Mark Dion, F.B.I Tool Bag of Dirty Tricks, 1991, fabric bag, nine tools covered in liquid rubber with enamel, extra item: plunger, photo: Matthias Bildstein, courtesy Georg Kargl Fine Arts, Vienna
9 March 2017, 6–9 pm
‚Waterboarding works!’ ‚Torture works!’ So the disturbing words of US President Donald Trump on January 26th 2017. What do you need for this? Tools. Georg Kargl presents a selection of them in the exhibition American Politics – Dirty Tricks from March 9th 2017 in his Viennese gallery. The American object and installation artist Mark Dion showed the contents of the toolbags for the first time in 1991. Guantanamo, asymmetric warfare, torture and ill-treatment determine the work of FBI and CIA to this day. And will continue under Trump. In the unhappy tradition of FBI founder John Edgar Hoover and the dark years of CIA influence in Latin America.
Surveillance, extortion, reputation damage, economic boycott, death threats and other means are symbolized in the contents of Dion's bags. Ax, hammer or tongs are coated with liquid rubber. Rubber gloves reinforce the impression that the performers do not want to get their hands dirty. A Hawaiian shirt enclosed in the CIA bag takes notes of the apparently loosely-lax workings of the secret service infiltrating countries of the southern hemisphere. So that everything has its order, tools and bags are delicately inscribed.
The exhibition at Georg Kargl BOX shakes and awakens real threats despite the bright colors. Espionage is by far not only seemingly clean mobile phone detection for terrorist defense. It deeply engages in state structures and in the privacy of all people. Mark Dion shows this as drastically as well as plastically. Despite the rubber gauze, it's a dirty business. The use and above all the abuse of the tools can not be washed off by the authorities.
Text: Florian Horcicka
Mark Dion, born 1961 in New Bedford, Massachusetts, lives and works in New York. His works are included in numerous collections such as Metropolitain Museum of Art, New York, Tate Gallery, London, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerp, and Israel Museum of Art, Jerusalem. Mark Dion participated in documenta 13 (2012) and in the Sydney Biennial (2008). Recently his works were shown in solo exhibitions at Marta Herford (2015/2016), Academy of Fine Arts, Dresden (2014), Museum Het Domein, Sittard (2013), Oceanographic Museum of Monaco (2011), The Natural History Museum, London (2007).