Verena Dengler is master of the pointed allusion. She melds pictures, sculptures, fabrics and found materials into a poetic cosmos: historical and political details link up with reflections on the economic conditions of the artist’s existence, art historical genealogy with quotations from popular culture. In her first institutional solo show Verena Dengler, a native of Vienna, reflected on the specifically Austrian conditions and support systems in the visual arts which have usually been influenced by social democratic principles. In the process, old-fashioned slogans and out-of-date means of production collided with current headlines whereby what is regarded as contemporary in each case ceased to be self-evident.
The exhibition title, Fantastic Socialism made reference to the Phantastic Realists, a group of artists who achieved a great deal of popularity, especially in Austria. Dengler’s interest was focussed on the specific forms that idiosyncratic provinciality can give rise to. In this respect, the exhibition’s subtitle might also have been Östalgie [Ost (East) and ostalgie from nostalgia and Ö from Österreich/Austria]: “I’m thinking here of Ostalgie, the GDR cult, only that it is even more absurd in Austria, because it also means that a present-day image of Vienna is always being constructed.”
Curated by Achim Hochdörfer