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Indepth Arts News:

"gelitin - Chinese Synthese Leberkäse"
2006-04-10 until 2006-05-28
Kunsthaus Bregenz
Bregenz, , AT

Ali Janka (*1970), Wolfgang Gantner (*1968), Tobias Urban (*1971), and Florian Reiter (*1970), the four artists behind gelitin, are often regarded as the “Bad Good Boys” of the international art scene, a reputation they have earned through countless wanton happenings and installations. Usually, the four artists build their objects out of found or “exclusive” discarded material. Their bold constructions always fulfill their aim of creating new pleasure-oriented physical experiences. gelitin’s elaborate projects, which combine installations and rock concerts, film and performance, action art and happenings, deejaying and ecstasy, are often kicked off or climax in spectacles lasting several days. The exhibition runs through May 28 2006 at Kunsthaus Bregenz.

In the tradition of Viennese Actionism, the artist collective orgiastically and inventively puts taboos and social conventions through the mill. And the audience is always right at the center, constantly being called upon to take part. But gelitin gets by without the “noisy provocation of Viennese Actionism” (Birgit Sonna); rather, it seems to lean more towards the actionist-anarchistic playfulness of the Marx Brothers.

They have staged such legendary works as their contribution to the Expo 2000 in Hanover, where visitors were expected to dive into a five-meter deep water hole in order to enter a hidden grotto of happiness; or the “Buttik Transportør” in Galerie Meyer Kainer in Vienna with bare wooden stairs and rooms that are only held together with chewing gum and which contain bookshelves with huge pickle jars of stuffed animals “preserved” in oil. They attracted a lot of attention in 2001 with their intervention at the World Trade Center in New York City. Back then, they managed to get past the guards, and for a brief moment somewhere near the top of the skyscraper they temporarily removed a glass pane from a window and installed a handmade balcony in its place. The members of the group went out onto the balcony one at a time, as was documented by a snapshot taken from a helicopter. In the same year, this time at the Venice Biennial 2001, gelitin transformed the garden of the Austrian pavilion into a Mesozoic paradise replete with osmotic fi gures spread throughout the grounds. And since September 2005, perched upon a 1,600-meter high mountain in Piedmont, a sixty-meter long and six-meter high supine rabbit with its guts protruding from its knitted, pink, Tuscan-straw-stuffed hide has announced art’s mighty fall back to real life.

Chinese Synthese Leberkäse At the Kunsthaus Bregenz, gelitin will be building various works with its own hands. On the ground floor, for example, the artists will be constructing a public restroom complete with balcony in the KUB Arena; this zone is open to the public free of charge. While the first floor will house a classic exhibition of large-format paintings by gelitin, the second floor will be converted into a movie theater with several projection rooms: the main attraction will, of course, be a movie by gelitin. Finally, a fusion reactor will be on display on the third floor.

From time to time, one might fi nd a handrail made of hotdogs because as gelitin comments: “We live for surprises in details.” gelitin brings together all their basic strategies in the exhibition at the Kunsthaus Bregenz, the first large-scale museum exhibition the group has ever done. The interweaving of architectural sculptural elements and the body- and pleasure-oriented Dadaist exchange between artists, art, and audience demonstrates a consistent, anarchistic idealism of what gelitin stands for: art itself. And that in a most perceptible way, in the knowledge that all materials, content, and actions can be transformed and that in doing so the “art place, concept of genius, and traditional positions of artistic creation” (Elisabeth Schweeger) are cancelled out.          

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