In Death in a Solution of Life death encounters us as an antithesis to life in drawings, a series of exhibition posters and a number of sculptures and interventions. My Predicted Lifetime, just to take one example, narrates a countdown in years, months, days, hours, minutes and seconds. It is the alleged life expectation of the artist that is shrinking before the very eyes of the onlooker – existence as a temporal assumption based on statistical data. In Raw Loop, by contrast, one sees a sitting figure with a sack over its head – whose breathing can be both seen and heard. In allusion to the Allegory of the cave one's own world is seen as a closed circle in which one is captured in keeping with the rhythm of life. In Untitled mortality is also exemplified. A clock – one familiar to us from public spaces – shows the right time but its ticking is constantly accelerating and slowing down, making a subjective sense of time tangible to the viewer. Life counts Death by contrast consists of a cube and percussion pedal. When the pedal is activated, Reiterer has a bell sound that marks an arbitrarily assumed point in time in which an individual is born while another person is taking leave. It is also a reference to the minimalism of the 1960s. The work titled The Adolf Hitler Monument can be read as a reference to the minimalism of the 1960s and to the 'pedestal debate'. Here the pedestal reveals the telltale mustache and hairstyle, representing the historical processing in which various generations diverge. The monument is an attempt to break open the increasingly rigid structures of how people come to terms with the past by bringing it down to eye level (assuming the height to be 169 to 172 cm).
While the monument commemorates, admonishes and confronts, Bang the Bomb! encourages direct use of violence. An aircraft bomber hangs suspended in the space like a boxing bag. If one hits it hard enough, there is a loud explosion – one is caught up in a situation between physical violence in the here and now and the unleashing of a dislocated violence of high-tech arms industry in the there and then. Once one has completely exhausted oneself in striking, one can take a seat in the 'HALO-LOUNGE', a blown-up halo that has taken on material form. Whoever settles in here either merely assumes the role of a believer waiting for the last judgment or is simply a bored visitor seeking respite. Those who are among the former will wait a bit longer in the exhibition since in Draft for an Altar God has removed his halo and left a note that he will be back in five minutes. God cannot be reached – even on the cell phone that has been left behind. It rings every five minutes but God does not answer. Thus the urge to rise from the dead and to defy unpleasant phenomena accompanying both life and death can be readily understood, as illustrated in the piece Untitled' from 2008.
Werner Reiterer (born 1964, Graz) lives and works in Vienna. Works by Werner Reiterer have been recently presented at the Upper Belvedere in Vienna, the Speed Art Museum, Louisville, USA and the USF Contemporary Art Museum, Tampa, USA.
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