Werner Reiterer — Untitled
Past: October 19 → December 1, 2012
“The trick is to treat death absolutely brazenly and without respect. You need to be step ahead of it, so you can turn round suddenly and stick your tongue out at it!”1
Death, the beyond, and the human condition in general are themes to which Werner Reiterer applies a deliberately irreverent twist. In this operation of demystification and appropriation, the beholder plays a central role. Often caught by surprise, s/he is placed in disorienting situations that border on the absurd, as reflected, notably, in the Site-Specific Mobiles (plates documenting the artist’s site-specific projects). In one example (The Site-Specific Mobiles, Boarding, 2012), worshippers entering a church come upon a puzzling luminous panel indicating the take-off time for paradise, and in another (The Site-Specific Mobiles, Liquid Black Night Fountain, 2012), walkers chance upon a fountain spouting opaque black water — spurting oil, a “shit fountain”2 or a liquid black version of the dark night itself are some of the possible interpretations.
Visitors are also called upon to interact with the works. At Galerie Loevenbruck their presence activates pieces fitted with movement detectors, like the avatar of the artist whose chest heaves and breathes (Wrapped in Time, 2012), or the electric cooker whose heart can be heard beating (like a woman’s, as the work’s humorous title puts it) (When Feminism Becomes Form, 2010). A dialogue is thus set up with the viewer, who is at first trapped and then amused and finally perplexed, as thought supplants surprise.
Reiterer will also be presenting new drawings from The Drawn Exhibition. Begun in 1996, this series follows an unchanging technical protocol: for each drawing, he uses 17 different pencils and an identical format (70 × 50 cm). Over the years Reiterer has thus developed a set of images, all in shades of grey, which immerses us his own mental exhibition. These sketches of projects — implemented, feasible or completely left-field — and the concretisation of ideas in the form of installations and sculptures, form a body of work that oscillates between the real and the fictional, the material and the imaginary, the tangible and the spiritual.
Werner Reiterer was born in Graz (Austria) in 1964. He lives and works in Vienna.
Recent solo shows: Wasser Marsch!, Kunstraum Weikendorf and Boarding, Martin-Luther-Kirche, Linz, in 2012; Life in a Solution of Death, Galerie Loevenbruck, Paris, 2009; Raw Loop, Speed Art Museum, Louisville and Contemporary Art Museum, Tampa, 2008–9; Eye Sucks World, Kunsthaus, Graz, 2007; Is this Air Speaking?, Galerie Loevenbruck, Paris, 2005.
Selected group shows: Young Art on Paper, Acquisitions of the Graphic Collection 1997-2012, Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna and Sound — Art, ZKM, Karlsruhe, 2012; Montreal Biennale — BNL MTL 2, 2011; Château de Tokyo — Palais de Fontainebleau, Fontainebleau, 2008; One Second/ One Year, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2006; OK/OKAY, Swiss Institute-Contemporary Art, New York, 2005.
1 Werner Reiterer, “Werner & Reiterer & Conversation, a collage of various interviews”, in Text(e)s, Editions Loevenbruck, Paris, 2009, p.187.
2 The Shit Fountain (2006), a drawing from the Drawn Exhibition series, features in this exhibition opposite Site Specific Mobile, Liquid Black Night Fountain (2012).