waiting, repeating, abstracting
Manuela Ammer, 2008
Where does time become spatial and when does space become temporal? Where do emotion and memory dwell? And how is meaning constituted? To create space for these questions kozek hörlonski generate specific conditions in performances and installations. In “Hanging Gardens” (2005/06), for example, they staged WAITING. They set-up a construction which was a gallows as well as a swing, and spent several hours on it while knotting a red rope with knitting spools. The meditative swinging motions – like a clock pendulum – and the steadily growing rope marked the passing of time. At the same time it was an expression of the silent protest and quiet grief over the public hanging of two young Iranian homosexuals whose fate was presented through photos within the installation. The (in-) activity of waiting became a spatial metaphor in “The Hanging Gardens”. The present was not represented but produced. To wait with kozek hörlonski meant to become part of an incident which defied conventional narrative structures. Their performance presented a disturbance inside the flow of supply and demand, a void within economic and social trade. A technique which is frequently used by kozek hörlonski, and related to the act of waiting, is REPEATING. Just like waiting repetition not only has ritual but also reflexive potential. Repetition generates rhythm and creates patterns; it strips gestures off their originality and breaks the causal relation between agents and actions. In “level zer0” (2004) social processes within a museum building became part of playful repetition. The continuously changing number combinations of the elevators’ digital display were the base of the plot which translated the vertical architecture and the movements of the users in an abstract image. kozek hörlonski arranged objects on a horizontal surface – whose markings reminded one of a playing field or gymnasium – according to the elevators’ display. The audience of this process, which lasted several hours, gained an impression of an order whose logic was inaccessible from the outside. Repetition was used here to increase meaning. It turned the event into something actively wanted as opposed to something coincidentally happening. If the meaning of an event cannot be deciphered, the question of the constitution of meaning itself and the relation of signifier to signified must be asked. This leads us to a third ‘rhetoric figure’ which is used by kozek hörlonski: ABSTRACTING. Many of their works may be seen as an attempt to extract fundamental principles out of actual objects or processes. The ritualized plots, the markings of ‘playing fields’, the use of ‘avatar objects’ – all this gives their performances and installations the character of models or scientific experiments whose guidelines are related to those of reality, but not identical. Apart from “level zer0”, “fo-box” (2003) demonstrates this best; its basic idea is modelled after the strategic board game “Fox and Geese”. The rink – as in all works by kozek hörlonski – reflected the surrounding architecture and actors embodied the roles of “fox”, “hunter” and “referee”. The hunt was executed with a photo and video camera and a sketch pad. Covering the image of the fox completely meant its death sentence. More than later works, “fo-box” invites viewers to to solve the riddle and may be read as a commentary on the art system and its fatal effect as producer of images. Yet the space-time-images which kozek hörlonski produce are of lass drastic consequences. Through the amplification of everyday phenomena they open fissures in the known and allow a view of underlying principles. A universal truth is never claimed, though. Rather the opposite: The works of kozek hörlonski always seem personal, sometimes almost intimate. Their power lies less in making unambiguous statements than in creating situations that defy a system of conventions and representations. On a material-visual level the work with wax, the androgynous performers, and the heightened significance of sound and light all account for an instability and variability in the economy of meaning. Our response is that the ordering principles that govern our lives may be just as strange and enigmatic as those that confront us in the works of kozek hörlonski.
Manuela Ammer in the catalogue "kozek hörlonski - I kissed you in the water ...", gugler forum melk, Melk 2008