Talk of living out in the countryside inevitably conjures up all sorts of images before our mind’s eye. Descriptions range from the romanticism of farming life to the dreariness of life in the provinces, shaped as much by personal experiences as by anecdotes and depictions consumed via the media – the image of village life and the reality of it at times worlds apart. In a photographic and artistic analysis of what life in the countryside is like today, the exhibition Über Leben am Land at the KUNST HAUS WIEN focuses on Europe and the US.
So what is life actually like in a village community, in a self-imposed hermitage, in the crushingly dull provinces, in a rural idyll – between social diversity, alternative life concepts, and the dissolution of the infrastructure? These are some of the questions raised by the exhibition Über Leben am Land with its collection of photographic viewpoints and video works that address the differing realities of provincial life through a staged, personal, artistic and documentary-style approach. Indeed, these approaches are analytical, poetic, political, surreal, comical, melancholy, and at times tragic, but never objective or complete.