Georg Holzmann, Mirjam Mercedes Salzer, Christoph Voglbauer, Eva Zangerle
EFES 42, Linz. 16.6.23 - 27.6.23
As usual I came too late to the party. There was nobody left apart from the caretaker. He was sweeping up sand on a sultry afternoon. Apparently there had been lots of kids at the opening, playing in a sandpit. I could almost hear them yelling happily above the murmur of arty grown ups at beer and chit chat.
The works were mostly outside, as the title (drauẞen) suggests:
A pair of socks (Eva Zangerle, Alles unter Kontrolle) looking sticky on a windowsill, actually sealed in glass, frozen in time. It said so on the floorplan so I touched them. They resisted my finger firmly, like a memory of having yanked your socks off in a hurry to do something fun - to jump into bed or in the sea. Now left, moldering in the outdoors. I leave socks like that lying around in our bedroom, driving my wife crazy. There were two more at the other end of the sill. Fast, lazy actions, preserved for all time to be found and puzzled over by the next beings to inhabit the earth. Was that me already?
Previously I had touched a weird, sandy looking plinth (Christoph Voglbauer, Dick ah Duck) standing alone in the grass at the edge of the courtyard. It stuck to my fingers like weirdly enthusiastic sugar. It felt toxic. I couldn’t wipe it properly off on the grass. I crumbled it into my pockets instead. The caretaker told me it had been a duck with a dick for a head that was made out of sugar and had melted in the sun, scwhül and rain. I felt slightly contaminated, the joke on me - and in my pockets. As the duck with the dick for a head wasn’t there I was forced to imagine it. Which was somehow worse than seeing it.
I found more glassy socks (Zangerle), or gloves?, left abandoned in a classic plastic laundry basket. Except it wasn’t really. It appeared to have been handmade to resemble a laundry basket and it did it well, but seemed lumpy and slightly cancerous. I felt saddened that we couldn’t imagine better places for our socks than these fucking plastic baskets. Next to this was a weird clothes rack that was only just hanging together, tubes of metal sticking up and out like a mad hatstand, threatening to fall down. Again, I felt like I was remembering something that had happened long ago. Like I was a person from the middle ages looking at a half broken sculpture from antiquity.
On the floor was a kind of skeletal spine rib cage thing (Mirjam Mercedes Salzer, Eierpaket mit Discocharakter). Marble sliced and bound together with plastic. It felt spastic. Like a strange remnant from some future past. I squatted down and admired its beautiful clean slices, set in a semi circle. The edges of the dissected egg were painted a complex, fungal green. As if the thing had aged for centuries and now been surgically opened. The plastic that appeared to be holding it together reminded me of those plastic things you can buy to hold plastic packages that are half full with food closed in your cupboards. I tapped this object too. It felt solid, yet fragile. Was I looking at my own bones, somehow landed here from tomorrow? It was nice to know that my bones would have such a perfect, symmetrical form. Perhaps I was a kind of giant bug.
It was such a low sculpture. Its modesty humbling, as with them all. I felt a sense of questioning what sculpture is for. What place it has. Where it belongs. It felt like it was acutely aware of its own uselessness and that it was saddened by this, but also OK with it. Art at and for the end of the world.
Inside the efes space were a long pair of steel tubes with curled up Adventure Time legs at their ends, complete with socks and shoes (Georg Holzmann, Bar ohne Eigenschaften (Linz Edition)). But these ends were severed and reattached, the lines interrupted. The enthusiasm of the cartoon somehow severed. Beside these outstretched appendages, an empty fridge. Apparently it had been full of beer on the night. It’s always alright on the night.
Standing on the legs was a melted sandwich of plastic plates, topped with a beautiful bronze three legged miniature table / platform (Wolfgang Müllegger, Arbeiterpferd). It seemed to be the most optimistic element in the show, rising upward, glimmering with concentrated complexity, small in scale.
The last element outside was inside the communal bike shed for the apartment block. A roughly constructed projector beamed twenty two images of bicycles and other parts of vehicles from a trip to Athens onto the perforated steel innards of the bike shed, complete with bikes that were not all still rideable (Voglbauer, Learning about Athens). A memory of decaying machines flickering against the sunlight over real machines in decay.
The bicycle: the vehicle of the future. But not if you have a perfectly circular ribcage and travel very low to the ground. Then these machines become impossible architectures, baffling remains of a civilisation gone bad.
It’s tough to make a good group show. But this one did it, with glimmering memories of times gone mad bad sad rad. It was a great show. I loved it.