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Ernst Koslitsch

Ernst Koslitsch (°1977, Wagna, Steiermark, Austria) makes sculptures, paintings, photos and installations. With a subtle minimalistic approach, Koslitsch creates work in which a fascination with the clarity of content and an uncompromising attitude towards conceptual and minimal art can be found. The work is aloof and systematic and a cool and neutral imagery is used.
His sculptures demonstrate how life extends beyond its own subjective limits and often tells a story about the effects of global cultural interaction over the latter half of the twentieth century. It challenges the binaries we continually reconstruct between Self and Other, between our own ‘cannibal’ and ‘civilized’ selves. With a conceptual approach, he tries to approach a wide scale of subjects in a multi-layered way, likes to involve the viewer in a way that is sometimes physical and believes in the idea of function following form in a work.
His works are based on formal associations which open a unique poetic vein. Multilayered images arise in which the fragility and instability of our seemingly certain reality is questioned. By merging several seemingly incompatible worlds into a new universe, he presents everyday objects as well as references to texts, painting and architecture. Pompous writings and Utopian constructivist designs are juxtaposed with trivial objects. Categories are subtly reversed.
His practice provides a useful set of allegorical tools for manoeuvring with a pseudo-minimalist approach in the world of sculpture: these meticulously planned works resound and resonate with images culled from the fantastical realm of imagination. By choosing mainly formal solutions, he tries to develop forms that do not follow logical criteria, but are based only on subjective associations and formal parallels, which incite the viewer to make new personal associations.
His works directly respond to the surrounding environment and uses everyday experiences from the artist as a starting point. Often these are framed instances that would go unnoticed in their original context. By demonstrating the omnipresent lingering of a ‘corporate world’, his works references post-colonial theory as well as the avant-garde or the post-modern and the left-wing democratic movement as a form of resistance against the logic of the capitalist market system.
His works bear strong political references. The possibility or the dream of the annulment of a (historically or socially) fixed identity is a constant focal point. With the use of appropriated materials which are borrowed from a day-to-day context, he uses a visual vocabulary that addresses many different social and political issues. The work incorporates time as well as space – a fictional and experiential universe that only emerges bit by bit.
He creates situations in which everyday objects are altered or detached from their natural function. By applying specific combinations and certain manipulations, different functions and/or contexts are created. Ernst Koslitsch currently lives and works in Vienna.

The castle: Das Schloss ( exhibition with Käthe Hager von Strobele at gallery Raum mit Licht,Vienna)(2012)

The castle stands as a symbol of humankind’s longing for meaning and its fortification. It embodies the claim of dominating living space and the management of its surrounding life. They say that it banishes, represses and destroys all those who seek access to its inner contexts. And it seems as if Käthe Hager von Strobele and Ernst Koslitsch have cast all these warnings to the wind, to challenge the authority of this institution: The Castle.

Käthe Hager von Strobele scales the sober confines of a Styrian estate. Finding and evoking rifts within this surrounding, her installation works penetrate the constitution of this living space and isolate the relics of a totalitarian and likewise melancholy accusation against the disorder of the world. Based on this ensemble of images, interiors and textures, Hager von Strobele brings about new order, by combining photographs and textural structures in mimetic processes of approximation and juxtaposition in the exhibition space.

In his current work »How to transform your home into a castle«; Ernst Koslitsch assesses the perfect idyll of the home as a space of retreat and closure – a space which he himself would “never leave without a good reason.” Yet how can one shut themself off from the outside world? And what then if curiosity takes hold, allowing the public exposure all the more to triumph over the prison of your own living space/dream? In his „provisional installations“, Koslitsch seeks fragmented answers to these categorical questions.

What is life like, how does one really live within these castle walls, where will it eventually lead us? It is within the constraints of the gaze, that the exposed order of space comes to light.

Bilder auf Reisen –
Ernst Koslitschs Fotografie als Modell der Bildwerdung der Welt

Ernst Koslitschs künstlerische Arbeit ist nicht ausschließlich der Fotografie zuordenbar. Zu sehr ist er damit beschäftigt, durch gleichsam gestalterische Abläufe im Vorfeld der Fotografie diese zu erweitern. Er baut dreidimensionale, modellhafte Situationen, verwendet oft gefundene Materialien, die bestimmte inhaltliche Informationen transportieren (Bauholz, Schleifpapier, Plastikgegenstände), aber auch Fotografien, die er als Elemente der Simulation erneut ablichtet. Damit folgt er einer langen Reihe von Künstlerinnen und Künstlern, die sich weniger um die kategoriegerechte Ausübung ihrer Tätigkeit bemühen, sondern mit dem Versuch beschäftigt sind, gedankliche Konzepte ins Visuelle zu übersetzen, jenseits der engen Einteilung Malerei, Skulptur, Zeichnung oder Fotografie. Dabei ist zunächst jedes Mittel und jede Methode recht und man kann auch behaupten,...

In his essay on the artist Ernst Koslitsch, Günther Holler-Schuster ascribes a kind of bridging function to visual art. Ernst Koslitsch sets out to explore the thin line between outer and inner images by transposing familiar elements from the real world into states that appear mysterious and surreal in his photos.

(Autor: Günther Holler Schuster Textauszuszug "Camera Austria 105)

Menschen und Häuser

..jedes Ding ist nur dann es selbst wenn es für ein anderes steht.
(Giorgio Agamben, „Das perverse Bild“)

Wir neigen immer wieder dazu das Kunstwerk analog zu einem Naturgegenstand aufzufassen. Als uns entgegenstehendes, diskretes Objekt das einer klassifizierenden Ordnung unterworfen werden kann. Weiters soll es uns als Grund dienen, der einen authentischen Ausdruck des Künstlers darstellt und dann in Folge für uns Betrachter zu einer dazu korrespondierenden, „echten“ Erfahrung führen kann.
Das Werk jedoch als Zeichen zu lesen und zu verstehen verweist schon auf eine schwierigere, verunsichernde Dimension desselben. Tatsächlich ist das Zeichen etwas zerstückeltes, wohnt diesem doch die Dualität von Bezeichnetem und Bezeichnendem inne. Das Werk als das Symbolische, das diese beiden auseinander stehenden Bereiche verfugt, wird in Folge auch zum Ort der Differenz an dem uns dieses Auseinanderklaffen als ein sinnliches Schauspiel vor Augen geführt wird. Dieses hier statt findende merkwürdige Wechselspiel von An- und Abwesenheit, Erscheinen und Verbergen stand dem griechischen Denken am Anfang jeglicher Weisheit. Erkenntnis war eine Bewegung vom Verborgenen ...

(Autor: Boris Manner Textauszug aus dem Ausstellungskatalog "Notopia")

Text zur Ausstellung : 2008 zur Ausstellung in der Neuen Galerie



Imagined Spaces
Gerhard Strohmeier

Ernst Koslitsch’s models invite a look into to secret worlds, into intimate spaces. The models instigate a reflection on perception and form associations on several levels, on plateaus corresponding to the multi-layeredness of the perception of space. Firstly, the poetics of the models, in the housing, furniture, apartments, and in the public surroundings of dwelling places are brought to light. A second poetic level is that of the photographic image, which is more than a representation of the model yielding its own reality of a modeled and an imagined space.

The models of the living quarters show conditio humana: things that account for the human condition. Not only the objects of dwelling, of living and of play, but also the house and the apartment itself are things. We dwell in such things, we are inhabited by these things, our order is determined by them. People make their own history, “but they do not make it as they please” (Karl Marx). And the models of things point out that things form our lives, to put it more bluntly, things make us humans. The form and function of apartments and houses dictate the context in which we move and operate, in which we live and deal with each other. We function according to the function of these things. The exterior and the interior, the floor plan of the bedroom, living room, kitchen organize our lives into different worlds, into public, partially public and intimate, private spaces. Even in the private and intimate worlds, we appear to lead a standardized life, a life according to a model. The models allow a look from the outside into the interior space through a hole where a wall is missing, through an oversized window. They take the privacy of dwelling and fulfill what Vilém Flusser announced with his ideas about the nomadic human of postmodernism: “The perfect house with a roof, walls, windows, and doors exists only in fairy tales.”1 Or, elsewhere and with greater clarity, Koslitsch illustrates the already completed demolition of domestic privacy, the rear wall of the house is missing: “The perfect house has become a ruin through whose cracks gust the winds of communication.”2

The interiors of dwellings are turned inside out. Not only is the architectonic bearer of form, the outer wall, public and thereby political, even the interior wall becomes visible and allows access to the curious eye of media. The model simultaneously reveals and alienates: It takes what is foreign from the interior spaces and turns it into a projection space of fantasies and perversions.
The invasion of media communication becomes evident in the photographed model: “The home has become drafty, as gales of media sweep through from all directions […]”.3 The model is a poetic space, closely connected to the television. Ernst Koslitsch explores this phenomenon of television infiltrating private life, of soap operas and telenovelas generating their own realities and providing templates for our lives in houses and apartments.

Koslitsch guides our view into the models, into the private life that we both assume and imagine goes on behind the walls. The media construction allows a turn in the direction of perception. The tables are turned: The world is no longer observed safely from the interior of the home through a window, rather the world within is seen from the exterior, a peep show of...
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