Gerwald Rockenschaub

Gerwald Rockenschaub

Kunsthalle Bern

2006, foam object coated black, 60 x 150 x 200 cm
Acrylic glass and foam object

May 2, 2008

Gerwald Rockenschaub: Swing
Curated by Philippe Pirotte
May 10th – July 27th 2008

Helvetiaplatz 1, 3007 Bern

Kunsthalle Bern is pleased to present Swing, a solo-show by Gerwald Rockenschaub (°1952, Vienna), renowned pioneer of the crossover of minimalism and pop, design and club culture.

Surveying Gerwald Rockenschaub’s artistic career from its beginnings until today, one can clearly discern a tendency, stemming from painting, to refer to images and spaces. Rockenschaub’s oeuvre covers works that have gradually moved away from the oil paintings he produced in the early Eighties. With their emblematic aesthetic language and their clear colourfulness, these paintings sharply contrasted the neo-expressionist paintings prevailing at the time, and they steadily progressed towards spatial installations and paintings that make use of adhesive foil. The early works all represent half-abstract, peculiarly humorous shapes and objects that are reminiscent of pictograms, though neither legible nor interpretable; an alphabet devoid of semantic meaning and with a strongly associative content. For the artist, painting is “a form of representation and a kind of game, a possibility to convey artistic meaning in a stereotypical, model-like form”, the effect of which is significantly enhanced through the connection with the space that surrounds it. The connection between the artefact and its surroundings becomes ever more important and evolves into a complex reciprocal system.

Since the early Nineties, Rockenschaub has been exhibiting large-scale installations, which occupy entire rooms. The installations are designed on a computer and produced by machines. He uses a variety of industrial materials and fabrics to realise these projects, such as Plexiglas, particleboards, PVC-curtains, movable partition walls, monochromic carpets, inflatable objects shaped like couches, pillows and walls, shrink wrap, and prefabricated metal scaffolds, similar to those used in construction work. Rockenschaub’s procedure of “microsampling”, which involves picking out motifs and structures from trend magazines and commercials, alludes to the way the media shapes and informs our environment. In this sense, the art of Gerwald Rockenschaub accepts our present-day reality, where the virtual collides with the real and where a person could live exclusively in a mediatized environment. At a time, when a big part of our image production is aimed specifically at replacing reality, Rockenschaub engages in a transferral and negotiation of meaning, where this imagery turns physical again.

For his exhibition in Bern, Gerwald Rockenschaub designed three new, large room installations, which were developed using a meticulously calculated virtual Kunsthalle. These installations will enter into a suspenseful dialogue with five new animated movies as well as several existing works.

The Kunsthalle Bern is currently preparing a publication, with an essay by Philippe Pirotte focusing on Gerwald Rockenschaub’s most recent work. Walther König Verlag Köln will publish the book.

The exhibition benefits the support of the Austrian Cultural Forum, Bern; the City of Bern, and the donators of the Club 15

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May 2, 2008

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