Werner Reiterer — Sculptures

Exhibition

Installation, photography, sculpture, mixed media

Werner Reiterer
Sculptures

Ends in 5 days: September 20 → November 16, 2019

Although the works currently on view at Loevenbruck Gallery highlight the sculptural aspects of Werner Reiterer’s practice, they also hint at the versatility of this Austrian multimedia artist whose practice is imbued with a fundamental skepticism towards so-called facts and exposes their brittleness. In his concepts, installations, sculptures and drawings, Werner Reiterer creates subversive realities that upend society’s rules and norms with flashes of acute criticism, irony and wicked humor.

Behind the simple and deceptively casual title Sculptures lies a conceptual arrangement that connects the very different works on view in terms of content.

A felt hat—epitome of a fading bourgeois lifestyle—has three holes cut into it. In a photo work the artist reveals its fatal function: the bourgeois version of a stocking mask destined to be used in a hold-up, a once proud marker of social respectability now indicating the bourgeoisie’s descent and ultimate absorption into the milieu of common criminals. This preposterous object symbolizes the increasingly precarious situation of various middle class groups and their growing criminal potential.

The bizarre masquerade of discarded pieces of furniture dressed up in stocking masks in “A Family Gang” epitomizes the classical nuclear family teetering on the edge of an existential precipice and signals its ultimate decline into a grotesque, pocket-size criminal gang.

In “Locked in!” Reiterer’s dark vision takes a dramatic turn: a camper, representing a middle class way of vacationing and travel, is stripped of all pleasurable associations. A storm is brewing inside and, unable to escape, explodes in a pandemonium of hellish noises—a vacation idyll shattered by conflict.

The absurdity of the camper’s presence in the gallery (it’s way too big to have passed through its doors!) only increases the irritation. “Locked in!” is a sculptural metaphor for the miserable and explosive state of a society under existential pressure and the dismal status quo of the individual.

Werner Reiterer’s work oscillates between pointed criticism of the global order with its politics of economization and a sharp-edged irony laced with trenchant humor and ultimately settles on a form that captures all this ambiguity with surgical precision.

Margareta Sandhofer, “Sculptures”, June 2019.
Margareta Sandhofer studied art history. She is a curator and a critic, and lives in Vienna.