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Mario Kiesenhofer


What do contemporary queer safe spaces look like, where can they be found and where are they shifting to? Against the background of these questions, Mario Kiesenhofer develops photographs that he layers with display materials such as tinted or etched glass, creating spheres of maximum intimacy. With his photographic objects and video installations, he reflects on the absence of the body and questions the virtualised subject.

His engagement with queer spaces and architecture manifests itself in the Black Mirror-like photographs of the ongoing series INDOOR, which offers filtered glimpses into barely accessible queer sex clubs, darkrooms and gay saunas. The series includes photographic objects taken in Vienna, New York City, Paris, Berlin, Salzburg, London, Budapest and Tokyo.

The photographs are taken during the day when the clubs are closed and then layered with grey glass and framed. The dark glass filter and the resulting barely visible motifs refer to the disappearance of queer spaces from urban cityscapes.

Against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic and the associated social restrictions such as physical distancing and the temporary closure of restaurants, bars and clubs, the deserted architectural motifs of this series paint an all the more thoughtful picture of the current emptiness and loss.


Mario Kiesenhofer was born in 1984 in Freistadt, Austria. He lives and works in Vienna and is represented in the USA by the Peter Hay Halpert Fine Art Gallery.
Kiesenhofer studied photography and video art under the direction of Matthias Herrmann and Dorit Margreiter at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna (2008-2014).
His work has been shown in London (Austrian Cultural Forum), Tokyo (A- Gallery), Poland (BWA Gallery, Tarnów), Wien Museum, Kunsthalle Exnergasse (Vienna) and Kunstverein Schattendorf. In 2018, he was the recipient of a 3-month studio fellowship for artistic photography from the Federal Chancellery in New York City (as part of the International Studio & Curatorial Program), and in 2015 he received a 6-month start-up fellowship for artistic photography. In 2018, he was a finalist for the Wolf Suschitzky Photography Prize and received an honourable mention. In 2020, Kiesenhofer was awarded an honourable mention by the expert jury at the Portfolio Review at Fotomuseum Winterthur. Kiesenhofer is co-founder of Streulicht – a discursive publication series for photography and related art.