|Pure Lunacy, Remise Bludenz 2001|
|Exhibition space with a re-built gallery room as a walk-in picture, down-scaled and tipped over by 15 degrees (outline see below). C-print on the outside of a magic window: "Schlimmer kann es nicht mehr werden" [It can't get any worse]. C-print on its inside: "Es kann noch schlimmer werden" [It can get much worse]. Foil letters on the wall: "und jetzt" [and now] Aluminum stamp with the imprint "schade" [what a pity]. Bouncing balls with foil letters "esc" taken from the computer keyboard and usable as escape-objects for the visitors. Parasite-picture leaning on the wall reminding that there's always a hidden parasite, and art itself is kind of a para-site.
Gallery allerArt/Remise Bludenz, Jan 11 - Feb 4, 2001
|When Richard Jochum asked me to talk by chance of this opening, I wasn't aware of the logical trap, this effort would imply. Therefore I regard myself happy not to appear in person to talk to you but mediated by a videotape, and hereby thrown and "paranoied" into space and time - paranoia is after all just another subject of this exhibition. Richard Jochum installed a conceptual Damokles sword by his so called "Pure Lunacy" display by installing the question "What to do?" as an ueber-title to his project. As once Dionysos the tyrant let his courtier dine beyond a sword hanging on a thin silk thread just to make him feel hinging on his master, so does Jochum now by sharpening the sword of art for us the recipients. Clarifying that his question isn't put out just for fun or simple ennui, Jochum recombines it with terms like complexity, contingency, cross-linking, globalization, mediatisation, over-information etc. The question "What to do?" reacts and opposes at first place the "Zeitgeist" saying "just do it" or "anything goes". If everything is possible but nothing necessary we get directly into the problem of growing arbitrary. The moster of disorientation, disorder, revaluation and depreciation appears and leads eventually into cultural inflation and entropy. The simple question "What the hell are we doing?" breaks our actuality in two cause it implies an urgent requirement to reflect and distinct and yet a need to decide and take action. The well known double structure of truth and lie, appearance and reality, good and evil arises. The reason why we are yearning for such binary world views is simple: they stand for our attempt to reduce complexity and unburden our cognitive system. We fear the di-lemma and crave for the lemma, i.e. for the keyword, the motto, the overview and controll, for purity and security, orientation and meaning, beauty and harmony.
Would Jochums exhibition confront us with simple decision criteria and value systems - either for the reality in general or for the arts in particular, he would either be an esoterian or a right-wing populist. When the Austrian politician Haider suggests that 50 years of complexity are enough we simply could answer on behalf of the entire social sciences and sciences of the mind that complexities had just started up to begin with the 21st century. Art that would not understand that is nothing more but kitsch; a policy ignoring that is a behemoth. Jochums display presents itself as a hybrid semantics made of modular imagery and terminology, as a semantic game that gets unruly by going back and forth between signifier and signified. Exhibition descriptions turn all of sudden into self-textures that continually re-load and re-describe themselves by interweaving with other texts and realities into new texts. The trick is that we find ourselves as text-project within a constellation that paradoxically creates community both at the same time as identity and difference.
In my attempt to talk about Jochums exhibition objects in a verbal way I'll blunder into a trap any moment. Seeing the exhibition at first glance we'll immediately take notice of the phrase "and now" (und jetzt). That lettering marks our presence in the very moment by placing us on a timeline and evoking the bemusable moment of decision making processes. On the other hand we find ourselves placed within space by a stamp carrying the imprint "pity" (schade). It literally recalls and registers missed possibilities as an irony of history; I say literally because "history" deduces from "events" - meaning "thing" or "matter". A space in a space stands in the center of the display. With its minified entrance the door to it compells the visitors to humble themselves. The same view through a magic window that has just shown - from outside - "It can hardly get any worse" (Schlimmer kann es nicht mehr werden) presents now - from the inside - "It can easily become worse, though" (Es kann noch schlimmer werden).
A couple of bouncing balls with the inscription "esc" remind us on an ultimate decision to be taken about leaving the program, the operating mode, the value system, respectively indicating the end of a dual philosophy of an either / or. And here at its latest Jochums trap snapped shut by my performance of the duality of the perception process - by distincting between an object of the discourse and the discourse about the object. Concerning Wittgenstein I schould rather shut up now. But as Wittgenstein is the most tragic victim of that trap, we as recipients ought to try to keep our speech going - possibly infintely. To comfort those of my critics who thought, when Feuerstein talks it hardly can get worse, I gonna come to an end with my insights. Hoping that everybody is able to take advantage of the "here and now" flirting with the art, with the artist Richard Jochum oder anybody else in the space.