Triumph of the Nul Pointers
The Leopold Museum shows Tex Rubinowitz’s tribute to the losers of the Song Contest
Vienna (OTS) – The caricaturist, author and recipient of the prestigious “Ingeborg Bachmann Prize” Tex Rubinowitz has made an extraordinary contribution to the 60th Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) with his exhibition "The Nul-Pointers" which opened Thursday night at the Leopold Museum. The presentation does not shine the spotlight on the winners of the most famous European singing competition, but on all those whose distinctive performances did not earn them a single point.
Following the spirit of Eurovision
The exhibition’s curator Stefan Kutzenberger took on the role of host for the night, welcoming the guests of this international exhibition in impeccable English, "following the spirit of Eurovision" and introducing the equally international "German artist" Tex Rubinowitz. After a spontaneous poll among the guests revealed that there was a surprising number of German speakers in attendance, Kutzenberger effortlessly adapted to the situation and switched back to his native German, asking his co-curator Ivan Ristić to join him on stage. Ristić had originally suggested Rubinowitz for a project on the 150th anniversary of the Ringstraße. But when Tex heard of another project, a planned presentation on the ESC at the Leopold Museum, it was not difficult to win him over for this exhibition instead. Ivan Ristić, who was "in charge of keeping up a certain level of sophistication" (direct quote Kutzenberger), emphasized that winners needed those willing to "throw themselves into misery" as an antithesis.
34 times nul points
On the occasion of the exhibition’s opening, Tex Rubinowitz once again professed his very special relationship with the Song Contest: "I am interested in the facets of the ESC". For the presentation, he has immortalized all “Nul Pointers”, of which there have been 34 so far, in oil on wood. Although the works delight with their reduction and humor, Rubinowitz does not mock the losers of the Song Contest. According to Tex, the exhibition does not show "a chamber of horrors, but rather a portrait gallery".
Edgar Böhm, "bridge builder" and ESC Executive Producer of the ORF on the upcoming Song Contest: "The greatest thing I’ve ever done"
Edgar Böhm, the Executive Producer of the ESC, was also taken with the exhibition. He felt that the idea of honoring not only the efforts of the winners but also those of the losers fit in perfectly with this year’s motto of the Song Contest, "Building Bridges". Böhm on the Song Contest: "It’s the greatest thing I’ve ever done: it’s a big business, but it’s a big duty, too".
Tex Rubinowitz: tribute to Finland’s ESC contribution
"Hold your horses", Rubinowitz shouted out to the euphoric opening guests who cheered the artist when he presented himself to his audience. He has his money on Finland to win this year’s Eurovision Song Contest with the “Down syndrome punk band” Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät, who the artist has paid a special tribute to – he reworked an old bedsheet of his into a Finnish flag, and with a sewing machine (Tex: "a Japanese Toyota, not a European model") he immortalized the members of the Finnish band on a cloth diaper: "I have learned embroidery especially for Tracey Emin" said Rubinowitz. His exhibition is shown one floor beneath the show dedicated to the British artist, who is perhaps most famous for her work "My Bed", and who presents entirely new embroideries at the Leopold Museum. Tex admires Emin and remains humble: "She has created art on another level" (note: Tex is shown on level -2, Tracey on level -1).
MQ caught up in Song Contest craze
Franz Smola, the Museological Director of the Leopold Museum, delivered the closing remarks. He thanked the museum’s team as well as the sponsors Goldeck and Schloss Gobelsburg who were in charge of quenching the thirst of the opening guests. Smola placed the event into the larger context of the MQ’s Summer Opening and referred to the imminent redesigning of the 40 pieces of MQ furniture. These will be reworked by various artists, including Tex Rubinowitz, on the occasion of the Eurovision Song Contest. Each piece of furniture is dedicated to a country participating in the ESC and will soon be auctioned off for a good cause. Finally, Director Smola declared the exhibition open.
Greetings from Venice: "The winner is… Tex!"
For once not in attendance was the Leopold Museum’s Managing Director Peter Weinhäupl, who attended the simultaneous opening of the Venice Biennale and regretted that he was not able to experience the event at the Leopold Museum. He sent a message to the artist and the museum’s team from Italy: "Huge congratulations from Venice! The winner is … Tex!".
Tex on the turntable, Quehenberger on the keyboard: sixties and seventies DJ sounds plus "Mäuse" sound
Immediately after the opening speeches, Tex Rubinowitz turned his attention to the turntable and played tunes from the roaring sixties and wild seventies – all from his own collection of select records – before Philipp Quehenberger, a member of Tex’s band "Mäuse", worked the keyboard at a volume rather unusual for the museum.
Celebrating with Tex: from doyen Daniel Spoerri to MQ Director Strasser
Celebrating the “Nul Pointers” together with Tex Rubinowitz were the MQ director Christian Strasser, the doyen Daniel Spoerri, the artists Linde Waber and Bernadette Huber, Falter journalist Klaus Nüchtern, archiguard architect Andreas Heizeneder, Caterina Hofirek-Zechner and Thomas Schmidle of the ORF’s ESC team, Az W curator Monika Platzer, Gudrun Engl of the Vienna Tourist Board, and many others. Afterwards, they went out into the well-attended MQ Summer Opening night, marveling at the facade of the Leopold Museum illuminated with Tex’s “Nul Pointers” and going home to the sounds of the cult band "Kreisky" sounding through the main yard of the MQ.
"Tex Rubinowitz. The Nul-Pointers". The Leopold Museum’s exhibition on the ESC
The exhibition "Tex Rubinowitz. The Nul-Pointers" is on display from 8th May to 8th June at the Leopold Museum. The Leopold Museum is open daily, except Tuesdays, from 10 am to 6 pm. On Thursdays it is open from 10 am to 9 pm. The museum is closed on Tuesdays, with the exception of Tuesday, 2nd June, when the museum is open from 10 am to 6 pm due to the summer opening times (from June to August the museum is open every day).
For a dynamic clip of the opening night, see: https://youtu.be/7BP9iWRfSC4