erwin wurm, blind spot
erwin wurm, blind spot
erwin wurm, blind spot
erwin wurm, blind spot
erwin wurm, blind spot
 

erwin wurm


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blind spot



In June 2003 an extensive poster campaign entitled Blind Spot, involving a total of 800 posters, was launched in Lower Austria. In contrast to most art projects involving posters, in which they are one-offs or only put up in very small numbers, it would be accurate here to talk of art actually latching onto this mass medium. Communication specialists have calculated that the average reception period for an advertising poster today amounts to not even two seconds. In contrast to a perceptual field conceived in this way, the question for the artists is one of whether to correspond and subject themselves to this apparent or actual compulsion for what is catchy. Or, on the contrary, does precisely this honing of the medium offer special scope for art and – in comparison with the museum – a field of quite new referential possibilities? The big advantage of art posters is that they are almost always without a sender. They don’t have to sell a product. Yet above all else it is the communicative strategies of the art poster itself which, even if it adopts the forms usual in graphic design, create a distance between it and the simple orientation towards its environment. Frequently used are also 'minimalist' strategies of information denial, which open up a wide range of interpretative possibilities. The artists attempt to counteract the simple readability of the advertising language by creating aesthetic products which offer multi-layered possibilities of meaning.

The piece by Erwin Wurm that was used came from his series 'Instructions on how to be politically incorrect'. An exception was made here in that the image placed in the poster medium formulated its prescription clearly and distinctly, i.e. it was placed in a medium whose purely appellative character always remains latent and discreet in the background and never reveals itself openly – since the implicit command 'Buy!' is of course never explicitly noted. However in relation to the other and sole aim of the "favourite medium of manipulation",1 which exclusively serves consumerism, the content of this 'instruction' tended to be rather poisonous: "Steal from beggars." The ironic quality was also intensified in Wurm’s subject, as it was in Breuning’s Double, through its inclusion in a commercial context. Not only that: in this case it also meant that the image tended to acquire a broader significance which it would have failed to achieve in the event of a simple art-specific reception within the framework of an exhibition. Consumerism – buying – stealing: in this way – namely, solely through the contextual relation, and without beating about the bush, connections are made which inconsiderately shed light on the cynical aspects of society. The amicably scornful provocation of offering the art viewer instructions for 'politically incorrec'’ behaviour was unexpectedly transformed into a cynical imperative by being transposed to the public space and made to confront the general public; its proximity to neighbouring posters, which always scream nothing else but "Buy me!" evidently endows the subject with an additional explosiveness: "Steal right now!" And the fact that the design of the image, in which an attractive young woman fashionably dressed in a black costume, helps herself to something from the beggar’s hat superficially appears to also satisfy the conventions of advertising, increasing its underlying virulence still further.


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