Galerie nächst St. Stephan: HEINRICH DUNST- About A B order

Heinrich Dunst: About A B order

25 JAN – 9 MAR 2013 

OPENING: 24 JAN 2013, 7 pm 

The exhibition begins with a prelude. In the so-called Login room, which faces Grünangergasse, we see a wall on which huge plastic letters commonly used for promotional signs are leaning. Because Heinrich Dunst talks about “playing forms,” the word “prelude” is quite fitting. In the upper floor, where the actual rooms of the Galerie nächst St. Stephan are located, pale pink “playing forms” have taken shape. Dunst works his way through the entire shop window situation, with all its gestures, models, techniques of application, and form play. On entering the first room upstairs, we find a press wood board with the letter “A” cut out, leaning against the right wall. Although the object looks as if it was forgotten during the setup, it correlates with other objects and fixtures. A diagonal partition wall has been erected in the center of the room. In contrast to the press wood object, it has been painted white. Hanging on this partition wall is a painting that is proportional to the wall. The painting displays an element that in turn looks like a painting. In this painting within a painting, we see another letter “A” similar to the one that has been cut out of the press wood board.

In his exhibition in the Galerie nächst St. Stephan, Dunst cleverly plays with the tensions between meanings and problems arising from what comes first and what second, from inclusion and exclusion, origin and descent, and understanding and disjunction – in short, the orders of meaning, the act of articulation, and the logic of sense. How do these orders that Dunst is alluding to – while referring again and again to Deleuze and various paradox concepts – come about and what do they relate to?

What role does this “A” that Dunst puts in the first room as a leitmotiv play? Does the letter signify the beginning, opening the first room like a gate, or is it visual positing that initiates further pictorial inscriptions and their variations? Dunst leaves this open, while his gesture provokes further questions. Is this “A” an independent, written sign, a sculptural element, or is it just a space devoid of meaning? Its casual position makes us even more unsure. Does not this “A” that is present and at the same time cut-out and absent reach beyond the opposition between text and image, between mark and sculpture already? Does it not question cultures of understanding and conventions of seeing? Whether regarded as a concept or picture, thing or stencil, sentence or positing, the elementary letter that Heinrich Dunst erects in capital form always refers to its possible translation into another code of understanding and thus to its possible dissolution. Without a doubt, as an image the letter reminds us of its origin in text. As text, it appears enlarged to the size of a picture. As a statue, it becomes a stage. Ultimately, this ambivalent “A” is also a window, a view through, a blank space, emptiness, a fragment.

But more than this, the “A” goes beyond the many different areas of application by bringing itself into play. Playing itself has to do with its priority, its coming first, which it questions through its visible and readable claim. Like in the title “About A B order” written on the partition wall, the “A” dissolves within the “B” that follows it by serving it linguistically. When understood as an article, the first element becomes the servant of the second. This turns the initial hierarchy, and hence the beginning, upside down. It goes to the end, like the visitor who has to leave the exhibition by going through the first room again. The “A” that Dunst shows us as a recurring carrier of meaning is therefore not static, like a thing that only leans. According to its meaning, it is transitive. It refers beyond the place where it is located to another place. It is a capital “A” that indicates the beginning of a transversal: the linking of meaning. As a conceptual element, it marks a beginning that is actually already subsequent and secondary.

Thomas D. Trummer, Mainz, December 17, 2012

A catalogue will be published in conjunction with the exhibition.

HEINRICH DUNST born 1955 in Hallein, lives and works in Vienna. Selected exhibitions: 2012 Museum Liaunig, Neuhaus, Museum Moderner Kunst Kärnten, Klagenfurt; 2011 Künstlerhaus, Vienna, Galerie im Traklhaus, Salzburg; 2010 Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, MUMOK, Vienna; 2009 Museum auf Abruf, Vienna; 2008 Industriellenvereinigung, Vienna (solo), 2003 Schloss Kohfidisch, Styria (solo); 2000 Anderson Consulting, Vienna (solo); 1997 MAK, Vienna (E); 1996 Hochschule der Bildenden Künste, Braunschweig (solo)

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