invocation in Contemporary Art,” in Art & Research: A Journal of Ideas, Contexts and Methods, volume 1, no. 2, summer 2007, www. artandresearch (last accessed July 8, 2021)