Generali Foundation, Vienna (AT)

04.08.2012 – 07.08.2012

Sabine Folie (AT)

Vandalism is also a theme in Kay Walkowiak’s work Minimal Vandalism (2013), where it is not modernism that comes in for a drubbing but its descendant, minimalism, and by extension, the white cube. Sculptures whose dissonant palette and play with overly functional forms are at odds with the minimalism that recognizably inspired them are set up in a prominent Viennese white cube, allegorizing the minimalist gesture while also deconstructing it with sportive elegance. With focused energy, a skateboarder demolishes these already “impure” forms. The action, moreover, is set at a highly fraught location, one that is in fact a ruin of sorts: until recently the city’s premier site of institutional critique and avant-garde art and discursive engagement, the Generali Foundation was shut down after a quarter-century in 2014. Vandalizing minimalism, the artist incidentally becomes the unwitting prophet of another burial. [...]

Walkowiak’s entire oeuvre is defined by his determination to call the canon in question on a very fundamental level while inquiring into its constituent factors. The vehicles for this undertaking are quotation, exaggeration, ironic refraction, performative juggling—all in all, deconstructive operations toward the delineation of a stance on what is, for now, uncertain terrain. The artist’s techniques are guided by his deep-seated skepticism of canonizations and master narratives in art and architectural history and effectively propose the dismantlement of dogma through forms of paradoxical intervention: play, surprising juxtaposition, détournement, displacement, digression. These prevent dogma from attaining genuine power by eliciting laughter or at least amusement. Humor is employed to prompt flashes of dialectical insight.

Text: Sabine Folie, Vienna 2016 
Photos: (c) Studio Kay Walkowiak