Adriana Lara

»Less is More«


21er Raum at 21er Haus, Vienna

September 24 — Oktober 26, 2014


Adriana Lara is interested in the interplay between the things in the world, their appearance, their linguistic and symbolic representation and the problems thereby emerging. Her exhibitions operate like models of the correlations of the order of things and signs, handing over questions of interpretation and meaning to the viewer. She is pursuing a very playful, post-conceptual practice, in which contents are treated on an equal footing with their objects and their sensual experience, realizing works depending on the matter in question in a variety of materials and media.

The realization of artworks is also the focal point of her exhibition at 21er Raum. What does production actually mean, what does it imply? What are the expectations that works should fulfill, and are there promises that artists should neglect? Adriana Lara answers with a series of gestures that are echoing the title of the show. An intervention in spike art quarterly spread over several pages reads as an endless sequence of zeros after a dot, ending with a ‘1’. It represents a cipher which gets smaller (but more expensive as magazine space) as it grows in pages, literally embodying the exhibition title “Less is More”. 

Toilet seats arranged at same height along the wall (“Beneath Technology #1-5”) and hung just like one does with art can be interpreted in this direction, too. On the one hand, their presentation as objects of art alludes to Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain” and his reduction of production to a concept or idea. On the other hand, the plastic objects refer to the symbolic capital of what is legitimate, the toilet seat as an institutional symbol. Behaving like monochrome paintings or heraldic plaques, the toilet covers sit on quite literal zeros. Their function is reduced to a visual experience, directing the view like a frame to what lies beneath: the wall. While the zeros beneath are always concealed and simultaneously disclosable, the pieces are hung in variable positions along the room, suggesting what lies beneath them at times, obviating them at others. 

The architectural intervention in the room titled “The Real Estate” is imitating angled walls found in top floor apartments, former attics reducing the space in a ‘productive’ way, as the artist states. This reductive act of production is complemented with one of the toilet seats hung in the slanted wall that opens slightly by the force of gravity. The decline of the wall is repeated in a photograph next to it. It shows an Austrian porcelain figurine, which went wrong in the oven. It can’t stand on its own, but in this case gravity is subverted with the help of photographic framing. Deprived of its function as a commercial object, the figurine is obsolete and stored for didactic purposes in the Augarten Museum workshop, and yet it is still not exempt of eventual symbolic capital. This transformational moment is also topic of the video that Lara filmed at Kunsthistorisches Museum and describes the trajectory of the archeological Egyptian objects from being found, distributed, unearthed, packed and shipped to its installation at the 19th century museum. Opposite to this, there is a crate, hung like a painting, found in the 21er Haus depot. This also recalls structurally caused transformation processes, except in this case, it recalls the minimum value perhaps equal to the number in the magazine – compared to the Marcel Broodthaers work that it carried inside, now hanging outside, in another exhibition on the same floor of the Museum.

While the relation of production and reduction is explored, the concept of meaning and significance is presented in its exponential condition – frozen in a stage of potentiality. 


Adriana Lara was born in Mexico City in 1978, where she lives and works. She works in parallel for Perros Negros, a curatorial collective co-founded by her in 2003 as editor of the yearly magazine Pazmaker. Her work has been recently shown in the following exhibitions: Let's Not Jump Into Concrete, Independenza, Rome (solo, 2014); Marrakech Biennale 5 (2014); Documenta 13, Kassel (2012); NY-USA, Algus Greenspon, New York (solo, 2012); S.S.O.R., Kunsthalle Basel (solo, 2012); and Scryyns and Interesting Theories, Air de Paris, Paris (solo, 2012).


Exhibition catalogue:
21er Raum 2012 – 2016
Edited by Agnes Husslein-Arco and Severin Dünser
Including texts by Severin Dünser, Simon Dybbroe Møller, Paul Feigelfeld, Agnes Husslein-Arco, Lili Reynaud-Dewar and Luisa Ziaja on exhibitions by Anna-Sophie Berger, Andy Boot, Vittorio Brodmann, Andy Coolquitt, Simon Dybbroe Møller, Iman Issa, Barbara Kapusta, Susanne Kriemann, Adriana Lara, Till Megerle, Adrien Missika, Noële Ody, Sarah Ortmeyer, Mathias Pöschl, Rosa Rendl, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Anja Ronacher, Constanze Schweiger, Zin Taylor, Philipp Timischl, Rita Vitorelli and Salvatore Viviano
Graphic design by Atelier Liska Wesle, Vienna/Berlin
Softcover, 21 × 29,7 cm, 272 pages, numerous illustrations in color
Belvedere, Vienna, 2016
ISBN 978-3-903114-18-0