play! - Toolbox Exhibition

The exhibition play! is the conclusion at a local level of the EU research project TRANSLOCAL: MUSEUM AS TOOLBOX, which ran from 2015 to 2017 as a collaboration between the Kunsthaus Graz, KUMU in Tallinn, MSU Zagreb, Museion Bozen/Bolzano and Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź. From spring 2016 to autumn 2017, five institutions worked with groups of young people, focusing on artworks produced in five residencies, to create an exhibition project that these young people were directly involved in shaping.


Playing connects – cultures, people, channels of thinking. Play has its own rules, it overcomes language barriers. It is the safest and simplest form of learning and accompanies many people on their way through life. Playing games can be dangerous, can take us to the edge of the imaginable, and make us discover new options. In this sense, play is closely related to art, forming the basis of much artistic practice.

play! is an exhibition project by a group of young people at the Kunsthaus Graz. United by an interest in art and the desire to design an exhibition based on our own ideas, we came together last year to think about current themes with the curators and museum educators. Five works formed the starting-point and foundation for our reflections on the situation and scope of this museum site as a space for art and negotiation. We built on concepts such as identity, self–representation, migration and communication. Through play, which formed the basis of several works, these could be combined in a fundamental way with our experimental approach.

In play! we create places of encounter. Encounters between us, space, its rules, its possibilities and the existing artistic and institutional settings. We use free spaces from the cloakroom, to the loos, through to the glass terrace, bending the institution’s rules of play and intervening with artistic or playful settings wherever we can, in order to encourage as many people as possible to join in with our fun, entertaining, critical and thoughtful interplay!

So, for example, we use VIP´s Union by Haegue Yang and its private furniture lent by Graz residents as a Welcome Zone. Here the residency project by Marcin Polak in Bolzano and Candida Höfer´s striking architectural photographs examine the issue of real accessibility and the practical use of public space for everyone – beyond consumerism. In collaboration with the Ludovico games library and game enthusiasts from all over the world, in Yang´s cosy, relaxed foyer, play will become a serious invitation to everyone to take a seat, immerse themselves, get to know each other and play together.

In the glass terrace, which provides an overview, Aldo Giannotti introduces us to the rules of the language game. He challenges us to reflect on the malleability of language. Complemented by Josef Bauer´s sculpture, abstract language appears here in a physical presence that we would otherwise usually only experience in an argument. In the camera– monitored staircase, in juxtaposition with Gerwald Rockenschaub´s invisible windows from the Künstlerhaus, Luigi Coppola brings us closer to our own presence in the midst of a powerful counterpart: as a reaction to our everyday role play between staging and surveillance, we made ourselves into pieces from a game according to Coppola´s rules of play, which become engaged with each location, can be carried along by the public and so change their position step by step. Oaza´s voice of a muse and interactive Utopian tales of a distant future of the museum, which are strangely reflected in Josef Dabernig´s site specific work Proposal for a New Kunsthaus, enables us to approach our various dreams in unusual parts of the building.

Games form the basic structure of the exhibition and carry us to alternative places. Games are often based on rules of play established by consensus and are accompanied by easily accessible communication. They usually happen anywhere, and without any obligation to engage in consumerism. So at the Kunsthaus Graz they are present as board and party games in the Welcome Zone, as meeting places on the newly designed forecourt, on Bernhard Wolf´s sun platform in the inner courtyard as well as on the BIX facade. Beyond the Kunsthaus, they can even be found in the form of a slightly different kind of an online version of the world-famous game Go in cooperation with lab10.


Participating artists include: Oaza Collective, Marcin Polak, Aldo Giannotti, Lasnaidee, Luigi Coppola, Josef Bauer, Gerwald Rockenschaub, Candida Höfer, Giulio Paolini, Clegg & Guttmann and many others.


Curated and activated by Lidia Cekic, Jasmin Edegger, Katharina Grabner, Ramona Haderer, Christina Hahn, Keyvan Paydar, Sarah Resch, Valerie Taus, Alexandra Trost, Monika Holzer-Kernbichler and Katrin Bucher Trantow.


In cooperation with Ludovido and lab10 collective

Learn more about the exhibition



Translocal: Museum as Toolbox

28.09.-29.10.2017   >  Kunsthaus Graz, Katzenbaum für die Kunst, Foyer, Needle, Innenhof, Garderobe

Opening: 27.09.2017, 7pm.
This experimental show develops a ‘talking museum’, based on a concept devised jointly by five museums. more...

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