Image credit Daniel Knorr, Explosion, 2012, Courtesy des Künstlers und Galerie nächst St. Stephan / Rosemarie Schwarzwälder, Wien © Daniel Knorr, Foto: Kunsthalle Wien 2012
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| Published ||July 27, 2012 at 10:44am|
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Kunsthalle Wien, Sculpture, Vienna, Austria
Friday March 30, 2012 - Thursday February 28, 2013 - Event ended.
Daniel Knorr’s work is the materialization of an explosion. The sculpture shows a process that spans only fractions of a second: the volume extension caused by the shock wave is suspended and becomes haptically graspable. We are familiar with explosions from the media mainly, through embedded journalism, and the popularity of first-person shooters. The notion of explosives as symbols of powerful, intensive moments has become an everyday metaphor. Explosion is a sculpture specifically developed for its site and will be presented by the KUNSTHALLE wien together with the Romanian Cultural Institute in Vienna.
"What our children have to fear are not the cars on the freeways of tomorrow but our own pleasure in calculating the most elegant parameters of their deaths. " J. G. Ballard, 1969.
In Explosion the Kunsthalle Wien in collaboration with the Romanian Cultural Institute is presenting a new sculpture by Daniel Knorr, long planned by the artist and now produced specifically for the public space at Karlsplatz. The monumental work represents the materialisation of the impact of a bomb. Images of this kind normally come to us through mass media. At the latest, since the live reports from the Vietnam War in the sixties and more recently through “embedded journalism” and the popularity of first-person shooter games (FPS), these images of destruction have become a downplayed part of everyday media reality. From a more constructive point of view, however, the idea of the explosive has also found its way as a metaphor into our common language. For example, we say that something is “socially explosive” in the context of sensitive themes like the visibility of an open drug scene, and which generally speaking cognitive linguistics refers to as the “argument is war” metaphor (George Lakoff / Mark Johnson, Metaphors We Live By, Chicago 1980, S. 105ff).
Daniel Knorr’s work shows the materialisation of an explosion. An image that normally appears for only a fraction of a second, revealing the moment just after the impact of the bomb and just before the surrounding conditions are drastically altered. Materialising it creates a moment of stillness. An unrepeatable moment is frozen, which in scientific terms is called entropy and was claimed for art history by Robert Smithson at the end of the 1960s with his Pours and Asphalt Rundown. In Knorr’s case a process consisting primarily of physical fields of energy calls for material substance. But unlike for example Kerim Seiler’s colourful sculpture Copy / Paste (2001), which was inspired by the aesthetics of comics, or Bruce Conner’s trance-like, contemplative found-footage film Looking for Mushrooms (1967), Knorr is in pursuit of phenomenological questions of distance, gravity and the transcendence of time.
Stainless steel wool seemed appropriate as a visually and physically interesting “material for materialisation.” Its conventional use for cleaning and polishing is passed over in favour of its malleable texture. We encounter a moment of materialisation involving the compression of air and time, when everything still seems to be untouched, shortly before the big physical and moral test of the intonation. With our knowledge of its fatal consequences, it is a condition of suspense which one wants to see frozen forever and which, thanks to its materialisation, actually is frozen.
Even though most of the monuments and sculptures in Vienna relate in some way to war, a battle won or lost, or a military commander, hardly any of them formally makes the „aesthetics“ of war its theme, as Knorr’s Explosion does. The sculpture encourages its viewers, in times of persistent individual and social conflicts, to think introspectively about their own current and future role in them – as observer, consumer, protagonist, perpetrator, critic or victim.
Daniel Knorr was born in Bucharest in 1968 and now lives in Berlin. From 1989 to 1995 he studied at the Academy of Fine Art in Munich and subsequently at the Vermont College of Norwich in the USA. The works he has completed in public spaces include among others The Antwerp six or seven, where scarecroows were to be found on the streets of Antwerp in 2008 wearing sophisticated prêt-à-porter from Belgian star designers, such as Dries Van Noten and Martin Margiela; and the installation Nationalgalerie (“National Gallery,” in the context of the Berlin Biennale 2008), where Knorr cast doubt on the idea of nationality in recent Germany history by shifting its context, having all the flags of the no less than 58 notoriously nationalistic brotherhoods situated in Berlin flutter as a provocative fringe of flags on the roof of Mies van der Rohe’s conceived New National Gallery. His most important solo exhibitions include Led R. Nanirok, Kunsthalle Basel (2009), Scherben bringen Glück (“Shards bring good luck”) in the Fridericianum, Kassel, and The way politics influences art and vice versa at the Fondazione March in Padua (both 2008); the Romanian pavilion at the 51st Venice Biennale (2005); The Project, New York (2002); and La femme de ma vie ne m’aime pas encore (“The woman of my life doesn’t yet love me”) in cooperation with Nevin Aladag in the Fri-Art, Fribourg (1999).
In Vienna in 2012 Knorr is also represented in the exhibitions At Your Service – Kunst Und Arbeitswelt organized by the Technical Museum Wien (23.3.2012-3.3.2013) and in Reflecting Fashion – Kunst und Mode seit der Moderne (15.6.-23.8.2012) at the mumok.
Public artist’s talk: with Daniel Knorr and Cathérine Hug, in collaboration with the Romanian Cultural Institute and the Vienna Art Week. Venue: Institutul Cultural Român, Argentinierstr. 39, 1040 Vienna. The event will take place during Vienna Art Week between November 19 and 25, 2012 and be announced later on http://www.viennaartweek.at.
Daniel Knorr was born in Bucharest in 1968; he lives in Berlin.
Curator: Cathérine Hug