Installation view, Gerwald Rockenschaub, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Löwenbräu Areal, Zurich, 2005
Galerie Eva Presenhuber takes pride in presenting early in the year a new spatial intervention by Gerwald Rockenschaub. The work of Gerwald Rockenschaub is characterized by ongoing conceptional discussion and development of the conditions for a frame of reference in art, and the pertinent theoretical discourse.
As early as the first years in the 1980s, when still regarded as representative of the Neo-Geo movement, not only did Rockenschaub cite in his paintings the color surfaces of the 1960s, but brought them skillfully in relation to space. Since 1987 he substituted photography, filter-prints and commercially prepared artifacts in plexiglass to paintings, and the images that were created in the 1990s recall the aesthetic qualities of computer graphics. Parallel to the focus on technical and commercially produced works, a confrontation with the structure of exhibit spaces moves to the centre of his concerns: for example, in 1991, in the Metropol Gallery in Vienna, he hangs a rope – known to cordon off space in museums - as a pointer to a brightly lit, apparently empty space behind it. In the same year Rockenschaub shows in the Art Museum at Lucerne a transparent plastic curtain in front of an exhibit wall; at the Generali Foundation in Vienna he moves the existing exhibit walls to the visitors’ field of vision; or, at Villa Arson in Nice, Rockenschaub lets the visitors experience the exhibit hall through access to a metal scaffolding. On the face of it, his structures are an invitation to follow conventions, yet in the next minute, as if an afterthought, they question, by blocking them out, stereotypical modes of behaviour. A few objects - computer graphics, inflatable sculptures of PVC-sheet, or artifacts in plexiglass - hold discourse with the white exhibit walls and illustrate Brian O’Dougherty’s ‘Inside the White Cube’, being the demonstration of the triadic conflict of the wall as image, carrier or space, contained in the text.
In his new interventions on space Rockenschaub creates, in two gallery rooms and with minimal operations, a maximum effect. White walls are set against black ones. Two colored, satined acrylglass plates, and one transparent reflective acrylglass plate with fourteen horizontal grooves lean against the walls. A tiny circular perspex piece, white with a bright red centre – like a target – hangs opposite on a black painted wall, creating a strong antipode. Thus the space comes into being, where observers experience the various material characteristics of each object and their mutual effects on spatial structures and upon themselves.