Mathias Poledna

Actualité | London, South Kensington | c-print | 45.7 x 57.2 cm. (image)

“Mathias Poledna […] turns film in on itself to discover, in place of a general foundation, a hyper-specific ruin.”

Jan Tumlir, Flash Art International

Mathias Poledna has called his most filmic works “fragments of twentieth-century culture.” Indeed, his work seems to isolate specific details of contemporary life that call into question the relationship between the things we fetishize (stylish rock n’ roll posturing, analog technology, exotic and foreign landscapes) and their underlying reality — disconnected fragments of a more holistic, idealized value system. Appropriately, Poledna has cited vintage ethnography films as influences on his work. As Jan Tumlir wrote in Flash Art International about some of Poledna’s works, “they are just the sort of thing one might expect to find buried deep within scorched earth, or else, worst-case scenario, orbiting a distant planet alongside other items of earthly detritus.”

Among his most memorable recent works was 2009’s Crystal Palace, an expansive film installation referencing the 1951 album Sounds of a Tropical Rainforest — produced for the American Museum of Natural History as an authentic document of rainforest sounds but recorded almost entirely at the Bronx Zoo. It showed as a solo exhibition at the Hammer Museum, in Los Angeles; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and took over the New Museum’s entire fourth floor, in New York.

Poledna’s work appeared in the 2006 Whitney Biennial, in New York, the Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art and the Liverpool Biennial in 2004. It also appeared in the 2000 Oberhausen Film Festival, in Germany, organized by Carsten Höller, and as part of the inaugural Manifesta fair, organized in 1996. In 2013, his work was chosen to represent Austria at the Venice Biennale.    

Born in Vienna, Austria, Poledna stayed to study at the Vienna University and the University of Applied Arts Vienna (Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien). He is represented by Galerie Meyer Kainer, in Vienna; Galerie Daniel Buchholz, in Berlin; and Richard Telles Fine Art, in Los Angeles. Today, he lives and works in Los Angeles.

Additional Sources:

J. Tumlir, "Sci-Fi Historicism."
Flash Art International 40, Jan. 2007., p. 104.

Galerie Meyer Kainer:

Hammer Museum:

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