It starts with a stage, lit from underneath. The figure on top could be imagined standing upright, but is presently laying down, too tired from the performance to continue. Our apprehension of the performer shifts as we are asked to observe its remnants, dissect what has been left behind, read the traces of life still visible after its collapse. The stage becomes an operating table. Here lies KAYA.
Who or what is KAYA?
That's me. I'm Kaya. I've been working with Debo Eilers and Kerstin Brätsch for a long time. Debo is a family friend. People have this strange idea that I'm a fiction or someone's project. But that's bullshit. I can show you my passport. I was born on February 25, 1996.
How would you define painting, KAYA?
It's sort of like making your bed.
What inspires your work?
Well each show is different of course. It's usually a lot of things. A good exhibition has layers. Like last summer, I spent some time in New York, and I'd go out a lot with my friends. That's what you do in New York. We'd go to these trendy bars and clubs, some places that are hard to get into, where all of these "somebodies" go out. In New York they all dress sloppy, deliberately thrown together at the last minute, each one more desperate than the next to look like the opposite of what they were trying so hard to become. But then some other nights I'd convince my friend to come with me to the bad clubs, the cheesy bars. That was also interesting. At the bad clubs you'd always find these well-dressed nobodies. Losers, most of them young guys alone, in their early 20s, who would put their outfits together so carefully, with so much taste and sorrow.
What is N.O.Madski’s part within KAYA V, shown at Meyer Kainer Gallery as part of this year’s curated by_vienna project?
He sort of curated the exhibition. I think he's related to Kerstin somehow? Great artist, although in this case we decided he should curate the exhibition. We played a game and let him decide where we should have drinks every night that we were in Vienna, after we finished working on the show. He wasn't in town, so he would just look up something random on Google, and send us there. He'd make an itinerary every night of the streets we should walk down and how many drinks each of us was supposed to have. It was funny. We texted a lot of pictures back and forth as the show was going up.
The uniqueness of authorship is denied in the KAYA-project and categories such as process, product, subject and subjectivity become the focus of the discussions about it. Why is it so important to discuss aspects like these?
Personally, when I think about art, I like to go for thrill; and the cheaper the thrill, the better. The faster it comes, the easier it lifts me, the higher I get… does that make sense? So for me it's much more exciting to take credit for someone else's work than craft scenarios that dilute my own.
Speculative Realism, accelerationism, art and capital are the key words that accompany this year’s edition of curated by_vienna. One reads these terms in the essay "Tomorrow Today" by philosopher Armen Avanessian, who wrote it as the theoretical basis for curated by_vienna 2015. Have you read the text? To what extend do you agree with it?
I met Armen at a dinner party in Paris last year. It was at my friend Azzedine's home, and it was my first night in town. Very small party, only eight people, and I was one of them! I had never been to Paris before, so you can imagine how embarrassed I was when I got there late from the airport with six pieces of luggage — I overpacked, it was my first time in Europe. But I didn't want to miss Azzedine's party. Armen noticed my distress immediately and introduced himself. He offered me a seat next to him at the table. We talked for a long time that night. He was very charming, very chic, and a great guide to Paris. He smelled amazing, and he told me where I must have breakfast the next morning, and then dinner. He told me how to find his favourite work at the Louvre. We made plans to go to Montana later that week, but somehow it never happened. He never called. Of course we didn't discuss his work. When you meet someone fascinating like that, someone who makes important work, that's often the last thing you want to discuss. It's a dreadful topic.
curated by_ N.O.Madski
Artists: Kerstin Brätsch, Debo Eilers
Galerie Meyer Kainer, Eschenbachgasse 9, 1010 Wien
More information www.meyerkainer.com
Read the text written by Armen Avanessian, which has been serving as theoretical basis for the curators and galleries involved in curated by_vienna: Tomorrow Today.
curated by_vienna is supported by Vienna Business Agency and its creative center departure.