Markus Proschek: True Lies

Cat. Kunstraum Innsbruck

Exhibition catalogue, edited by Karin Pernegger
text (German/English) by Mark Gisbourne, interview by Lucy McKenzie with Markus Proschek
144 p with 70 coloured illustrations

ISBN 978-3-86442-258-4

34,00 €

Babylon’s Haus der Kunst

Markus Proschek (*1981), born in Austria and now living in Berlin, seems to invariably perceive subliminal Nazi aesthetics and totalitarian architectures as artistic challenges. The bronze sculpture of the »Swimmer« (2006), painted in oil, is one such case. It refers in a certain way to the pictorial tradition of Psyche or Narcissus, but oscillates aesthetically as a Breker-esque beauty between Nazi bombast and Bauhaus coolness. Proschek’s highly subtle works aim to trace this ambivalent balance between ideological appropriation and works of art that are open to interpretive manipu­lation. His oil painting »The Fallen Merz« (2007), its ironic-fictitious scenery set at Haus der Kunst in Munich, features in the foreground a sculpture based on Caspar David Friedrich’s ­famous painting »The Sea of Ice«, with elements of Kurt Schwitters’s »Merzbau« piling up in the ­adjoining room. The ­canonic repertory is thus ­parodistically confronted with the possibility of its disavowal when it is ­presented with an element of insub­ordination – such as with the Nazi aesthetics of the exhibition hall. Jacques Derrida ­already emphasized that culture and art do not constitute a stable currency in the sense that meaning derives only from the relationship between things, which at the same time makes obsolete the idea that there actually is something like an original, true meaning. Markus Proschek comments: »I thought, the views on the subject were a little unsatisfactory. Most of the ­contemporary works of art that examin­ed these subjects always seemed to me either very moralistic, superficial or, even worse, boring.«