UNTITLED (CIRCLES) (#1, #2, #3, #4)
Archival pigment print on Fine Art Baryt
145 x 96,7 cm each

In his own way, Walkowiak seems to be offering a commentary on the rift that opened up between Donald Judd’s Specific Objects (1965) and Michael Fried’s polemic Art and Objecthood (1967), though it is hard to pin down his critique vis-à-vis that old dispute, beyond his rejection of the ideological aspect of any ism. It may be that he finds fault with a certain formalism in minimalism, which rejects any form of relationality, of authorial intention and its imprint on the work; Walkowiak definitely calls its raison d’être absolu in question. On the other hand, he would presumably concur with Fried’s objection that minimalist (or, as Fried also called it, literalist) art is experienced in a specific situation, “one that, virtually by definition, includes the beholder” and thus takes on quasi-performative and perhaps even theatrical qualities. Walkowiak homes in on the point where viewers interpret things and objects in light of their specific cultural perspectives, initiating transformative interventions and processes of acculturation through a relational interaction with them. See, for instance, Untitled (Circles) (2011), a series of photographs of metal pipes, some embedded in cast-concrete shapes, whose purpose is not readily apparent. They are barriers demarcating the premises of sales stalls and the like. The laconic dryness of the functional thing is leavened by the spontaneous and sometimes ironic association of boundaries of all sorts, including those drawn in the museum to “protect” the work of art from contact with life.

Text: Sabine Folie, Vienna 2016

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