So someone is telling stories of the end, no, not the whole world, just one unspecified street is apparently over. “End of the Road” – of course there is also a song with that name. From the boy group Boyz II Men. Lovesickness, heartbreak, “Girl you know we belong together” and so on. Was number one in various charts for weeks in 1992. Nevertheless, Hans Weigand did not think of him when he called his exhibition in the Gabriele Senn Gallery “Tales from the End of the Road”. Although he is very fond of quoting. (“One of the thoughts was: A social era of positive, social utopias is finally coming to an end and only the ruins of the 68 ideas remain.”)
Théodore Géricault’s psychologically monumental oil painting “The Raft of Medusa” (based on a true story; shipwrecked people build a raft out of the masts and yards of their aground frigate “Méduse” and become cannibals) does not appear directly, the restless sea is of course omnipresent and the artist has also always touched and inspired “drama in a small space”. Weigand: “In the broadest sense, one could see the raft as a symbol for the canvas.” Or for the panel painting, the works presented are largely complex mixed techniques on wood, on printing blocks. Woodcut and painting in one, sophisticated dialogues between carved and non-invasive lines, between highly disciplined hatching and expressive gestures. And one or the other plate could actually be printed on paper like that.
The snake doesn’t bite, it shoots
The picture as a life raft on which the motifs, which are carried along with the flood of images from art and the rest of history, and the techniques crowd? On the winged altar, for example. It may not be able to fly, but it can probably swim. (Wood, hello?) Outside on the weekday page (when closed): an abstract, colorful landscape of emotions, an almost baroque tangle, pure emotion. Inside on the Sunday side (with wings outstretched): Laocoon and his two sons are fighting a snake cyborg (the reptile’s head is a firearm). Hey, is that a Stargate in the background?
Natural and other disasters everywhere. At least one should NOT expect an ideal world. (That would be boring anyway.) Despite the surfboards. Weigand even tucks one under the arm of Marc Aurel, lets the philosopher emperor trot through the shallow water on horseback (a copy of his bronze equestrian statue is in Tulln, by the way), makes him a wave rider, a surf warrior (“Surf Warrior from Mururoa”) ), has put on a terrifying oceanic mask on top of that. Wait a minute: Mururoa? This restricted area? This uninhabited (and uninhabitable) atoll in the South Pacific that the French radioactively contaminated with their nuclear weapons tests?
Hm. And the other “exotic” figure? The ones in whose body a REAL carving knife and the IMAGE of one penetrate at the same time? Is it actually being created now or is it being sacrificed (to art)? Is it lying on the creator’s workbench or an offering table? Probably both.
Hurricane ravages the California dream
“Pacific Dreams and Big Sleep at the End of the Road”: a requiem for the Californian dream that a hurricane completely devastated the beach house, while someone who was shipwrecked in his life crouches on a stranded surfboard? A modern apocalypse (the drone in the sky bears the number of the Antichrist: 666) with climate change and war? In any case, the harmonious good weather chants of the Beach Boys are NOT the soundtrack to this scene, in which a personal experience of the artist has been incorporated. From his time in Los Angeles (in the 90s), where he noticed how far the propagated “California Dream” (“surfing hovers above everything, similar to how one thinks that every Austrian can ski super”) and the Reality (with its social problems, police violence and open racism) diverge. Back then he spontaneously rushed to the aid of an old, homeless Korean veteran. Instead of being rescued, the fire brigade came “and they laid him on the scorching pavement and he died there under beautiful palm trees”.
Dense imagery rich in associations of someone who does not steal, but finds creative.