Jakob Kolding: Pieces

at Galerie Martin Janda in Vienna, Austria
8 March-20 April 2019

Building on Kolding’s interest in constructing identities, “Pieces” brings together a wide range of visual narratives converging on continuous negotiations between individual and society.

The concept of symbiosis plays a key role in this exhibition and is posed as a counterpoint to the increasingly dominant authoritarian trends and principles of exclusion and isolation in contemporary societies and politics. Kolding’s understanding of symbiosis is not that of a flower-scented utopia where all live harmoniously–symbiotic relationships can of course be mutually beneficial as well as harmful–but rather in the inevitable interconnectivity that it entails. A conflicting collective, but a collective nevertheless.

Sculptural works of cut-out figures are placed around the exhibition space. In each work, the silhouette is dictated by one source, with the imagery “inside” coming from another, allowing for two images to be present at the same time, as part of one another. This creates a feed-back loop between two elements, destabilising their relationship internally, as a conflicted body as well as influencing the relationship to the other figures and to visitors. Like a dance perhaps, or, as seen from the back, a shadow play of vaguely defined bodies and positions.

The hazy nature of these prints is contrasted by a cut and paste collage series, in which Kolding explores imagery of past visualisations of a digital future. With material taken from science fiction book covers from the 1960s to the 90s, and rave and ambient record covers from the late 80s to the early 90s, the combined imagery suggests a future of new virtual worlds, both utopian and dystopian. Having zoomed in on details to the point of abstraction, the images are visually arresting, appealing, proposing a bright digital future. However, seen now, these images become tinged with sadness, revealing a dark undercurrent running through them. The abstract visualisations of once-upon-a-time dreams of an emancipatory utopia, of a networked world and individual freedom, give way to concrete realities of diminished privacy in a digital world of extreme inequality, far outside democratic control.

Jakob Kolding lives and works in Berlin.

(text adapted from the gallery’s press materials)


Galerie Martin Janda
Eschenbachgasse 11
1010 Vienna, Austria
+43 (1) 585 73 71

Tuesday-Friday, 11AM-6PM
Saturday, 11AM-4PM


“Pieces” by Jakob Kolding
(installation view; 2019)
Photo by Anna Konrath
Courtesy of Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna

Untitled (Violence)
by Jakob Kolding
collage on paper
Courtesy of Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna