A gold watch on a black background

Mathias Poledna was born in 1965 in Vienna. He studied at the Universität für Angewandte Kunst and the University of Vienna before moving to Los Angeles in the 1990s. Poledna’s work often takes the form of highly sophisticated films that betray a tension between the visuals depicted and their cultural implications. Entertainment is a key subject for him: he focuses on the visual and structural elements that capture the imagination and illustrate societies to themselves. In all his works the detail and precision of the image are seductive; in a sense he uses artifice to discuss artifice. In some of his more recent productions, he employs the allure of Hollywood’s studio system as a hook, from 1930s black-and-white musicals to golden-era animation. The latter makes up the work Imitation of Life (2013), a three-minute hand-drawn animated film using more than five thousand drawings, sketches, and watercolors from original Disney animators. Poledna has had solo exhibitions at the Renaissance Society, University of Chicago (2014); Art Institute of Chicago (2014); Secession, Vienna (2013); Portikus, Frankfurt am Main (2010); New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2009); Bonner Kunstverein (with Christopher Williams, 2009); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2007); and Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam (2006). His work has been shown in group exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2016); Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (2009); and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2008), to name a few. In 2013 he represented Austria at the 55th Venice Biennale.