Superfacesurface: Malerei in Wien #5 Ute Müller

Demand clarity. Straightforwardness. Accessibility. Situate the work. Argue for its relevance. Understand its motivations. (…)

But what if the artist does not speak, if she was muted and you would only see the movements of her lips? What if she swapped the language for one we do not master or one that is yet to be established? What if the political stance is based on collecting a variety of perspectives and is therefore no longer accountable? What if shapes lost their colours and the object was set to a different language than the environment it inhabits? 

(…)

What is left: a shadow cast by what once was a three-dimensional soundscape, the memory of a work, the guidance system of an exhibition, traces of spaces where you once walked around, the scent left behind by the egg of the painting’s tempera. Point zero is reached and an infinite amount of possibilities, directions and perspectives open up. The questions form a different type of public space – where we take responsibility for and where we meet with objects and environments as if sitting on a swing, getting dizzy, forgetting, mistaking, undoing, creating losing all perspective.

(…)

Is it really the question of the other? Or is it maybe just a question of dis-othering? Instead, it is a question of seeing our own body as an image that can be studied. 

In this world created by her – or better: in this shadow world –, the colours faded, the casts just show the remnants, the insides. Sculptures are previous walls, walls were once floors, what is there to protect is there to be marked, what is there to be understood is there to be liked… 

We remember the shapes, they are recognisable, they are familiar, we trust them, as such we like them, they seduce us, it is a space were we like to be, where we can be… 

(…)

Different access to memory?

She feels her way around, she touches, not once but thousands of times, each word is constructive and yet sensitive material. The work holds and betrays meaning. It is formal and yet it has a rhythm, a rhythm that might be formal. It is movement. It is our movement to become part of the interior – an interior space in which we behave. The objects become organs, the walls turning into vessels. The space moves to the rhythm of the body, following the timbre of the voice. Stuttering, uttering, touching with the voice until the painting cracks open. 

(…)

Questioning the way we see objects, spaces and sculptures. A conceptual twist: where a wall takes over the function of a plinth, a sculpture acts as a space divider. Protagonists, characters, backdrops… does the exhibitor becomes exhibited? As if there is a space that marks a ‘here’ and another ‘there’. As if there were two poles marking the end of the world. Remember: a straight line is also always a circle.  

(…)

Instead, the space inverts itself, not only from the position of the painting – the entire space internalises the exterior and turns it into a cast. 

There is no longer a distant perspective or an unknown truth – instead the installations make us understand the current, the here and the now deeper, further… We crack open with them. We understand simultaneously. All paintings are the same. They are one work. If you see these three paintings in three different moments in the same exhibition, they define a different time, a different space.

 

 

(…)

Layers of nothingness, emptiness, a line, a drop, a thought, precise, remembering “I never saw it”. Like language, speech meanders, meaning in its edges, not as a statement or a declaration. The sound of it, its rhythm, the cast of what could be a message through an empty shell. 

A memorial of our time, the environment of the same, extends, softens, rounds. Memory of a cast, the same again, a body in a shell. 

How does one cast emptiness?

How does one travel if material is not caught and placed?

How does one imagine the cast of emptiness? 

No longer identity, no spatial constructs. The oppression of state, forms, and rules, the empty vessel. It is absurd – and oh so serious. 

 

Text: Excerpt from Questions and fragments by Pieternel Vermoortel
Pictures Neven Allgeier