by Zachari Logan
Photocredits by Michael Koch
Galerie Schleifmühlgasse 1214 welcomes Canadian artist Zachari Logan for the second time in the capital of Austria. In contrast to Logan’s previous exhibition at 12-14, Sisi Boy explores aspects of Vienna that are not necessarily restricted to museums. This investigation is about a place itself seen through the eyes of a visitor, so is equally about the seer and the seen. Composite beings or characters, based on multiple affections the artist has come to feel, and experience first hand in Vienna, emerge in several ways. Combining drawing and three-dimensional works, a self-reflexive dialogue evolves, continuing Logan’s exploration of identity.
Making use of his body as a catalyst, the artist reinterprets historical constructions of masculinity through a contemporary lens, involving in his work, explorations of identity and self-awareness. This is typically established through a combination of art-historic techniques/motifs and through references to historic personages. Logan’s sumptuous art allows him to imagine alternate ways of existing, as well as proposing rotating histories.
The method of contextualizing and reinterpreting collections of art in Logan’s practice, debuted during a 2009 residency in Paris. For this, Logan developed a project centered on the Neoclassical paintings of the prestigious Louvre, where he worked on small academic style drawings, titled Helping Hands Series. From these smaller works, Logan constructed the epic-scaled Beautiful Losers, echoing the small drawings. This project saught to undercut the bravado of Neoclassical visual language, while again, involving his own body as catalyst. Similarly, Wilderness Tips, Logan’s first project with 12-14, was based in part on works found in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Belvedere and Albertina.
For his current project Logan presents a floral monument created in ceramic citing Vienna’s overwhelming romanticism toward death. Furthered by the weight recollection plays in the maintenance of melancholia, this exhibition crystallizes both the process of production and a possible alteration through time, as the result of a second installation of real flowers. The project casts doubt upon the touristic activity and its limitation regarding the life of a city, along with the restrictive quality nostalgia plays on the minds of individuals. Conjointly, a series of monumental landscapes in pastel suggest internal states of mind, as well as smaller drawings, composites of himself and the charismatic Vienna personage: Sisi.
The title of the exhibition “Sisi Boy” refers elegantly to the empress, it also plays off the term Sissy boy, a pejorative for a boy or man who does not meet the standard male gender role, a supplementary characteristic of the project. In this way, Logan suggests metaphors of an alternate reality through the reconstruction of this personality from the perspective of a foreign, queer lens. Evoking the physical trace of bodies, Logan presents his own recently cut hair (one of the only parts of the body that continues to grow after death) embodying his absence, as well as Sisi’s, who was of course, famous for her incredible mane.
Text by Dora Dacosta