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10 Dec 2009

Werner Reiterer at Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna

Werner Reiterer, Death in a Solution of Life
Silkscreen on cardboard, 99 x 69 cm
Edition of 10 + 1 E.A.
Courtesy Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna - © VBK, Vienna

Death in a Solution of Life


December 11, 2009 - January 30, 2010

Opening reception:
Thursday, December 10, 2009, 7 p.m.

Opening hours:
Tue–Fri 12–6 p.m., Sat 11 a.m.–4 p.m.

+43 1 513 3006
+43 1 513 3006-33

Seilerstätte 16
1010 Vienna

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Werner Reiterer - Death in a Solution of Life

In 'Death in a Solution of Life' death encounters us as an antithesis to life in drawings, a series of exhibition posters and a number of sculptures and interventions. 'My Predicted Lifetime', just to take one example, narrates a countdown in years, months, days, hours, minutes and seconds. It is the alleged life expectation of the artist that is shrinking before the very eyes of the onlooker – existence as a temporal assumption based on statistical data. In 'Raw Loop', by contrast, one sees a sitting figure with a sack over its head – whose breathing can be both seen and heard. In allusion to the 'Allegory of the cave' one's own world is seen as a closed circle in which one is captured in keeping with the rhythm of life. In 'Untitled' mortality is also exemplified. A clock – one familiar to us from public spaces – shows the right time but its ticking is constantly accelerating and slowing down, making a subjective sense of time tangible to the viewer. 'Life counts Death' by contrast consists of a cube and percussion pedal. When the pedal is activated, Reiterer has a bell sound that marks an arbitrarily assumed point in time in which an individual is born while another person is taking leave. It is also a reference to the minimalism of the 1960s. The work titled 'The Adolf Hitler Monument' can be read as a reference to the minimalism of the 1960s and to the 'pedestal debate'. Here the pedestal reveals the telltale mustache and hairstyle, representing the historical processing in which various generations diverge. The monument is an attempt to break open the increasingly rigid structures of how people come to terms with the past by bringing it down to eye level (assuming the height to be 169 to 172 cm).

While the monument commemorates, admonishes and confronts, 'Bang the Bomb!' encourages direct use of violence. An aircraft bomber hangs suspended in the space like a boxing bag. If one hits it hard enough, there is a loud explosion – one is caught up in a situation between physical violence in the here and now and the unleashing of a dislocated violence of high-tech arms industry in the there and then. Once one has completely exhausted oneself in striking, one can take a seat in the 'HALO-LOUNGE', a blown-up halo that has taken on material form. Whoever settles in here either merely assumes the role of a believer waiting for the last judgment or is simply a bored visitor seeking respite. Those who are among the former will wait a bit longer in the exhibition since in 'Draft for an Altar' God has removed his halo and left a note that he will be back in five minutes. God cannot be reached – even on the cell phone that has been left behind. It rings every five minutes but God does not answer. Thus the urge to rise from the dead and to defy unpleasant phenomena accompanying both life and death can be readily understood, as so eloquently illustrated in the piece 'Untitled' from 2008.

With 'Death in a Solution of Life' Werner Reiterer (born 1964 in Graz, lives and works in Vienna) is, after five years being shown at Galerie Krinzinger in his second solo show. His interventions in public space, sculptures, drawings, photographs and installations activate the viewers and usually also integrate them. A latent interactivity can be found throughout his entire sculptural output. The onlooker not only becomes integrated in the conception and production of a work as living matter, in Reiterer's oeuvre they also become the main element of his art. Works by Werner Reiterer have been recently presented at the Upper Belvedere in Vienna, the Speed Art Museum, Louisville, USA and the USF Contemporary Art Museum, Tampa, USA.