Ral 9006 at Projektraum Viktor Bucher, Vienna 06.11. – 18.12.2020
video excerpt Ral 9006
For his show Ral 9006 the artist presents a selection of recent works. Based on unannounced interventions in public space videos, objects and interactive installations materialize in the exhibition space. Ral 9006 (2019) refers to the color shade of a bridge railing in Vienna. The artist films himself renewing the paint, scattered locks hanging on the railing are painted as well. As the number of locks increases the brushstrokes become more hectic, priorities seem to shift: to tackle the amount of locks becomes the actual challenge, complicated by the fact the artist can only use one hand as he is holding the camera with the other. Viewer of the video share the perspective of the painter, they become hostages of his painful thoroughness. The brutality of the video lies in the imbalance between the single brush and the sheer number of locks, each one representing a young couple. The individualty of the lovelocks in color, shape and engravings is erased, but as compensation they become part of the public infrastructure. Protected by the same layer of varnish.
The Photoseria Ral 9006 (one year after) shows the same railing, painted a year before: the color of some locks is scratched off, in order to make the gravings visible, also a few new locks appear between the grayed ones.
video excerpt Kolping Kiste
Kolping Kiste (2020) is an object designed to sit on top of a donation dropbox for clothes, imitating its hatch mechanism. Dropped items fall into a separate chamber which can be opened by a key. It is made out of plywood and metal, the workmanship is rather poor -nevertheless after being installed in public space it is accepted by donators. The video Kolping Kiste shows activities around a dropbox for old clothes in Vienna, before and after attaching the fake portal on top. People are often concerned if their donations are getting in the right hands, therefor minimum caution in the process of donating is required. Kolping kiste appears as a device that might tackle the problem of unauthorized withdrawal, but could also raise suspicion of who is benefiting- the video shows the artist emptying the attached box under favor of darkness, it remains unclear what happened with the avalanche of old clothes.
video excerpt Mobile Mikroklimastation
Mobile Mikroklimastation (2020) is an object which temporarily balances extreme climate in urban space. An air-conditioning unit powered by an electric generator blows hot or cold air through flexible pipes in two adjustable helmets. The unit was temporarily operating at different locations in Vienna during summer, a documentary video shows its use by random pedestrians. The use creates an schizophrenic effect of being in two different climate zones at the same time. It also creates slight alienation: the participant has left the context and is watching the surrounding scenery through a plexiglass visor out of another climate zone.
The work Armchair pedestal – COVID19 lockdown (2020) consists of two photos, one shows an elderly person sitting on an elevated armchair, looking out of the window. Second photo shows the exterior view of the house – the pedestal is not only enabling the sight out, it also makes the observer visible in public. For Hofgang mit Foucault (2009/2020) the artist erected a five meter black and white portrait of Michel Foucault on top of a hill next to Austrias biggest prison. It is the only spot the inmates can see from the prison court, one photo shows the inmates from Foucault` perspective, the other constructs the perspective of the inmates over the prison wall.
Leopold Kessler’s interventions in legal apparatus, commercial services and public spaces are based on ingenious and dry, humorous observations of urban life and show an acute awareness of the worldly systems that keep today’s society running. Kessler’s works also offer a unique view of psychogeography. He does not reorganize the city with the rhetoric of hallucinatory miracles or revolutionary romanticism, but through the perspective of work, infrastructure and maintenance and transforms these systems into a stage for urban black comedies.
Leopold Kessler (*1976 in Munich, lives and works in Vienna) studied Sculpture in Vienna, 2004 Diploma. Single exhibitions amongst others – in Malmo Konsthall, Bunkier Sztuki, Krakau and Secession, Vienna; Group exhibitions in Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University, Palais de Tokyo, Paris and de Appel, Amsterdam. Leopold Kessler took part in Singapur Biennale 2011, 10. Lyon Biennale and Manifesta 5 in San Sebastian.