Who shot Immanence?
On The Dynamics
Of Appropriation And Intervention In The Work Of Georg Paul Thomann
Since the early 1960s, Georg Paul Thomann has devoted himself to the
grey zones where systems intersect: the art (market), politics,
economics, pop, gaiety, vanity, good clean fanaticism, crisis,
language, culture, self-content, identity, utopia, Georg Paul
Thomann, mania and despair. The technique underlying his work
is that of being and working in the fields of painting/the fine
arts, Pop/avant-garde, theory/reflection, interventionism/politics,
gaiety/lust/tragedy, (self-)configuration/mystification, and city/village.
"Urban and rural zones are like a circulator pump in a brown,
stinking little garden pond. They're feeding each other, they're
sucking and spitting happily ever after" (interview with
Thomann, in de:bug, Berlin, 1999). The project he pushes into
and beyond these fields is 'networking' events, people, possibilities,
material, impetus and identities. However, the networking here
does not aim at constructing a transcendental mesh of contacts,
but rather an ever-expanding and self-decentralising field of
immanence, taking into account the phenomenon of rampancy as its
determinate form of motion.
Rampancy here does not only mean prospering and thriving, growing
beyond inherent boundaries, as suggested by a popular misreading
of theoretical text, but sheer growth, growth in and on and through
all levels. This is a movement of redundancy and contingency that
genuinely implies its own counter-tendencies: splitting and implosion,
even self-termination, self-sublimation, and re-cycling, several
segments getting horny, putrefaction, cartilagination, hunchbackedness,
fermentation, and repulsiveness ... Just as Thomann himself announces
in his Maschinist Thomann manifesto: "If you use postmodern
clichés, please at least do it properly!"
His strategic approach to interacting with and facing the 'outside'
turns Thomann's form of networking into a non-dialectic dialectics
of distance and nearness, presence and absence, hostile take-over
and friendly separation, particularisation and formation of fractions
and, of course, the everlasting readiness for alliance. Thomann
calls it "die and let live" (Georg Paul Thomann: Zum
100. Geburtstag Der 80er Jahre. Majuskeln, Vienna, 1992).
In this context, Thomann's oeuvre is a manifestation of his own
personal progression through and in the counter-cultures of the
post-war era. Little of his oeuvre is qualified to be memorised,
kept or historicised, let alone shown in a museum. A good deal
of it has simply been left by the side of the road. The paintings,
the music, public appearances and other forms of statement by
the "enfant terrassé of the Austrian art scene"
(Thomann on Thomann) are intended to be consumed and processed
quickly since, like secret messages in old spy-movies, they start
to dissolve in the socio-physical givens of exposure as soon as
they come into contact with them.
With contributions by: Martin Büsser, Stella Rollig, Roland Schöny,
Stefan Grissemann, Lioba Reddeker, Peter von Trapp, Thomas Meineke,
Zdenka Badovinac, Geert Lovink, Hans Temnitschka, Cosima Rainer,
Michael Nagula, Amina Handke, Andreas Findeisen, Johannes Ullmaier,
Claudia Slanar, Lorenz Seidler, Frank Apunkt Schneider, Gabu Heindl,
Beat Weber, Tonki Gebauer, Didi Bruckmayr, Gerhard Stöger, Thomas
Raab, Christian Kobald.
by Thomas Edlinger, Johannes Grenzfurthner, Fritz Ostermayer
Published by edition selene in
german and english language.
Paperback, 600 pages.