Kompositum I / Hobagoass
Silvia Eiblmayr, 2009
"Kompositum I / Hobagoass" is the restoration of a travesty into a performative space, which has been subjected to a stringent and formally sensitive setting by the artists. The “Hobagoass“ is a paradoxical figure: It controls order and cleanliness and threatens the sloppy and dirty with brute punishment; according to tradition, however, it spatters blood, urine or milk itself, and smudges the audience. The Hobagoass, as interpreted and performed by the art group kozek hörlonski, becomes an art figure, in which different levels and contexts intensify: art specific just like traditional or folkloristic, historical or narrative-literary ones. And naturally also psychic elements. In this context, just as if traversing the stated categories, the question about its gender arises. The Hobagoass, according to kozek hörlonski, becomes “a metaphor for performative work, which is so often located between opposites and boundaries“. Kompositum I / Hobagoass is an artwork in space, in which aesthetic performance, dramaturgy and choreography exactly mesh. The rhombical plates at the wall and floor, the red ribbons dividing the room and structuring it anew, together with the audience in movement, the materials, the few drops of blood and a little bit of urine, furthermore the Hobagoass as artistic object and performative figure and finally the acting persons themselves create a “stereogram” of the performance, corresponding to the artistic concept. The references all deal with national customs and processions, as they are part of the tradition in alpine areas. In these processions, the mummers try to outdo each other in size. The rhombuses refer to the mirror upper fixtures of the “Perchten” (masks). The tradition of the “Bandltanz” (ribbon-dance) also plays a role. The motif of the mirror is taken up again in the black-white congruence of the costumes, which are worn by the actors in the beginning, reminding of the Commedia dell’arte. T he minimal traces of blood as imprint on the wall and of urine on the floor, left by the Hobagoaß, are also a pointedly- muted reference to recent art historical approaches, to Viennese Actionism and to Body Art. This artwork, however, deliberately creates a distance to their pathos of border crossings, not least through the imperative from pigments written and then blurred onto the floor: do not be lazy. do not cry. Control and discipline: this claim was observed by kozek hörlonski in Japan, where it is directly aimed at children. But as they state, it also applies especially to the artist. I n its ambivalence, the figure of the Hobagoass is predestined to be included into an artistic context. Similar creatures with similar functions exist in other European and outer-European countries, too; be it Estonia or Japan. However, kozek hörlonski note that the figure has degenerated in national tradition today “to a hoaxing side-figure”. I t is not only a hermaphrodite between human being and animal, but also between man and woman; “Hoba” is an ancient word for buck, “Goass” is well-known in Austria for goat. Thomas Hörl: “I am interested in a homo-erotic, queer view onto the entirely hetero-sexual rituals of diverse customs“. Not unironically, kozek hörlonski remark that the rituals of processions and disguises during the “twelve days” are also “Heischebräuche“, i.e. during their wanderings from door-to-door, the figures are also allowed to beg. In view of the awarded prize, the artists find this very fitting. Kompositum I / Hobagoass is a poetic piece, a stereogram or just a picture in time and space triggering in its syncretistic approach a series of interesting motifs and cross-references, providing with a lot of subtlety and wit aesthetic pleasure and exciting insights.
Silvia Eiblmayr, extract from a talk on the performance on 03.09.2009
in H13 2009, kozek hörlonski, Kompositum I / Hobagoass, Kunstraum Niederösterreich, Wien 2009