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The press on Roman Ondák´s project for the Deutsche Guggenheim
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“The next time we’ll just take off”
The press on Roman Ondák’s project for the
Deutsche Guggenheim

As Deutsche Bank’s 2012 “Artist of the Year,” Roman Ondák realized a spectacular project called “do not walk outside this area” in which he installed the wing of a Boeing 737-500 in the Deutsche Guggenheim. Like a bridge, the wing connects the hall’s two exhibition spaces, which contain works on paper and installations that allude to the theme of “travel.” The press raved over Ondák’s works, which invite the visitor to view art and life from unusual perspectives.

Roman Ondák likes to play with the inversion of inside and outside, with illusion, the error in the system,” writes Tobias Timm in Zeit, praising the “cryptic, resistant humor” of his art, “which also, ultimately, poses political questions but is incomparably more potent than most ‘provocative’ works currently on show at the Berlin Biennial. Because Ondák’s art is subtler, and because it empowers the viewer without being intrusive—to walk over the airplane wing, which is both harmless and seductive. To transgress boundaries. And the next time we won’t stand at the end of the line anymore, the next time we’ll just take off.” Tip says that “anyone who balances on the surface that is otherwise inaccessible, that passengers normally see out the window, treads on the wing of his or her imagination, memory, and fantasy—and yet remains firmly on the ground,” while the Berliner Morgenpost reports: “More than just the conventions of the art establishment take off here.”

“Ondák shows us things that we otherwise ignore,” writes Sandra Danicke in Art, which runs an extensive article on the 1966-born artist on the occasion of his projects for the Deutsche Guggenheim, the K21 in Dusseldorf, and documenta. “With his subtle alterations of everyday phenomena, the Slovak has become a star on the art scene in only a few years.” Ondák likes to “keep things in limbo,” explains Weltkunst, and observes that the exhibition “captures the essence of Ondák’s work due to “its reserved presentation.” Monopol includes do not walk outside this area among the highlights of the 2012 Berlin exhibition year. In her review of the show, Antje Stahl writes that Ondák “transforms the exhibition hall into a transit zone. The journey proceeds through three halls that have been installed modestly, but with details that are all the more haunting.”

“Roman Ondák’s exhibition ‘addresses curiosity, the desire for adventure and travel,’ writes Nicola Kuhn in Tagesspiegel. The blog Sju Kunstsalon sees things similarly: “Ondák plays with boundaries, with risks and prohibitions; he calls them into question while inviting the viewer on an imaginary journey.” Artslant regards the project as a “play on the meaning of ‘travel.’” For Zitty, “Ondák throws on the switch of the viewer’s thinking machinery.” He succeeds in “letting the viewer become the painter of his or her own inner images.” On Deutschlandradio, Carsten Probst celebrates Ondák as an “artist mediator between east and west” who questions the “western concept of art with the means of the dissident. (…) In any case, the year 2012 is the year of Roman Ondak, with numerous solo exhibitions, participation in documenta, and now Deutsche Bank’s “Artist of the Year” award, too. This prize—one of the many usual marketing actions, one could assume—is now in its third year and has established itself as a major career move for the winning artist. The two previous prizewinners, Wangechi Mutu and Yto Barrada, quickly became known to a larger public.”  

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