anita leisz, hws-wiese (flood protection meadow)

anita leisz

hws-wiese (flood protection meadow)

A linden tree, a street lamp, two garbage cans, a bench, two concrete blocks (one covered with wooden boards), and tire tracks from a tractor are elements that Anita Leisz uses in her public art project in Lower Austria. These objects are as unspectacular as the title itself: HWS-Wiese (Flood Protection Meadow). However, the objects and title together indicate a certain inherent pragmatism based on practical considerations.

Through her choice of objects and their materiality, Leisz points directly to the situation at the site, referring to the local traffic circle (street lamp), the swimming pool (block covered by wooden boards), and to the passers-by strolling along the Danube, looking for a garbage can, a shady spot, or merely a quiet place to rest. In terms of material and height, the concrete blocks directly allude to the flood protection walls along the Danube. Leisz’s weather-proof garbage cans and wind-protected bench also fit with the practical context, but with decisive differences in the objects’ details, materiality, color, production and arrangement. For example, the bench is not as wide as usual. The gray garbage cans are constructed out of enamel, and the tractor tracks were cast in concrete then covered with soil. One of the garbage cans is placed under the street light, as if illuminated by it. However, if we look closer, or better yet, when we use these objects – for example, if we sit down on the bench or toss something in the garbage can – it becomes apparent that they are different from their surroundings, and their meticulous workmanship and materiality catches our eye. The garbage cans are ultimately revealed to be sculptures with a function, and the situation at the site becomes the starting point for the artist to create a place that invites us to explore what is familiar and what is unfamiliar.
(Barbara Steiner)

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