Poledna Mathias/Karthik Pandian
Mathias Poledna was born in 1965 in Vienna, where he studied at the University (then College) of Applied Arts and at the University of Vienna. The artist has participated internationally in numerous major and group exhibitions, including documenta 12 in Kassel, Germany in 2007. His solo exhibitions include the Grazer Kunstverein, Graz, Austria, in 2001; Museum Moderne Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien (mumok), Vienna, in 2003; Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, Netherlands, in 2006; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA, in 2007; Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn, Germany (with Christopher Williams), in 2009; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York City, USA, in 2010; Neue Portikus, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, in 2013; and the Vienna Secession, Austria amongst others. In 2009, the artist was awarded the City of Vienna Prize for Visual Arts. Mathias Poledna has lived and worked in Los Angeles since 2000.
Karthik Pandian was born in Los Angeles, California, United States, in 1981. He studied art semiotics and comparative literature at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, where he earned his Bachelor of Art (BA), at the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and at the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California, United States, where he graduated with a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in 2008. Pandian has had solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2010), Bétonsalon, Paris (2014), and Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis (2022), among others. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions, including the LA Biennial at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2012; the Triennale at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2013; and the Whitechapel Gallery, London, U.K., 2015. Pandian's projects have been supported by grants from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the Institut Français, and the Durfee Foundation, among others. In 2011, he received a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award. He has worked as an art educator for school and family programs for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2003-2006), the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2002-2006), the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York (2004-2006), and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles (2006-2011). From 2010 to 2011, he was an instructor at the Department of Fine Arts, Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles. From 2011 to 2015 he was an Assistant Professor, Harper Fellow, at the Department of Visual Arts, University of Chicago and from 2015 to 2017 he was on the faculty of Video, Visual Arts, at Bennington College, Bennington. Since 2017, he has taught as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies at Harvard University, Cambridge. Karthik Pandian lives and works in Los Angeles, USA.
Poledna belongs to a generation of artists, who at the outset of the 1990s, with recourse to both the critical attitude towards institutions developed by the art of the 1960s and 1970s and to the conceptual practices of inquiry, analysis, and documentation, called into question the condi-tions under which art was being created and pushed for its re-politicization.
With reference to the mass media’s collective memory of images, Poledna has repeatedly fo-cused on the visualization of historic constellations in both political and popular culture contexts. Thus, in "Scan" (1996), based on a collection of punk-ephemera held at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, he reflected on a moment when popular culture was becoming history. As part of the "The making of" exhibition, which he curated, Poledna realized the video installation "Fondazione" (1998), centered on the Italian Feltrinelli Foundation in Milan, an archive founded by the publisher Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, known for his active involvement with the militant Left. The foundation houses one of the most important collections of materials related to the history of socialism and the Labor movement.
Poledna’s works, realized in Los Angeles, deal explicitly with questions of the re-enactment of history. "Actualité" (2001/2) is the first in a series of cinematic projects, which, starting from a musical performance, deal with nostalgia and memory as linchpins of the late-capitalist and advanced technological present. In place of archival materials, "Actualité" features actors and musi-cians who can be seen in one particular, highly condensed scene, miming a fictional, British post-Punk band of the late 1970s. The film "Western Recording" (2003) produced in Vienna as part of a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, takes this point a step further. Starting from the recording of a vocal track on a late 1960s song at a recording studio, the film projects a complex panorama of historical and spatial references. (Luisa Ziaja/Mathias Poledna)
Karthik Pandian is interested in seeing and is concerned with our conditionality through the historically shaped gaze. Engaging with avant-garde aesthetics, he works three-dimensionally with moving images, whether in the form of 35mm light image installations, film, video and performance. He explores the relationships between early human cultures and our modern society, critically questioning the treatment of ethnicities, architectures and artifacts of the mythical past and the influence of history on our present.