Gelatin: Galerie Meyer Kainer.
As for the exhibition's title, "Kasekrainer" is a kind of specialty sausage and a play on the gallery's name, while "Furniture Showroom" refers to the gallerist's previous career as a dealer in Jugendstil design. An underlying pun concerns the double meaning of the German word Installationen, denoting not only "installations" but also sanitary fixtures--"facilities," one might say. The mixing of these associations follows a general method that applies to the objects as well: Things and expectations are recombined and redefined. The water in the bathroom sink, for instance, pours out through the form of a naked butt mooning the user. Here a trip to the toilet becomes an experience; use-value becomes experience-value.
In the context of recent performative installation work--like that of John Bock, Christoph Buchel, and others--Gelatin take the most extreme position, for their performative worlds lead the visitor into extreme situations: The Hugbox, 1999, invites one to get squashed between two mattresses; Weltwunder (Wonder of the World), 2000, at Hanover's Expo 2000 promised an "undreamt-of experience" if the visitor jumped into a seventeen-foot-deep hole filled with water and dove to the bottom. In the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt, Gelatin lured the visitor across a narrow ceiling-high bridge to face a daredevil climbing experience: in the Milan gallery Massimo de Carlo they installed a terrifically fast roller coaster for visitors' use; and in Vienna they opened a semipublic bathhouse.
An event is an outward manifestation, but an experience can only take place within the subject. Experiences are psychophysical constructions--and the basis of Gelatin's exhibitions. One visitor at the opening enjoyed the hot bath, and many others took up the offer of the sauna. This was a humorous and playful exhibition that appealed to the senses, a reality acted out by mock-ups. Of course one could see the objects as fascinating sculptures, but the point was really to enjoy their experience-value by using the facilities. In any case, one thing is certain: Matters of experience are indubitable, and herein lies the great success of these performative installations.
--Sabine B. Vogel
Translated from German by Sara Ogger.
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|Author:||Vogel, Sabine B.|
|Date:||Nov 1, 2004|
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