Austrian Contribution to the Sao Paulo Biennial 2002
<Yes, Sir, I can network it
<Smells like team-spirit, Sir!>
<We are the World, we are the Children, Sir!>
Zdenka Badovinac choose Georg Paul Thomann as official Austrian artist for the
Sao Paulo Biennial 2002.
In agreement with curator Zdenka Badovinac Thomann invited four your Austrian artists/artist groups to participate in the project: <Yes, Sir, I can network it out, Sir!> <Smells like team-spirit, Sir!> <We are the World, we are the Children, Sir!>
The center of the installation is Thomann’s "Selfportrait As Austria’s Highest Mountain (I’m Winning My Religion)": four paintings of side-views of the Großglockner-mountain. Four panoramic maps visualize their topography. This rectangle forms a "sacristy” with a tabernacle containing the artist’s soul. "Mount Thomann” is connected with four "villages” by means of a road network. Each village is a representation of one of the four young Austrian artists/artist groups Thomann has curated. The villages are each a center of tourism: "Sankt (Sao) monochrom", "Sankt (Sao) Tonki Gebauer", "Sankt (Sao) 320x200" and "Sankt (Sao) Richard Wientzek". The four villages are meant to provide common cultural services and give the impression of being "modern” and "urban”. They burst with cultural anabolisms such as: video installations, paintings, music and politics. The solo exhibitions therefore stand for themselves as well as in the shadow of the enormous Großglockner-Thomann. And I love it, Sir!
Manifesto By The Participating Artists:
>> monochrom, Tonki Gebauer, 320x200, Richard Wientzek
Let the history of art parade before you: Mountains have always, readily and numerously been painted. Frequently as the bourgeois 'subject' accumulated and piled up before the viewer's eyes. The 'sublime', according to Kant at work. Bristling and boasting at sundown. It won't need us. It's simply there and may outlast the next aeon. Mountain that is denoting without noting, speaking without talking, screaming without a yap.
In 1994 Thomann had already stated that his oeuvre should be read as his own personal "Butter Mountain". The economy of inherent redundancy. The space Thomann's oeuvre acquires is the off-space. The dump.
You know, my dear, all that talking about the knitting-of-net is just a matter of twisting ever-so-playful plaits into this hairy world of what is called 'what-is'.
Nothing more than: today's management strategies and of course the management strategy of our 'todays'. 'Network' is the marching song of the political status quo being yelled around the barrack-square.
Settledness that spreads like surplus body fat. Not necessarily 'networking'.
Networking radically tends to negate transcendence, plan view, structure, centre, law.
Networking creates a postmodernist 'Hey ho, anything must goes!' and there is no way to get enough of that.
The installation, created by monochrom, Tonki Gebauer, Richard Wientzek and 320x200 on behalf of Georg Paul Thomann defines itself as a kind of critical walla-wallowing in the 'network' term of capitalism (as described above), his artsy myrmidons, its crisis management as a special sort of event management, its term of innovation, its fantasy of rape and omnipresence which define permanent connection and re-connection as a must for social and economic coherence, darling. Certainly not without having a short but melancholic glimpse of its kind of wintersports campy beauty.
Oh you mountains and villages, mountains and villages, villages and mountains, mountains and villages...!
They are visited on a regular basis by those dedicated to wintersports. For some 1000 meters of above sea-level flaunting they will go 100 or even 1000 times the distance to get there.
At the mountain one is multiplexed. Slopes and ski lifts roll mellow and inebriating like a trajectory of excitation.
The power of fate looks far below across the land. Or onto the mountain's like.
The relevant problem hereby is: the pseudo-postmodernist blahblah of 'net/networking' covers and overwrites those principles of 'networking' that are valuable and new (and until further notice will remain valuable and new) with old and vulgar petrified meanings. Thomann is presenting himself as mountain. Around this central presence, characterised by both large looming and by an auto-religious delirium, the tendencies of contemporary art which are represented by the four endorsed tasty bits of 'young Austrian art' gather like leaves around the tree. They focus on him. They turn on him. They bang into him. They feed on him, the landmark, the impressive panorama, the super-significant of the surroundings. They live with him.
Thomann-Grossglockner allows for various activities: resting stations on his majestic body of stone invite the visitor to sit down for a rustic meal. Light hiking is possible as well as extreme freestyle climbing. He is the grey lung of the area. Thomann doesn't know any borders within the range of the well-known borders. He casts a shadow over everything within reach, as far as the land grows.
He also feeds the villages that surround him, separates them from each other as well as bonding them firmly together with his majestic appearance. He reflects the signals from the villages as echoing stereotypes. Thomann-Grossglocknet oscillates one's cake and eats it, too. The cakes are ambiguity and indifference, if you would try to understand the jargon!
If the mountain won't come to the prophet and the prophet won't come to the mountain because the two are the same, this will make an excellent and overwhelming tryst.
'Geological warping' is not only the certified formation process of what we call a 'mountain', but also a phrase that has been a part of art's happy jargon party since 1993. Let's join the party!
Across the steeples
right to the press agencies of this crazy little thing called Austria
10 programmatic press cookies on my-our-your installation
Manifesto by Georg Paul Thomann. December 15th 2001
I, Georg Paul Thomann, Austrian artist from the very beginning and no big talker, claim to have said the following in the dawning of my installation "Yes, Sir, I Can Network It Out, Sir!" "Smells Like Team-Spirit, Sir!" "We Are The World, We Are The Children, Sir!":
1. "For a long time I had been trembling with the somewhat dirty, yet for that very reason horny lust for a hearty kind of barrack-yard romanticism. Drill like in a Fassbinder movie on drill and morals. Me, I'm the mountain right here, that's for sure! The divine rubble dump. That mass sadly sunk into its own majesty. The trans-substantive: petrified incarnation of the flesh. As fucking transcendent, as the erect penis of that German philosopher fucking G.W.F. Hegel." (Georg P. Thomann: Paragraph 1 of the manifesto Quotable Stuff, Vienna 2001.)
2. "Merely by age I'm the 'massif' in this installation project. Actually I could be and yes I should be their father. That's why I see myself as the rational authority within this project, but also as the 'lone peak' overlooking everything in a mellow mood. In turn, they are young. Fresh'n'rosy as they stand before my soiled highness with their ideas, concepts and bodies. All that still immense lifespan. That total blankness and the frankness of biographics! William Somerset Maugham wrote on that. All that mystical and limitless sexuality! Here I am brown with envy like some autumn forest, here I may be. But for that I'm big. Fucking big. 12,460,629 feet tall." (Georg P. Thomann: Paragraph 2 of the manifesto Quotable Stuff, Vienna 2001.)
3. "I'm not doing the rhizom'n'blues-nigger for that neo-conservative Austrian fuck! They won't get no connectivity! They can stick their laptop right into their Lederhosen! All they get is mountains, puffed-upedness and old dog-shit. You are what you eat!" (Georg P. Thomann: Paragraph 3 of the manifesto Quotable Stuff, Vienna 2001.)
4. "By profession I am a nomad!" (Georg P. Thomann: Paragraph 4 of the manifesto Quotable Stuff, Vienna 2001.)
5. "The way Warhol is and always will be that Tincan-Warhol, I am and always will be Thomann the dick." (Georg P. Thomann: Paragraph 5 of the manifesto Quotable Stuff, Vienna 2001)
6. "Mountain actually means vacation or television. It's at home where you sort of choose which mountain you like." (Georg P. Thomann: Paragraph 6 of the manifesto Quotable Stuff, Vienna 2001)
7. "Art should be allowed to be more like Reinhold Messner again, shouldn't it?" (Georg P. Thomann: Paragraph 7 of the manifesto Quotable Stuff, Vienna 2001)
8. "The original concept hit me when I was watching a German Volksmusik show. I always find that pretty interesting. Mountains of longing and tranquillity. I realised that coming off the plane at São Paolo airport I would still be pretty Austrian. And I sensed an artist's innermost necessity to bring the Olympic flame of shame about that very fact to Brazil. A monumental, an exemplary, a glamorous flame of shame. A London Symphonic Orchestra plays Jethro Tull kind of flame of shame." (Georg P. Thomann: Paragraph 8 of the manifesto Quotable Stuff, Vienna 2001)
9. "When I was at art college I made my living by painting panoramic maps for skiing and hiking a little-known fact. If, for example, you went skiing in Hintertux (a little Tyrolean village famous for one of the most mediocre Austrian wintersport's glaciers) in 1976, you would have been looking at a real Thomann painting on checking out the ski pistes. Even signed at the bottom on the right, although somewhat illegibly. In this respect it's true what they sometimes say and always write: the works of this Thomann-dude are oh so brilliantly heterogeneous! Of course nowadays I don't have to do things like that. Nowadays I say to Richard: 'Richard, listen, do me an Eiger-Nord (which is the most famous side of the Swiss Eiger mountain). Oil on canvas. Portrait. Middle-indistinct!'" (Georg P. Thomann: Paragraph 9 of the manifesto Quotable Stuff, Vienna 2001)
10. "A healthy mind is always inhabited by a healthy body!" (Georg P. Thomann: Paragraph 10 of the manifesto Quotable Stuff, Vienna 2001)
P.S.: "Please write: one loves me or hates me! Nothing in-between!" (Georg P. Thomann: Postscript to the manifesto Quotable Stuff, Vienna 2001)
Signed: Georg Paul Thomann the Elder
Biographical information about Georg Paul Thomann and the other participating artists:
Georg Paul Thomann
Born 1945 in Boedele/Austria. Thomann started to study arts in Vienna in 1963, carried out his first artistic projects in Vienna. Between 1964-1980 he lived and worked in Berlin, Paris, Munich, Palo Alto/California, New York, London. In 1980 he returned to Vienna. He carried out various projects as conceptual artist, painter, performer, photographer, video artist, musician, etc. He has received various prizes and grants. In 1988 he was awarded the Professor h. c. title by the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. He is lecturer on contemporary art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. He also wrote various books on artistic and sociopolitical topics (recent publication: "Die Konflikt-Masche”, edition selene, Vienna 1999).
monochrom (Cross-cultural artist group)
The self-acclaimed "mediatycooneria” is a publication-art-theory-handicrafts-collective with actionistic tendencies from Vienna. monochrom was founded in 1992/93. monochrom plays the incompatibilities of the psychological and virtual codes off against each other in a funny, ironical and melodramatical way.
Tonki Gebauer (Electronic musician and computer artist)
Born 1972 in Leoben/Austria. Tonki Gebauer is mainly involved in electronic and self-made instruments/objects for sound production. Projects in the field of computer art.
320x200 (Transpolitical situation project)
The artist group 320x200 has conducted social, political and technical interventions since 1995. Current projects deal with the prevailing political situation in Austria and globalization.
Richard Wientzek (Visual artist)
Born 1970 in Breitenguessbach/Bavaria. Current investigation in the field of painted re-soulment. Exhibitions and performances in Austria and Germany.