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DANIEL SPOERRI. A Talk at his atelier and an exhibition-portrait at Bank Austria Kunstforum.

Category: Exhibition, talk 8. April 2021

Bank Austria Kunstforum Curator Veronika Rudorfer put together some 100 works over a two-year preparatory period, in cooperation with the Swiss National Library (to which Spoerri donated his archive) - and with the artist himself, who has lived in Vienna since 2007 and opened an exhibition house and restaurant in Hadersdorf am Kamp in 2009.
Arranged chronologically, the exhibition highlights the diverse interests of the artist, who was born Daniel Isaac Feinstein in Galati, Romania. After his mother fled with him and 6 siblings to Switzerland in 1942, he grew up with his maternal uncle, from whom he took the last name Spoerri.
After his ballet training, he became first solo dancer of the Bern City Theater, and in 1957 went to Darmstadt as assistant director. At this time he came into contact with concrete poetry, he became a language artist, came into contact with the Zero group in Düsseldorf and became a founding member of Nouveau Réalisme in Paris with Robert Filliou. With Filliou and Roland Topor, Spoerri produced Fluxus postcards in the 1960s. With artist friends such as Man Ray, Daniel Gerstner Jean Tinguely, he produced art editions such as the Edition MAT (Multiplication d'art transformable).
In this so diverse work, there are always themes that form constants and run through the exhibition, especially the idea of a democratized art.
The interactions between artistic practice in the field of the visual and the conceptual are multiple and not limited to representation. Each of his works has a history, a conceptual and visual charge, each of which allows for a new conception or reinterpretation for the viewer's gaze. It seeks to establish a relationship between pictorial language and the symbolism of the elements, between concept and representation, extended by the dimensions of appropriation and intertextuality.
Spoerri entered art history with his "Snare-Pictures" ("Tableaux pièges"). In these, starting in the 1960s, he captured real meals including tablecloths, glasses, and ashtrays and hung them on the wall. He opened "Eat-Art" restaurants in Zurich, Paris, or New York, cooked many an exotic animal himself, had critics serve, and then captured the leftovers vertically. Over time, the social act of communal dining became more and more central to his work.
Unlike Duchamp, he did not declare individual objects to be works of art, but rather entire situations in time. He stopped the meals at certain moments, let the "trap snap shut," that is, let chance determine the situation and thus the scenery, which is then hung vertically as a testimony to the lived moment. An attempt to capture time by means of art.
In addition to his "snare-pictures", he also created "Détrompe-l'Œils" in the early 1960s, paintings extended into three dimensions by objects, flea market goods arranged into assemblages: Doll parts, cutlery, lamps. The fascination for the objects characterizes the work of the object artist, coincidence allows him to combine found things to assemblages, highly symbolic such as crucifixes with artifacts of all kinds as well as with the most mundane or even food remains.
In a side room of the exhibition are the "Cinnamon Magic Preserves" created on Symi, fetish-like objects made from found materials, and also his experimental film "Resurrection."
The exhibition finally ends with his Tuscan estate Il Giardino di Daniel Spoerri, since 1997 a public sculpture garden with works by Spoerri's artist friends such as Nam June Paik, Eva Aeppli, Meret Oppenheim and Niki de Saint Phalle.
Finally, in the last room, precisely composed assemblages of noodle wheels, sunglasses, or egg cups are lined up into collections in an ironic reversal of the principle of chance.
The exhibition runs until 27.6.2021

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