250711: BAWAG Contemporary Franz Graf – “Derr Schrecken vermeerte mein Interesse”

BAWAG Contemporary Franz Graf – “Derr Schrecken vermeerte mein Interesse” 07.07.11 – 28.08.11 Back room in protective foil The title is as irritating as it is characteristic for Franz Graf’s current exhibition at the Bawag Contemporary. The artist curated, hanged, and staged his darkest show ever. Alone the flower-shaped ball with leftovers of red tape breaks through the black formalism. Franz Graf presents a new facet with his partly large-format works, created especially for this exhibition. The ornamental and abstract is pushed aside, individual aspects only remain as reminiscences, a peculiar striking affinity to fetish emerged. Franz Graf discloses a very personal realm of experience involving heavy, and partly abysmal, topics. Women’s bodies are enchained, scarred by tattoos and cross-shaped signs, their faces covered with black ink. Sexuality, lust, suffering, pain, defenceless nudity, which goes beyond the corporal dimension and takes control of the psyche and soul, are manifested as immediately experienced moments and eternally interlocked. The depictions are elevated from a subjective to a universally valid dimension through an extensively painted disguise and imposed formalisation and thereby present a significant aspect of human existence. But this only apprehends part of the “new” Franz Graf complex. The installation showing a combination of grave crosses, lying on a palette, and the remaining black garbage bags attempt to make it clear that the topic goes beyond bondage or sadomasochistic practices or the determination of human existence and that it has more of an essential nature. If one detaches oneself from the individual works and concentrates on the main installation with its special immersive totality, the superficial presence of sexuality seems to collapse and a strong transitory moment dominates. Religiousness, which plays an important role in the Waldviertel, Franz Graf’s current retreat, becomes omnipresent – not as the Catholic denomination but as an abstract, metaphysical context. The cross-shaped signs and black surfaces, penetrating the portraits and women’s bodies, have a clear relationship to the grave crosses, which seem to have been placed on the palettes temporarily. They not only become essential in their function as a temporary base but also as a means of transport. The black plastic foil, hanging from the paintings, has a skin-like appearance, which supports the lasciviousness and at the same time offers protection or will offer protection from a glance, a grip, or packaging for transfer. The associative spiritual context is underlined by positioning the installation as the main theme under a glass roof on the middle room’s lower level. Writings on the paintings - such as PURGA (Latin: cleanse) or LINERZIA DEL CUORE (Latin: phlegm of the heart) - provide a feature that points to the ideal sphere, superior to all worldly. The exhibition may be interpreted as a very personal comment by Franz Graf: as the staging of human existence as a temporary condition, merciless in expression and content, but simultaneously defined as a transitory moment in an expanded, transcendent connection. By Margareta Sandhofer Bawag Contemporary 1010 Vienna, Franz Josefs Kai 3 http://www.bawagcontemporary.at Opening hours: daily from 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.

BAWAG P.S.K. Contemporary
1010 Wien, Franz Josefs Kai 3
Öffnungszeiten: täglich 14-20h

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