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Tony Oursler Shows His Immersive Media Installations at Kunsthaus Bregenz
Tony Oursler, "LOCK 2,4,6". Kunsthaus Bregenz, 24.10.2009 - 17.01.2010. Installation view 2nd floor, Kunsthaus Bregenz. Photo: Markus Tretter © Tony Oursler, Kunsthaus Bregenz.
BREGENZ.- Developed over a number of years in conjunction with the KUB, "LOCK 2,4,6" is designed for and inspired by the provocative building and galleries designed by Peter Zumthor.

The concept of the installation is to capture a chain of events, frozen moments interlocking a number of systems: epistemological, social, anatomical and linguistic. Soliloquies, rituals, and performances are captured in video and projected into a three dimensional screen space. This combination of moving image and plastic mediums is played out in looped actions that continue throughout the galleries. The overall effect is immersive, of being caught inside an uncanny system that seeks an impossible balance from the confusion of input and output, from drives and compulsions and substances, in the never-ending struggle, a doomed enterprise, to arrive at homeostasis. Viewers become part of the art and analytical process by moving from element to element the tracing the flow of cause and effect through the various floors.

The artwork begins with a simple challenge posed by the artist: Did you remember to turn the lights off? This comical and nagging thought can be easily dismissed by most, yet may open the viewer to a new perspective, one that links us to the obsessive mind. The urge to go back, recheck, make sure the room is dark, is normal for most, but can be suppressed, while one person in fifty won't be able to leave the room without turning the lights on and off over and over. The gesture of flux between two states, as seen here in the video microcosm of a simple light switch turning on and off, is equated with personal struggle. It is the artist’s premise that close inspection of the dull details of day-to-day existence can lead to the recognition of the overall human dilemma.

A giant imploding light bulb is one of many interconnected elements of a fantastical machine that occupies all the galleries. Three different video choirs composed exclusively of women, drag queens, and children perform compositions by the artist. HD projected video is mixed with printed graphics, shaped screens, and found objects to form chain-reaction collages with animated body parts. Lips, eyes, fingers, and feet are magnified and agitated using domestic objects such as remote controls, cleaning fluids, cigarettes, and lottery cards. Moreover, the KUB is interconnected by a constant flow in both directions: smoke is sent upward from the bottom floor, while a stream of indeterminate liquid pours downward from a bottle on the top floor. Language, music, performance, and objects interact via video to form one large impossible system.

"LOCK 2,4,6" features original texts and performances produced by the artist for this installation. Performers include Brandon Olson and Taboo!, Susana Gaudêncio, Tony Conrad. Also Oursler has produced original sound tracks generated through the use of brain test MRI data in collaboration with Dan Lloyd, Brownell Professor of Philosophy, Trinity College, Connecticut.

Tony Oursler is known for his immersive media installations, which often turn the media gaze to the depths of the psyche. His recent works frequently consist of sculptural video elements and occupy entire rooms, turning the viewer into an actor on a set. He is a pioneer of video art and has been making tapes, installations, and multi media works since the late 1970s. In the summer of 2001 Tony Oursler staged a spectacular video-sound installation for the KUB, “Flucht,” which he projected on the glass façade of the Kunsthaus, and has continued to produce public works in recent years. For his first large-scale solo exhibition in Austria he will be creating new works for the entire building. “LOCK 2,4,6” is the culmination of a quartet of installations with a common theme that have been shown at the Bernier Eliades Gallery in Athens, 2008, the Lisson Gallery in London, 2008, and the Metro Pictures Gallery in New York, 2009. The exhibition at the Kunsthaus Bregenz promises a new, exciting glimpse into the artist’s unsettling work.


Kunsthaus | Tony Oursler | Peter Zumthor | LOCK 2 4 6 |


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