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Artist Jun Yang designed chair’s backrest for CeMM’s Brain Lounge


On Thursday, 30 November 2023, CeMM welcomed artist Jun Yang for the inauguration of the new chair backrest that he specially designed for CeMM’s Brain Lounge, which completes the carousel. During the event, Jun Yang presented his piece of art entitled “The Voyage of Barbarella” and discussed with CeMM PhD students the process of conception and creation, how the story and narration can be the art as much as the physical representation. He spent time discussing what art is to him and encouraged them to view art with openness and generosity.

CeMM’s Brain Lounge is located on the 8th floor of the CeMM building, overlooking the impressive Vienna’s skyline. It was originally built as a special space where participants can abandon their daily professional routine and embark on a new journey to ignite creativity and innovation to develop new research ideas and the medicine of the future. It was created in 2012 by Walking Chair (Karl Emilio Pircher and Fidel Peugeot) in close cooperation with the CeMM Directors Giulio Superti-Furga and Anita Ender. The Brain Lounge’s central piece is a carousel with 14 leather chairs and a "lazy Susan" with an art piece by Peter Kogler. The backsides of the carousel chairs are detachable and intended to be designed by various renowned artists, whom Jun Yang has now joined.

Jun Yang is a Chinese-Austrian contemporary artist who was born in 1975, in Qingtian, China, and settled in Vienna, Austria when he was four years old. He completed his higher education at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam and at the Akademie der bildenden Künste (Academy of Fine Arts) in Vienna, where he studied under Michelangelo Pistoletto. He now lives and works in Vienna, Taipei, and Yokohama, allowing the various cultural contexts to inform and inspire his artistic projects. He has exhibited widely on the international stage both solo (across Europe, North America, and Asia) and as part of groups, notably numerous biennials including, Venice 2005, Liverpool 2006, Taipei 2008, Gwangju 2012 and 2018, Bangkok 2018, and Sydney 2018. From 1999 to 2000, he was the Schindler artist-in-residence at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in Los Angeles and the Museum of Applied Arts in Austria. In 2009, He co-founded the Taipei Contemporary Art Center. Jun Yang has also been a board member of the Vienna Secession since 2021. His art and design work has expanded to the creation of a number of restaurants in Vienna.

Jun Yang’s artwork for CeMM was inspired by the idea of a journey, that started with the conception of the Brain Lounge itself inspired by the 1968 science fiction film, Barbarella, directed by Roger Vadim and starring Jane Fonda as a space traveler. As the final artist, Jun was intrigued by the idea of going back to the beginning of the room’s journey. The artwork is accompanied by a “logbook” that Jun read out at the inauguration, documenting the 10-month journey the work undertook to reach its destination. This mirrors the “logbook” that travelers on the Brain Lounge carousel fill out to document their journey. The physical manifestation of the piece is a portrait painting, by an anonymous artist from a village in the south of China, of Jane Fonda in her Barbarella role, with the journey of the idea and the painting over vast distances, as documented by the logbook, providing the context by which this circular journey of completion of the Brain Lounge can be understood. As an aside, he described how, during the journey of the idea, on 15 February 2023, Jane Fonda visited the Secession in Vienna, and while Jun Yang did not meet her there, he brought the last example of the Maurizio Cattelan designed Secession scarf that she wore on that occasion to the inauguration, providing another touchpoint.

CeMM would like to thank Jun Yang for this special piece of art that completes a new special contribution in support of CeMM’s efforts to bring art and science together!

Read more about CeMM’s Brain Lounge: