Florian Germann — Der Werwolf von Wien

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Florian Germann — Der Werwolf von Wien

Opening 20th March 2009, 6-8 pm

BolteLang presents Der Werwolf von Wien, a solo exhibition by Florian Germann (b. 1978, Thurgau), who graduated from the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste in 2008 and is a trained stone sculptor. Germann has exhibited for several years and was awarded the National Suisse Art Prize 2009.

The eponymous werewolf is a mythical creature concocted by Germann, which is not manifested visually but throws a narrative shadow over the exhibition. It, and the web of ideas surrounding it, are a synthesis of diverse legendary beings and principles that engage Germann – from the Rumanian undead, to a TV detective or the origins of aspirin. The artist’s drawings presented in BolteLang’s smaller space reveal many of these influences: in this version of reality, ancient folkloric superstition meets contemporary fiction on an equal footing; pseudo-scientific theories about modern materials make leaps of the imagination reminiscent of darker ages. Although many are diagrammatic, they do not explain the sculptures shown. Instead they volunteer yet more conceptual tangents, exposing the complexity of his frame of reference.

Germann continually explores new ideas, yet remains loyal to earlier impulses; new works germinate from old, demonstrated by the work Messingtisch (Brass Table), 2008. Today the piece is propped against the wall, abandoning its former function as a device to poke the funny bone. Teasing aggression has been exchanged for powers gained from the inherent properties or histories of materials, in whatever form they are found. Brass reoccurs in a work made of organ pipes salvaged from a church de- molished for firewood; now they are tall, thin lanterns that warm their surroundings. Silver, the metal that repels vampires and werewolves, is found in coins flattened un- der the wheels of a train when the artist returns to a childhood game of transmutation.

The works that make up Der Werwolf von Wien cast a spell of capricious and captivating narratives. These stories may be absurd, but they offer an alternative to the many quotidian absurdities of the world we do not question.

Aoife Rosenmeyer

The exhibition runs from 21st March – 16th May 2009

Exhibition documentation