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Total 65.43
December 2023, English
21×26 cm, 272 pages, 174 color ills., hardcover
ISBN 978-1-915609-31-1
Daniela Bily, be the rhythm studio
Kunsthalle Wien

“BURN & GLOOM! GLOW & MOON! Thousand Years of Troubled Genders” was the most comprehensive exhibition of Vienna-based artist and filmmaker Katrina Daschner's work to date. It was curated by Övül Ö. Durmuşoğlu and encompassed works from the 1990s to the present, ranging from sculptures, textiles, music, performance, community-based work, and, most prominently, film, which sits at the heart of Katrina Daschner’s practice. The publication transfers the immersive environment of senses, textures, and feelings created in the exhibition into book form. Just like the exhibition, it confronts, touches, embraces, and dreams of transforming “femme”-ness, transforming bodies, and transforming genders.

With stylized performances and video works, Daschner plays with the boundaries of human and non-human, and what is socially defined as the norm, exposing the artificiality of the gendered binary—the dualism of men* and womxn—and the prejudices it generates, freeing the body. In doing so, the stage becomes the setting for a precarious desire for visibility and, at the same time, an endless yearning for rebirth. The bodies that perform and the potential audience that follows them mutate and embody different emotional cycles again and again. These artistic acts generate their own community in the making; everyone participating contribute to the stories in the making. They function like threads attaching her stories, stages, and characters together. In Daschner’s textile-based works, threads are minimal yet highly visible, akin to the pinch needed to wake up from a dream. These works—as well as her collages—merge with her confronting yet inviting image politics: she cuts and pastes stories of love and pleasure, violence and resilience, death and rebirth.

The written contributions reflect on Katrina Daschner as part of a hardworking generation of queer artists and makers who have been responding to the major conceptual shifts and gender upheavals happening in contemporary art since the 1990s, especially in New York and London. They highlight Katrina Daschner’s longstanding line of intersectional queer interest that continues to undermine (neo-)liberal, heteropatriarchal conceptions of sexuality, gender, subjectivity, and relationships.