kozek hörlonski

Performative Sculptures

Rainer Fuchs, 2008

In their work kozek hörlonski join categories, media and ideas which are connoted opposingly, blending and relating them. Their work which is at the same time pictographically installative and temporally performative converges movement and stagnation, time and space, light and darkness. Repetition is the central motive which joins apparent opposites. The artists stage self-circuiting movements through the circular recurrence of plot structures, by insisting on a temporal course and its visualisation they locate a state of timelessness in which both performer and audience are held – “Productions which last several hours merge people, plots and objects into one spatial image. The works are (...) sculptures set in mobile systems. Space defines itself not only through matter but also through temporal courses.” (kozek hörlonski) Performance as ephemeral sculpture, space as temporal phenomenon and production as receptive event, describe a scenario of mutual penetration of differences as well as a consciously frustration of a polarising

The work “snooze” is exemplary for their circular choreography of repeating and intermeshed plots. A performance which was set at the same time as a spatial installation. Cyclically meshed scenes were performed in an interior set in white which could be viewed like a stage from the street. While one protagonist took a bed side rug from a hall stand, folded it lovingly on the floor and moistened it with liquid, the other drank – sitting in a corner, on a chair, in front of a wash basin – water which was drawn as urine from the
other and filled in a cup. The one who had been urinating then carried the folded bed side rug in front of the door and returned to drinking. This action was repeated until all rugs had been carried outside. The participants were caught in a real-time loop. Drinking, urinating and filling penetrated, respectively enclosed, their bodies like a repetitive loop and linked them to the space. Emptying their bodies from the liquid and the space from the wetted rugs seemed like a intertwined commented ritual.

Looped drowsing noises could be heard during the performance which were suggestive of a state between sleeping and waking – a further measure which can be seen as relating to a conscious deconstruction of polar dual perception universes. Further the whole seemed – when seen from outside and through the glass screen – like a phantasmagoric traumatic plotted tableau vivant which linked the clinically aseptic with the organic corporal.

In “time” the motive of repetition is applied as a kind of rotating principle on the role allocation. The three protagonists – a singer, an actor which was identified as one-man orchestra and an usher – performed at specially set stations of a space which had been transformed into a stage. In the round dance of identity swapping each one played the role of the other as well. While ordinary actors take on a role, becoming the pictured in a way that even the audience believe in the illusion – here this feigning and deceiving aspect had been made transparent, the situation was held in visible abeyance. Identity could be experienced as a dual reference, the same is always the other, respectively experiencing the other is presupposing selfdetermination. The passing of time as a circular course became literally understandable. It is possible to compare this unfolding mechanism to such fundamental courses as daytimes and the seasons of the year which allow time to be experienced as a rotating spiral – through light and darkness, cold and heat, continuity and progression. But, it was crucial that the definition of time was set counter-clockwise by the rotating roles and thus mere progressive imagination of duration and progression were consciously opposed. Being regular and predictable rotation and repetition described motives of security and assurance, set in principally erratic, unpredictable and threatening time. “The time machine tries to create a state of assurance granted by the security of repetition. This allows the audience and actors the possibility to realise and experience timelessness.” (kozek hörlonski) Here “timelessness” is developed out of the explicit discussion and exposure of time and duration. In the dialectic vocabulary of kozek hörlonski “timelessness” is not a ahistoric hypertemporal category but on the contrary turns into the history’s resonant space.

This is distinctly realised in the performance “Hanging Gardens”. The artists constructed a swing which looks like gallows. By sitting on it and knitting a woollen rogue they created not only a physical allegory of elapsing time but, emphasised through the gallows and attached portrait photos of two executed homosexual Iranian youths, also of a social tragedy. The monotonous repeated swinging motion conveyed the dynamics and uniformity of a clock rate, thus staging “timelessness” as a specific chronic situation, asking the audience for an interpretation. The allegoric repeating action of swinging and knitting keeps memories as critical authority awake, apart from dreamy volatile fantasies. Through the direction of light the performance was set in a further rhythm. The scene itself was not illuminated, but the change from light to darkness was translocated into the installation itself. When the lights underneath the swing were turned on, a strobe light which illuminated the ceiling fresco and extinguished the space light, the whole scene was immersed in a ghostly flaring atmosphere and the momentous imaginary of the process was accentuated. “lichtsensation” is also marked by the flightiness of light as visualisation of time and space, as well as the dialectics of monotony and dynamics. The in camera action was video taped and kozek hörlonski used the transition between day and night, natural and artificial lightning and related extinguishing daylight to the dousing of the language: They used the glass panels on a balcony door of an empty apartment through which the light and noise of the streets entered the inside space. While the artificial light of the nightly streets slowly replaced the daylight they wrote with a black pen thoughts on the Heavenly Jerusalem on the panel and kept on re-crossing them. Thus the glass panel slowly seemed covered by a black film. The artists confronted themselves, in a gradually dimming space, with a time experience emptied from everyday gossip and distraction, allowing and bearing “timelessness” which at the same time may be described as an intensive experience of time.

To think something as vanishing, to remember it in it’s absence and passing and thus focussing on it seems to be the subtext of “lichtsensation”. But, it also cites an idea of light caused epiphanies which only exist in our imagination, without a real counterpart. This effect might be experienced when tired and exhausted, in conditions which remind us of darkness and night, when the artificial light replaces the natural.

kozek hörlonski also used light as space and time depicting media, as indication of visibility, to visualise itself and to consciously experience it, in their spatial installation “m to an end”. They used various pedestals of the prop depot of a gallery, rolled them over and installed, in the now visual hollow spaces, coloured lights. Thus turning the sculpture carriers into light-sculptures which have an inherent mobile and unstable moment, transforming the space into an iridescent container, between light and dark. Not only the space was lit up and dipped into colourful light but also the former use of the pedestals. By repeatedly eliminating the function of the pedestals and their mobility the memory of their history as exhibition movables could be shown. Again the exhibition space became a stage on which a play was staged which cast the audience into shading actors. The initially quoted “Raumbild” (transl.: “Spatial Image”) which merges object and spectator, as well as the idea that temporal processes determinate the perception and form of a space, and finally that their work is to be understood as a mobile, performative sculpture – all this seems to be symbolically condensed and lucidly and suspendedly interwoven in the mobile illuminated pedestal installation.

Rainer Fuchs in the catalogue "kozek hörlonski - I kissed you in the water...", gugler forum melk, 2008