The original idea for VOL. XXIV was to create an immediate continuation or maybe rather counterpart to VOL. XXIII currently on view at the graphic cabinet of the Viennese Secession, where Haris Epaminonda composed newly crafted as well as found materials and elements around one centrepiece, a plaster replica of the original Greek bust of Apollo. Straightforward thinking lead to a concept based on the Dionysian opposite to a precisely structured layering of meanings and focal points relating to the ensemble created at Secession. Working in this direction quickly brought certain doubts and eventually opened up a more systematic thought process.
When Der Untergang, with a marvellous performance of Bruno Ganz, came out, people were frantic about the all too human depiction of the dictator. Now with the Darkest Hour, being all over the Oscars, this perception changed, since through the influx of costume TV shows we are already pretty much used to the illustration of historical figures, both heroes and villains, in more personal shades. The fact that a persona at the highest place of the parthenon of national history is a self-centric alcoholic comes with no real surprise anymore. Even though the main premisses remain stable and unchallenged: good, bad and ugly, clear distinctions and little space for doubt.
It is with more uncertainty that we watch nowadays a movie about a figure, who openly functions as a war time instrument, calling to arms, playing with nationalistic tones, proclaiming...”us, strong members of the former empire, can’t be conquered”. But the fabulous acting and trendy editing somehow overshadow all these sentiments and their relation to the troubled state of our time.
Anyway, is Apollo really the good guy, standing in opposition to the chaos, craziness and whatever kind of orgies his brother Dionysus may be up to (at least according to the simplifying lense popular culture teaches us to perceive him)? Not a good question. Let us rephrase, do we need dichotomies like this? WWII as an epic battle of good and evil, Cold War bipolarity, Vader and Luke, Trump and Bernie? VOL. XXIII and VOL. XXIV? Not that simple, is it? Fortunately now we are able to also go for T`Challa and Erik Killmonger.
What Epaminonda achieves with this show is not an opposition to the one at Secession: VOL. XXIV rather works as an emphases on the gradient of interpretations, it is more about the transformation of scales, both metaphorically and literally speaking. Not only that the small becomes life size, that details are being translated into expanding planes of imitation - what happens is actually an invitation to perceive all those elements in a unified field. Imagine several floorpans merging, rays of formerly focused light refracting and revealing an open ended process. Similarly to the numbering Epaminonda applies to each show, it is never over, the next number will always follow and a new position unravel.
Very simply laid out, in Secession you enter an environment, one of isolation and solitude, while here you have the chance to step into an image stretched out into space, proposing a formulation of new bonds. An image composed with a language Epaminonda usually utilises in a very minimal manner, this time allowing it to take over every little detail of the given architectural framework.
Photos by kunst-dokumentation.com
Courtesy of Significant Other, Vienna