Group exhibition “Stress Rehearsal”

Group exhibition “Stress Rehearsal”

Opening: October 28, 2020, 4-9pm

das weisse haus
Hegelgasse 14
1010 Wien

On view: Closed until February 23, 2021, due to COVID-19 regulations


The exhibition is realized in the framework of Studio das weisse haus and BLOCKFREI curator-in-residence 2020 cooperation program. Its curator Malou Solfjeld, alumni of Curators’ Agenda 2017, was proposed by BLOCKFREI, and finally selected by das weisse haus to be their curator-in-residence in a period from 3 February – 21 April 2020.


Mohamed Allam, Will Benedict, Daniel Mølholt Bülow, Gillian Brett, Rah Eleh, Rachel Fäth, Line Finderup Jensen mit Adnan Popovič, Juri Schaden & Parastu Gharabaghi, Lola Gonzàlez, Hanna Husberg & Laura McLean, Mohammed Laouli, Yein Lee, Elisabeth Molin, Jean Painlevé, Oliver Ressler, Clemens von Wedemeyer, Catherine Sarah Young

Malou Solfjeld (Curator in Residence 2020 at das weisse haus) with the support of Alexandra Grausam, Aline Lenzhofer and Frederike Sperling from das weisse haus team.


Expressions of solidarity on balconies, grounded planes on international airfields, tales of a reviving non-human natural world – for many, the COVID-19 pandemic nurtures hopes for more communal, equal and caring futures. At the same time, however, the global health crisis gives reasons for more dystopian prospects of co-existence on this planet. Among other things, it further mobilises xenophobic sentiments and multiplies social inequalities. More so, it has thwarted the momentum of climate activism in the media to the extent that scholars like the French philosopher Bruno Latour have declared the pandemic a “dress rehearsal” for the exacerbating climate catastrophe ahead of us.

Deliberately emphasising and yet not isolating ecological queries and concerns, the group exhibition “Stress Rehearsal” zooms into the abyss; into the bushfire in Australia, oil tanks sinking into the ocean, into the sea level rise on the Maldives and open landfills in Morocco. It brings together works by an international cohort of artists to critically reflect on the entanglements of the global pandemic, climate crisis, mass extinction, social inequality and turbo-capitalism. Gathering a hybridity of perspectives from the past, present and future, “Stress Rehearsal” collapses the linearity of time in order to activate our senses in the here and now. What is our individual as well as our collective responsibility towards more livable futures? What kind of new forms of agency do we need to craft in order to co-shape worlds-in-common – on- and offline, with the living and the non-living?

The exhibition unpacks questions like these in three different sections; We created this beast (referring to Bram Ieven and Jan Overwijk’s eponymous text), The pandemic as a dress rehearsal (in line with Bruno Latour’s essay Is this a dress rehearsal?) and The pandemic is a portal (alluring to Arundhati Roy’s eponymous article). The latter division is conceived as a laboratory of sorts, an accumulating digital archive of links and texts, videos and images. It serves as a multi-vocal platform where artists, curators, scholars, activists and visitors alike are invited to contribute and negotiate visions and perspectives on how to live together otherwise. The show consciously hosts a majority of video works as a means to reflect on contemporary modes of perception and consumption. It has been developed by the curator Malou Solfjeld with the support of Alexandra Grausam, Aline Lenzhofer and Frederike Sperling from das weisse haus team.


As the group exhibition “Stress Rehearsal” is closed, for the time being, das weisse haus studio gives some insight into the practice and thematic focus of the participating artists with the series Artist Portraits. In short interviews and personal statements, they present their own work and also reflect on current socio-political and ecological issues.
Artist Portraits can be read on the das weisse haus webpage.
On the das weisse haus Vimeo channel, you can also see an interview with Malou Solfjeld.


Cover Image: Lola Gonzàlez, “Veridis Quo”, 2016, courtesy of Marcelle Alix Paris.
Opening photos (c) – Joanna Pianka