Weekly Conversations... with Anna-Lena Wenzel
Anna-Lena Wenzel, was a past Critic-in-Residence in cooperation with PARNASS. Anna-Lena is a Berlin-based art critic active in various media, such as vonhundert, baunetz, Van-magazin, leading her own online magazine 99% Urban as well as a radio station Radiosalon für Alltägliches.
How did you get to know about the PARNASS residence-program? What made you decide to apply?
A friend of mine forwarded the newsletter to me. I’ve been to Vienna once before and wanted to come back to dig deeper into the local art scene. I find it very vivid and focused differently than in Berlin – for example, it is more open to artists from Eastern Europe. There’s actually not a lot of fundings for art critics, so I was very eager to try it out.
You’ve spent a week in Vienna so far, I’m sure you’ve visited some events or exhibitions already. Is there anything that caught your interest the most?
I’m walking around a lot – and enjoy finding contemporary and historic art nearly everywhere: in Burgtheater there are portraits of contemporary artists – besides ceiling paintings of Klimt. At Zentralfriedhof there is a wonderful pink, sausage-like gravestone by Franz West, whose humorous “Gerngrosssäule” I pass by nearly every day. On Thursday I visited an exhibition opening by Toni Schmale – her queer and powerful sculptures are striking – and are shown in the JesuitenFoyer! Yesterday I saw a pin-up calendar (artist edition) with her nude pictures. Very courageous! That was at Secession where I also loved the work “Screens” by Olga Chernysheva, consisting of short films combined with texts in Russian and English that are presented in a lightbox. I‘m very interested in combinations of text and pictures and I think it’s an interesting updateof the portrait-format.
You’re leading an unusual online magazine 99% Urban that describes itself as “no party-guide or lifestyle magazine”. How would you describe it in your own words?
It is a platform for artistic and poetic perspectives on cities –an opportunity which I use a lot for my own photos and texts – and a platform for other people who I’m interested in and whose works affect me. In the beginning our team was more heterogeneous, but due to several reasons – such as the fact we’re volunteer-based – the artistic focus took over now.
Your feminist-related radio show was until recently called Missy Radio. Now it’s “Radiosalon für Alltägliches”. What made you change the name – did you also change the topics you’re focusing on? Could you tell us more about the show?
There is a very simple reason for it: The editors of „Missy Magazine“ want to use the name for their own radioshow. However, we will continue with our feminist and artistic approach, inviting people to speak with us about things that strike everybody – like „Mothers“, „Body“, „Happy Life“. The feminist approach is giving space and voice to women – while the artistic part lies in improvising a lot and not being afraid of making „mistakes“.
Interviewer for studio das weisse haus: Simona Lacinová